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- 04/07/16--06:20: _In Bahrain, Kerry t...
- 04/07/16--06:40: _WATCH LIVE: Obama s...
- 04/07/16--08:08: _First Syrian family...
- 04/07/16--09:05: _Hospital software o...
- 04/07/16--09:29: _Did you grow up in ...
- 04/07/16--10:40: _Spain might be sayi...
- 04/07/16--15:40: _Why the Obama admin...
- 04/07/16--15:45: _News Wrap: Putin de...
- 04/07/16--15:50: _Democrats swap shot...
- 04/07/16--15:55: _Rare Shakespeare ‘F...
- 04/08/16--04:54: _Why Sanders keeps w...
- 04/08/16--05:00: _Gwen’s Take: Shocke...
- 04/08/16--05:17: _Americans overwhelm...
- 04/08/16--05:32: _Remembering Ryan Wh...
- 04/08/16--06:41: _How well do you kno...
- 04/08/16--06:44: _Obama: Democracy at...
- 04/08/16--08:05: _Two dead in murder-...
- 04/08/16--09:26: _Key suspect in Pari...
- 04/08/16--09:35: _Sanders to attend V...
- 04/08/16--10:16: _Disney tried to sup...
- 04/07/16--06:20: In Bahrain, Kerry treads carefully on human rights
- 04/07/16--06:40: WATCH LIVE: Obama speaks about Garland nomination at his law school
- 04/07/16--09:29: Did you grow up in a bubble? These ZIP codes suggest you did
- 04/07/16--10:40: Spain might be saying ‘adios’ to the siesta
- 04/07/16--15:40: Why the Obama administration is stepping up a corporate crackdown
- 04/07/16--15:50: Democrats swap shots over qualifications ahead of N.Y. primary
- 04/07/16--15:55: Rare Shakespeare ‘First Folio’ found on Scottish island
- 04/08/16--05:00: Gwen’s Take: Shocker then, shocker now
- 04/08/16--05:17: Americans overwhelmingly view Trump negatively, poll finds
- 04/08/16--06:41: How well do you know the world: Tax havens ahead of tax day
- 04/08/16--06:44: Obama: Democracy at stake in November elections
- 04/08/16--08:05: Two dead in murder-suicide at Texas base
- 04/08/16--09:26: Key suspect in Paris attacks arrested in Belgium
- 04/08/16--09:35: Sanders to attend Vatican conference before New York primary
- 04/08/16--10:16: Disney tried to suppress nutrition study on its theme park meals
MANAMA, Bahrain — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dealt delicately on Thursday with concerns about persistent human rights abuses in Bahrain, stressing America’s close military ties to one of several Persian Gulf countries with which it wants to enhance cooperation on fighting the Islamic State and containing Iran.
Making the first visit to Bahrain by a top American diplomat since its 2011 uprising, Kerry called the kingdom a “critical security partner” and praised its Sunni rulers for pushing human rights. He said more needs to be done to ensure the full political participation of everyone in Bahrain and promised U.S. support toward elections in 2018.
Kerry, who was to meet with all of America’s allies in the region later in the day, made no specific mention of the repression or discrimination against Bahrain’s Shiite majority that human rights groups say is routine. His criticism was more forceful toward the opposition for boycotting previous elections.
“That polarizes things rather than helps them,” he said.
Ahead of the trip, Human Rights First urged Kerry to publicly chastise the government for imprisoning activists and peaceful dissidents. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain cited the case of several bloggers and political figures serving terms or awaiting trials. Groups also wanted Kerry to meet directly with opposition leaders, which he did briefly later in the day.
Appearing alongside Kerry, Bahrain’s top diplomat said one such individual — Zainab al-Khawaja — would soon be released to go home on humanitarian grounds, after she chose to go to jail with her 1-year-old child.
“But the case will continue,” Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa told reporters. On human rights, he said, his country has “done what we are supposed to do.”
Al-Khajawa faces up to three years in prison on multiple charges, including tearing up pictures of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Her father is a leading activist who is serving a life sentence connected to his role in 2011 anti-government protests that were put down by Saudi and Emirati troops. Smaller demonstrations continue to this day.
Kerry’s larger meeting Thursday with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council is designed to lay the foundation for President Barack Obama’s summit with the group in Riyadh. The Islamic State group and Iran will feature prominently at the April 21 meeting.
On the security front, Kerry got a tour of the U.S. Navy base on the island that hosts the 5th Fleet and supports U.S. maritime activities throughout the Middle East. Service members there were engaged in the second day of a 42-nation maritime exercise covering waters from the Suez Canal to the Arabian Sea. The exercise, designed to keep sea lanes open for safe passage, runs until April 26.
In their bilateral meeting, al Khalifa reminded Kerry of the region’s role in supplying a fifth of the world’s oil and protecting vital shipping routes. Kerry then spoke of recent U.S. interdictions of weapons flows before reporters were ushered from the room.
Western vessels have stopped four significant Iranian arms shipments off the Arabian Peninsula in the last six months, seizing antitank munitions, sniper rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
All were believed intended for Yemen’s Shiite rebels, and have helped reinforce fears among Sunni kingdoms that Iran is threatening their stability.
Kerry lumped Iranian actions in Yemen with its support for Hezbollah militants and the series of missile tests it has conducted since last year’s nuclear agreement was reached. But he stressed that Iran also is playing a positive role in Syria, for example, by helping secure a truce between its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, and rebels supported by Western and Arab countries.
But Bahrain is particularly sensitive to Iran, given its demographics and occasional statements by Iranian officials calling for the country’s annexation.
Whereas Kerry urged Tehran to mend ties with its neighbors, Al Khalifa said the Shiite power must work as hard on restoring relations in the region as it did to secure last year’s nuclear accord. He decried Iran’s “hegemonic interventions,” yet promised that his country would take two steps toward rapprochement for every step by the Iranians.
The post In Bahrain, Kerry treads carefully on human rights appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
[Watch Video]Watch President Barack Obama speak at the University of Chicago Law School on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
WASHINGTON — The stalled nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court is giving President Barack Obama a chance to do what he says he’s missed: go back to school.
Obama was returning Thursday to the University of Chicago Law School, where he taught for more than a decade, to press his case for why the Senate should give Garland a seat on the nation’s most powerful court.
The president was being joined by a former law school colleague, professor David Strauss, for a conversation with students, faculty and judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over legal matters from Illinois, and other local judges.
Obama chose Garland, a Chicago native and chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the seat left vacant by the February death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
The next step in the process of putting a new justice on the Supreme Court typically has the nominee answering questions during hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee, before the committee votes on whether to forward the nomination to the floor for a confirmation vote by the full Senate.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are refusing to hold hearings or votes on Garland’s nomination. They maintain that it’s then next president’s responsibility to choose the newest justice.
Obama, a Democrat, leaves office in January 2017.
On the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell cited a newspaper’s fact check article and said that when Obama flies to Chicago to try to persuade the public that the Constitution requires a Senate vote on his nominee, “he’ll be telling supporters a politically convenient fairy tale.”
The two sides disagree over what the Senate is constitutionally required to do.
Garland has been meeting with both Democratic and Republican senators on Capitol Hill, but there is no indication that the sessions are influencing the political calculus of the Senate Republican leadership.
Most GOP senators, including McConnell, have said they will not meet with Garland. Grassley has invited the judge to meet over breakfast on Tuesday.
Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, a Republican regarded as one of the most vulnerable incumbents seeking re-election in November, was the first GOP senator to meet with Garland. Kirk is Garland’s home-state senator and one of a few Republicans to call for hearings on his nomination.
Kirk on Thursday tweeted a photo of a hand-written note Obama sent thanking the senator for meeting with Garland late last month. In the tweet, Kirk said he met with the judge “because my responsibility to the people of #IL is more important than partisanship.”
Obama has accused Republicans of blocking Garland for political reasons.
In the note to Kirk, Obama said: “Thank you for your fair and responsible treatment of Merrick Garland. It upholds the institutional values of the Senate, and helps preserve the bipartisan ideals of an independent judiciary.”
Obama’s return to the university will mark his first stop there as president. He has often commented about how he misses teaching and being in a classroom. The trip is also his second of the year to his adopted Illinois home state.
From Chicago, Obama heading to California to raise campaign cash for fellow Democrats at events through late Friday.
He was headlining a House Democratic fundraiser Thursday night at the Los Angeles home of Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, was among those expected to attend the soiree, where tickets cost $33,400 per couple, officials said.
The post WATCH LIVE: Obama speaks about Garland nomination at his law school appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The first Syrian family to qualify for resettlement in the U.S. through a new “surge resettlement” program arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, late Wednesday night, according to the Associated Press.
Ahmad al-Abboud, 45, will settle in Kansas City with his wife and five children. They came to Jordan after leaving their home in Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, which has been devastated by war as the Syrian revolution in 2011 gave way to a multi-sided armed conflict.
The program is a part of President Barack Obama’s pledge to bring 10,000 Syrians to the U.S. by Sept. 30, a goal that is already underway with the arrival of approximately 1,000 Syrian refugees from Jordan in the U.S. since October.
At a “surge resettlement” center that opened in Amman, Jordan, in February, resettlement officials are interviewing 600 people every day to speed the process of determining who qualifies for resettlement in the U.S. Canada, which has welcomed more than 25,000 Syrian refugees, also opened a resettlement processing center in Amman in November.
Many of the refugees that will benefit from the program will come from Jordan, according to Gina Kassem, regional refugee coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Amman. More than 633,000 Syrians have migrated there so far, according to numbers from last November.
Neighboring Lebanon has seen its population swell by 1.1 million refugees, who now number approximately 20 percent of the country’s residents. In total, more than 4.8 million Syrians have registered with the UNHCR in the past several years.
The U.S. has so far taken in a very small percentage of refugees from the conflict. All refugees who resettle in the U.S. will undergo a complex, sometimes years-long process of interviews and background checks, including by the State Department, National Counterterrorism Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security and Department of State.
That process can take 18 to 24 months or longer, though with the establishment of the surge resettlement center, officials are making an effort to limit the wait time to three months, Kassem said.
The post First Syrian family from ‘surge’ resettlement program arrives in U.S. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Medical errors are estimated to be the third-highest cause of death in the country. Experts and patient safety advocates are trying to change that. But at least one of the tools that’s been considered a fix isn’t yet working as well as it should, suggests a report released Thursday.
That’s according to the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization known for rating hospitals on patient safety. Leapfrog conducted a voluntary survey of almost 1,800 hospitals to determine how many use computerized-physician-order-entry systems to make sure patients are prescribed and receive the correct drugs, and that medications won’t cause harm.
The takeaway? While a vast majority of hospitals surveyed had some kind of computer-based medication system in place, the systems still fall short in catching possible problems.
“These systems are not always catching the potential errors inherent in prescribing,” said Erica Mobley, Leapfrog’s director of development and communications.
Almost 40 percent of potentially harmful drug orders weren’t flagged as dangerous by the systems, Leapfrog found. These included medication orders for the wrong condition or in the wrong dose based on things like a patient’s size, other illnesses or likely drug interactions.
Meanwhile, systems missed about 13 percent of errors that could have killed patients.
According to 2015 figures from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, about 1 of every 20 patients in hospitals suffers harm because of medications. Of those, the agency estimates, half are avoidable.
Meanwhile, in a push to improve patient safety and health care quality, the federal government has been encouraging hospitals to adopt electronic health records — particularly with medication ordering systems — thanks to parts of the 2009 stimulus package and 2010 health reform. But there’s been pushback from many doctors and advocates, who say design issues can make the software difficult to use or even counterproductive.
The Leapfrog survey — which is not peer-reviewed — asked participating hospitals to use “dummy patients” to test their system, Mobley said. Participants would put in information for fake patients and submit a set of medication orders to see which ones got flagged. Mistakes might include orders prescribing an adult dosage to a child, for instance.
The results are “alarming,” said Helen Haskell, a prominent patient safety advocate. “It shows that the technology is not as foolproof as we would like to think.”
But it’s difficult to know how many of those missed errors result in actual harm, Mobley acknowledged. Ordering the wrong medication can be inconvenient or problematic. But it isn’t always dangerous. And, for those that are, hospitals may have other safeguards in place to catch mistakes before they actually hurt patients. “It really does vary significantly by hospital,” she said.
The survey, Mobley suggested, underscores the need for hospitals and patients to be vigilant when it comes to overseeing their medications. For hospitals, that means instituting “checks and balances” — system-wide initiatives like requiring manual reviews of a patient’s drugs, on top of the computer checks.
And hospitals are increasingly taking such steps to make medication errors less common, said Jesse Pines, who directs the Office for Clinical Practice Innovation at George Washington University and is a professor of emergency medicine. Technology is also improving, so medication ordering systems should get better, he added.
“Technology exists to help with detecting medical errors at the point of when you’re entering drug orders in the hospital or health care settings,” he said. “But they’re not perfect. They still need a lot of work.”
Patients, meanwhile, should make sure to have someone with them when they go into the hospital, who can check out what drugs they’re being prescribed, Mobley said.
“It’s absolutely critical that whenever the patient or somebody with them notices that this maze [of medications] looks slightly different from what’s been done in the past, they ask about that,” she said.
But even with that vigilance, Haskell said, “your knowledge is not infinite — so there’s a limit to what patients can do.”
Hospitals can try to customize their medication ordering systems to do things like identify frequently ordered drugs or better match the patients they’re likely to treat.
How well they do at adapting the software can also play a role in how good hospitals are at catching and preventing mistakes when it comes to ordering medications, said Raj Ratwani, who researches health care safety and is the scientific director for MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare in Washington, D.C. To that end, hospitals and safety experts should figure out what are the best practices when it comes to customizing tools like medication ordering software.
A number of Leapfrog’s surveys have come under scrutiny from some hospitals, who question their methodology and metrics. Here, Mobley said, the survey may inflate the number of hospitals with a computer-based medication ordering system. But when it comes to how effective the systems are, the findings are unsurprising, both Haskell and Ratwani said.
“What these findings indicate — and what many other researchers have shown — is that computerized physician order entry is effective at reducing adverse drug events,” Ratwani said. “What we also know … is these electronic health record systems are complex.”
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You can view the original report on its website.
The post Hospital software often doesn’t flag unsafe drug prescriptions, report finds appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, we asked you to take the bubble quiz, based on Charles Murray’s 2012 book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” meant to test how well you knew the average white American. Today, Charles Murray continues his exploration of the scores and ZIP codes from the bubble quiz in a second post. You can find his first post analyzing the results here.
If you want your child to grow up clueless about mainstream white America, what are the ZIP codes that have the best track record?
To answer that question, I used the 50,464 cases in which the respondents provided both a score on the bubble quiz and the ZIP code where they lived at age 10. (These were data available as of Wednesday morning when I started this exercise.) I asked my statistical software to calculate the median bubble score for every ZIP code represented in those 50,464 cases. Since I couldn’t make any judgments about ZIP codes that were represented by just a few people, I chose 10 as the lower limit of scores that I would examine more closely. There’s still a lot of room for oddball results with a sample size of 10, but this procedure gave me a useful starting point for examining patterns.
And the winner is … ZIP code 10023. The median bubble score of the 16 people who had lived in 10023 at the age of 10 was 12.5. To give you an idea how low 12.5 is, a score of 12 puts one at the 3rd percentile of the entire sample. And a refresher — this quiz is out of 100. The higher your score, the thinner your bubble. The lower, the more insulated you might be from mainstream American culture. So, yes, 12.5 is a low score.
The location of this ZIP code is so stereotypically appropriate that many of you would have guessed correctly within a few miles. ZIP code 10023 is on New York’s Upper West Side, bordering Central Park from 59th to 76th, with a socioeconomic status percentile of 99.6. It’s in the heart of that chunk of Manhattan where New Yorkers are most certain that they live at the center of the universe and where the local culture is, to put it gently, somewhat different from the one in which most Americans live.
To give you a broader idea of which ZIP codes as children were associated with the lowest bubble scores as adults, I assembled data on the 75 ZIP codes that had samples of at least 10 and and median bubble scores of less than 25. Only 17 percent of the 50,464 had scores that low. In more technical terms, I identified ZIP codes with median scores at least one standard deviation below the mean for the entire sample.
Before showing you the 75 ZIP codes, I need to say a few words about the unrepresentativeness of the sample of people who visited the PBS NewsHour website and took the bubble test. They skew far above the national average on education and income. Specifically, the average socioeconomic status percentile of the current ZIP codes for people who took the bubble quiz was 78. Almost a quarter of the sample lived in ZIP codes at the 92nd percentile or higher. This skew makes it impossible to use the sample as nationally representative. But it does not hamper our ability to make statements about which ZIP codes are most strongly associated with low bubble scores, because, in effect, the skew has produced an oversampling of the people who are demographically most likely to have low scores.
The table shows the 75 ZIP codes, where they are and both their median bubble score and the socioeconomic status (SES) percentile of the ZIP code.
In all, the table represents the scores of 1,247 people. A remarkable 31 percent of them came from just one metropolitan statistical area: New York City and its surrounding towns and cities. Twenty percent came from San Francisco, its suburbs to the north and east and the corridor extending down to San Jose. The Washington area contributed 11 percent, Los Angeles contributed 9 percent and Boston’s suburbs contributed 8 percent. In all, 79 percent came from these five areas, which contain just 15 percent of the nation’s population.
Four of the five are also the power centers of contemporary America. If you think in terms of “people who run the country,” whether you’re talking about politics, the economy or culture, an overwhelming majority live in the areas in and around Washington, New York, San Francisco/Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. In “Coming Apart,” I discussed this point at length with reference to the socioeconomic status percentiles of the ZIP codes in the elite neighborhoods of the “Big Four.” What I could not know then is how strongly the scores on the bubble quiz would track with those same neighborhoods.
These specific 75 ZIP codes are not particularly important in themselves. They are significant, because they tend to be part of clusters of ZIP codes with similar characteristics. For example, only six out of the 33 Manhattan residential ZIP codes south of 96th street were part of the top 75. But the combined median bubble score for all the people who lived in those 33 ZIP codes at age 10 was 26 — almost a standard deviation below the mean for the entire sample of 50,464.
Something else to notice is how many large urban regions did not have more than one or two ZIP codes that were part of the 75. Chicago has the third largest population of any metropolitan statistical area in the country, but had only one ZIP code among the 75, and Dallas-Forth Worth, ranked fourth, had just one. Philadelphia, ranked fifth, had two. Houston, ranked sixth, had one. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, ranked seventh, had one. Atlanta, ranked eighth, had none. This, too, tracks with the story for the socioeconomic status percentiles — every large city has some high socioeconomic status ZIP codes, but only a handful of cities are characterized by large clusters of contiguous high-socioeconomic status ZIP codes.
Enough for today. Next, I think I’ll create an index that combines both the ZIP code at age 10 and the current ZIP code and see what comes of that. Or maybe I’ll get sidetracked by something else. Stay tuned.
The post Did you grow up in a bubble? These ZIP codes suggest you did appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The time-honored tradition of taking a nap, or siesta, in Spain might be going by the wayside if some politicians get their way.
The siesta dates back to the time when rural workers took breaks during the hottest part of the day. Now with longer work hours, less reliance on agriculture and a possible time zone change, the midday Zs may have seen their last, according to the Associated Press.
Currently, Spain’s workday is from 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with two hours for lunch and a half hour to an hour siesta. A new proposal making the workday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with no siesta would bring Spain in line with other European nations.
Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is proposing the change, told the AP it would benefit families. “To be concrete, we are going to lengthen the time that people can take off work to look after their children in large families. We are giving (these changes) to stimulate work from home and we are going to work hard to come to a consensus to achieve a working day which in general ends at 6 o’clock in the evening.”
According to Nuria Chinchilla, a professor in the Managing People in Organizations Department at Madrid’s University of Navarra, only 10 percent of Spaniards are actually taking a lunch break because students are in school till 2:30 p.m.
“The siesta is not a reality anymore, so this was in agricultural times and before the Civil War, too. Maybe (it happens) in the villages with agricultural people but not in the cities and not for sure in Barcelona or Madrid where nobody is going back home to have lunch,” Chinchilla told the AP.
Until the 1940s, Spain was on the same Greenwich Mean Time as Britain and Portugal. During World War II, Spain and other countries added on an hour to sync with Nazi Germany so that factory workers could get home before the blackouts, according to the AP. While others reverted back after the war, Spain never did.
Rajoy’s proposal also would change Spain back to its original time zone. Rajoy said he will seek to put these changes in place if he is able to form a government coalition.
GWEN IFILL: The Obama administration took steps this week to rein in big businesses when it comes to taxes and mergers.
First, the Treasury Department issued tough new rules that make it harder for one company merging with another to lower its taxes by taking a foreign address. The president spoke out against the so-called inversions, saying they lead to one of the most insidious tax loopholes.
A day later, the drug companies Pfizer and Allergan called off a $160 billion deal. Plus, the Obama Justice Department is trying to block oil services giant Halliburton from merging with its rival Baker Hughes. Other proposed mergers may also be in trouble.
Jim Tankersley writes about this for The Washington Post.
JIM TANKERSLEY, The Washington Post: Thanks for having me.
GWEN IFILL: So, give me a sense of whether this is a conscious strategic use by the administration on tax policy to crack down on business.
JIM TANKERSLEY: Well, in this particular case, it’s absolutely the administration saying, this is a practice in the corporate world that we don’t like, and we’re going to use tax policy to stop it. It looks very tailored in particular to mergers like the Pfizer one, which, I mean, it’s very rare that you see a rule get announced on one day and a merger get called off the next, but that’s what they have pulled off here.
GWEN IFILL: So, one of the things that they — when we talk about this, though, for instance, the administration decided they wanted to make financial advisers more accountable to clients.
JIM TANKERSLEY: Yes.
GWEN IFILL: Is that part of that same strategy, or is that different?
JIM TANKERSLEY: I think what we’re seeing are two things.
Over time, we have seen the president sort of shed his inhibitions about taking positions that might be opposed by the business community. He doesn’t seem to really care too much anymore if he’s being called anti-business. So, we see like sort of string of decisions this week that we have mentioned that are all in that vein.
And the business community has howled, and he hasn’t really let that bother him. Shorter term, what we’re seeing, though, is the president, I think, is thinking about his legacy, and he knows right now we’re in a time, a very populist time, anti-corporate time in the America in the campaign.
And so by personally getting out and announcing details of the inversions rule, making the case for it, for example, this week, he’s trying to cement that rule in the public’s mind, so that the next president doesn’t change it or walk it back.
GWEN IFILL: It does seem like we’re in a different time when it comes to taking shots at big business, and that on both the Republican and the Democratic side of this 2016 campaign, that seems to be more acceptable.
JIM TANKERSLEY: Absolutely.
We’re used to it, I think, to a degree in Democratic primaries for president. The business community tends to take a lot of flak, and then oftentimes candidates tack a little more toward a pro-business approach in a general election.
That’s not entirely been true this time. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders especially have been very populist. They both talked about corporate behavior, bad behavior that they want to see changed as president. But the big change is the Republican side.
Donald Trump is talking about things that he doesn’t — companies being unpatriotic in moving jobs overseas. He’s talking down…
GWEN IFILL: Hedge funds. He has talked about tax evasion for hedge fund managers.
JIM TANKERSLEY: Yes.
So, it’s this moment of anger. It’s the sense for a lot of voters on both sides of the aisle that, hey, corporate America is lining its pockets, but I’m not getting ahead. And whether the policies that the candidates are talking about would actually, you know, speak to that problem or not, they are definitely channeling this moment of the politics, and I think the president is kind of piggybacking on that a little bit.
GWEN IFILL: Bernie Sanders, who has probably gone farther than any of the candidates right now in the race to hammering away at this, was scolded today by the president of GE for saying they were examples of — I’m paraphrasing here — corporate greed.
What is the pushback coming from the corporate world?
JIM TANKERSLEY: Well, the pushback, and part of it is to say, hey, wait a second, we create a lot of jobs. We do a lot of economic activity.
The GE op-ed which ran in my newspaper basically said, look, we have a big plant in Vermont. We’d love it if you visit, by the way. You have never done that. And we create a lot of good-paying jobs for people of the type you say you want to have happen. So, don’t denigrate us just because we have to try to play by the rules like everybody else with taxes.
Now, the response to that, that Bernie Sanders and others have made is, these are companies that do a lot of things to try to avoid paying federal corporate income taxes in particular, and they don’t — or they move production overseas to find lower-cost labor. And that upset people who say, oh, you should put America first.
GWEN IFILL: Is the president or the Justice Department or the Obama administration putting their political — their thumb on the political scale in this? There are some who say, oh, of course, they’re on their way out, so they’re destroying everything at it.
JIM TANKERSLEY: Well, I think with the Justice Department in particular, it’s hard to call this political.
This would be — when you talk to neutral observers of antitrust law, this is an example of — this is a couple of very big players in an already consolidated market that would, you know, the Justice Department believes, push up prices for consumers if they were allowed to get a bunch of market share together.
So, that’s something that Democrats and Republicans have done. That’s a power they have exercised as president. I’m not sure that we can call this a political move by Obama.
GWEN IFILL: And, Jim, is it balanced out by early administration moves to bail out the auto companies in Detroit, to bail out — “bail out” Wall Street — we use air quotes.
JIM TANKERSLEY: Well, he certainly — yes, the president certainly had his moments of working with business, and he still does.
He’s pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal right now hand in hand with the Chamber and other groups of business lobbyists. So this is a president who in the beginning spent a lot of time trying to, you know, help the business community dig out from the recession, then has said a lot of things about them being fat cats or talking down Wall Street bonuses as bad.
And then took a lot of flak from them, and now has reached this moment where he meets them on a few things, he fights them on some others, and the political wind is sort of more with him maybe than with them at the moment.
GWEN IFILL: Well, it’s interesting to see. The wind is definitely blowing against them at the moment, but we will see what happens next.
Jim Tankersley of The Washington Post, thank you very much.
JIM TANKERSLEY: Thanks for having me.
The post Why the Obama administration is stepping up a corporate crackdown appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: In the day’s other news: Russian President Vladimir Putin is denying he’s tied to offshore accounts, as detailed in the Panama Papers leak. In St. Petersburg today, Putin dismissed reports that a close friend channeled $2 billion to his supporters. He said it’s part of a U.S.-led plot to discredit Russia.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): More than anything, our opponents are concerned with the unity and consolidation of the Russian nation, of the multinational Russian people. Because of that, attempts are made to destabilize the situation from within, to make us more agreeable and to shape us the way they want.
GWEN IFILL: Putin himself is not directly named in any of the leaked documents.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In Syria, Islamic State militants abducted more than 300 workers and contractors today. State TV reported it happened at a cement plant about 28 miles from Damascus.
GWEN IFILL: And in Iraq, elite government forces entered the center of a key town held by ISIS. They have been fighting since last month to retake Hit. It sits on a major ISIS supply route from Syria.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivered a jab to his country’s hard-liners today. In a televised speech, he said that his government favors — quote — “a policy of moderation” and he said Iran must engage with the world now to take advantage of last year’s nuclear agreement.
PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI, Iran (through interpreter): The opportunity the nuclear deal has created for us is not permanent and eternal. Opportunities pass like passing clouds. If, God forbid, a small group succeed at not letting us take advantage of this opportunity, the opportunity will not return.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Rouhani’s remarks are a challenge to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and his hard-line allies.
GWEN IFILL: Prosecutors in Belgium have issued a new appeal for help, finding a ref — a fugitive, that is, from the Brussels attacks. They released new security camera video today showing the so-called man in the hat as he left the airport, walked away and finally disappeared. In all, 32 people died in the Brussels attacks. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama went back today to where he once taught to press his case for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. At the University of Chicago’s law school, he argued the U.S. Senate has to vote on Garland’s nomination, or risk sabotaging the system.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We are going to see the kinds of sharp partisan polarization that have come to characterize our electoral politics seeping entirely into the judicial system. And the courts will just be an extension of our legislatures.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Republicans insist that they will wait for the next president to name a nominee. And the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, said today they’re committed to that stance.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), Iowa: Our side knows and our side believes that what we’re doing is right. And when that’s the case, it’s not hard to withstand the outrage and the pressure they have manufactured.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Garland met with more Democratic senators today. He’s also met with a handful of Republicans.
GWEN IFILL: Wall Street had a tough day, as sluggish growth hurt bank stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 174 points to close below 17542. The Nasdaq fell 72 points, and the S&P 500 slid 24.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And a rare first edition of William Shakespeare’s collected plays has turned up in Scotland. The “First Folio” was found at Mount Stuart, a vast estate on the Scottish Isle of Bute. It was printed in 1623, and is one of only 234 known copies in the world. Britain is this year marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in April 1616.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: a crackdown on companies seeking tax havens overseas; refugees’ economic impact on a city in Upstate New York; the U.S. role in Yemen’s civil war; and much more.
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Editor’s note: We said that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is endorsing Donald Trump in the New York primary. That is incorrect. Giuliani says he is voting for Trump, but is not endorsing him.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The tone and tensions grew sharper today on the Democratic side of the presidential contest. It happened as critical new primaries loom in New York, Pennsylvania and other Northeastern states.
Bernie Sanders walked to the mic this morning in Philadelphia, and picked up where he had left off last night on Hillary Clinton.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Are you qualified to be president of the United States when you’re raising millions of dollars from Wall Street, an entity who’s greed, recklessness and illegal behavior helped destroy our economy?
JUDY WOODRUFF: During TV interviews yesterday, Clinton never actually called Sanders unqualified, but she did say this:
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Well, I think he hasn’t done his homework, and he’d been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That was a shot at Sanders’ stumble in an interview on how he’d break up big banks.
Today, the Vermont senator argued he had no choice but to respond in kind.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: They’re going to question my qualifications, I think I have a right to question theirs.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But this morning, in New York City, Clinton dismissed Sanders’ criticism, and shifted back to the Republicans.
HILLARY CLINTON: Look, I didn’t — I don’t know why he’s saying that, but I would take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz any time. So let’s keep our eye on what’s really at stake in this election.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Republicans, too, descended on the EMPIRE STATE today. Texas Senator Ted Cruz was upstate, and focused on the GOP front-runner during a stop outside Schenectady.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: Donald Trump has been supporting liberal Democratic politicians for 40 years.
When it comes to religious liberty, when it comes to the Supreme Court, he said, Ted, you got to learn to compromise. You got to learn to cut deals with the Democrats and go along to get along.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Donald Trump was off the trail today, as his campaign announced it’s beefing up its delegate hunt. But, last night, the New York billionaire reached back to a Cruz jibe in January that Trump symbolizes the state’s liberal politics.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Do you remember during the debate when he started lecturing me on New York values like we’re no good, like we’re no good?
DONALD TRUMP: And I started talking to him about the World Trade Center, the bravery, the incredible bravery of everybody.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ohio Governor John Kasich, polling second to Trump in New York, joined in today with a new ad that rips Cruz.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: They’re not Iowa values and they’re not New Hampshire values. Everyone knows what New York values are.
NARRATOR: Ted Cruz divides to get a vote. John Kasich unites to get things done.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also criticized Cruz today, as he endorsed Trump.
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It’s now one of only 234 known copies in the world, hidden for more than 100 years in the library at Mount Stuart, a vast estate on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. The “First Folio” is 36 of William Shakespeare’s plays, collected and printed seven years after the Bard’s death in 1623. Without the bound collection many of Shakespeare’s most loved plays would have been lost, among them “The Tempest” and “Macbeth.”
The find was confirmed as genuine by Emma Smith, professor of Shakespeare studies at Oxford University. She told the BBC, “It’s a book we most likely now see … in a glass case, and one of the things that this copy … shows us is a time when people just really used this book, they enjoyed it, they scribbled on it, they spilt their wine on it, their pet cats jumped on it.”
What makes the Bute copy of the “First Folio” unusual is that it comes in three leather-bound volumes, divided by comedies, histories and tragedies. Most of the other known copies are all-in-one.
Inside the first page is an inscription from an 18th century editor of Shakespeare named Isaac Reed, describing how he acquired the book in 1786. It was sold after his death in 1807 for £38 and it didn’t turn up in a census of First Folios in 1906 but it was included in a catalogue of the Bute library in 1896.
The Head of Collections at Mount Stuart, Alice Martin, said this is “just the tip of the iceberg for the undiscovered material in the remarkable Bute Collection, and we are working with scholars from universities including Glasgow, Dundee, Stirling and Oxford to share our collections with schoolchildren in Scotland and with the public.”
It’s on display to the public at Mount Stuart through October of this year. Britain is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death this year.
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WASHINGTON — The standard line in Bernie Sanders’ campaign speeches goes like this: “Despite what the corporate media is telling you, there is a path to the nomination.”
If such a track exists, it’s far from clear what it is. Sanders is far behind Hillary Clinton in the race for delegates that will decide the nomination. He’ll need 68 percent of those remaining to win. Even after his recent run of success, Sanders is nowhere near that pace.
And it’s not the corporate media he should be blaming, but the rules of a Democratic Party he only recently joined after serving decades in public office as an independent.
The party has tailored its nominating process specifically to prevent an upstart candidate such as Sanders from winning its nomination for president. And Sanders’ top adviser, by the way, is a longtime Democratic Party insider who helped write those rules.
HOW IT WORKS
One word: Delegates.
Not states won, not debate triumphs, not cash raised. Certainly not what the Sanders campaign calls “momentum.”
The nominating contest is about winning 2,383 delegates, and the delegate math says Clinton is decidedly ahead of Sanders.
The basics: All Democratic contests award delegates in proportion to the share of the vote — so even the loser gets some.
That makes it hard for a front-runner to collect delegates and clinch the nomination as quickly as when the winner takes all. But the proportional system also makes it difficult for a trailing candidate to catch up if he or she falls behind by a large number.
Clinton was able to amass a big delegate lead — at one point more than 300 delegates — by winning by large margins in the South, where there are large minority populations that largely back her over Sanders.
In contrast, Sanders has mostly won smaller states that hold caucuses or won narrowly in larger states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, which has limited the number of delegates he’s netted in his effort to catch up to Clinton.
To date, Sanders trails Clinton by close to 2.4 million total votes cast and by more than 200 delegates. In 2008, when Clinton trailed Barack Obama by more than 100 delegates, she was never able to catch up to him.
The current count: Clinton has 1,280 delegates won in primaries and caucuses to Sanders’ 1,030.
WHAT ABOUT SUPERDELEGATES?
Another factor: 15 percent of the delegates who get a vote at the Democratic National Convention are superdelegates, or elected officials and party leaders who can back any candidate they wish.
They are the party establishment. And they overwhelmingly support Clinton.
The Associated Press surveys those superdelegates and adds them to the tally if they say publicly whom they plan to vote for at the convention. The AP doesn’t count those who say they’ve decided, but aren’t willing to say so “on the record.”
Clinton’s strong support among superdelegates widens her lead even more — 1,749 to Sanders’ 1,061.
HOW IT GOT THIS WAY
For decades, the leaders and activists of the Democratic Party struggled to control its presidential nominating process. The back-and-forth gave birth in 1984 to the superdelegate.
They are insiders and political pros who are not bound to any candidate, and they act as deciders in prolonged nomination fights.
The original idea was to give party elders a voice in the nominating process to avoid a repeat of what some viewed as a mistake in the 1972 election, in which George McGovern won the nomination but proved to be a weak general election candidate. He lost 49 states in the November vote.
In 1984, under the superdelegate system, former Vice President Walter Mondale was the choice of the Democratic establishment and won the party’s presidential nomination. He, too, lost 49 states in the general election.
SANDERS’ SUPERDELEGATE CONNECTION
Tad Devine, Sanders’ top adviser and a Democratic Party veteran of more than three decades, helped craft the superdelegate process.
He’s been quoted defending it — “It’s pretty hard to win a nomination in a contested race and almost impossible to win without the superdelegates,” he observed in a 2008 interview on National Public Radio — and also pointing out that there’s a danger of backlash if superdelegates wield too much power or operate in a less-than-transparent way.
Devine told the AP last month that the Sanders campaign expects the superdelegates to choose a candidate “after the voters have spoken — not before.”
WHAT’S UP IN WASHINGTON STATE?
Sanders won the Washington state caucuses by more than 40 percentage points, but he has only 25 of the state’s 101 delegates. (Clinton has nine.)
Washington Democrats award most of their delegates based on vote totals in individual congressional districts. But the party has been unable to produce vote totals for each of those congressional districts.
As soon as the state party parses the votes, the delegates can be allocated and Sanders’ total will jump.
Associated Press writers Hope Yen and Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report.
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I got the chance to get a sneak peek at HBO’s upcoming docudrama on the 1991 Hill-Thomas hearings, when college professor Anita Hill nearly derailed George H.W. Bush’s nomination of federal appeals court Judge Clarence Thomas to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
I betray no confidentiality and provide no spoiler as I write about this now. Although the film “Confirmation,” starring Kerry Washington as Hill and Wendell Pierce as Thomas, does not premiere until April 16, we all know how it ends.
Thomas has now served nearly a quarter-century on the nation’s highest court, while Hill has retreated to academia and a career as an advocate for women’s rights.
But at the time that she challenged Thomas’ nomination on grounds that he had sexually harassed her when she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, no one had ever seen anything like it before.
The Democratically-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a floor vote on Thomas’ confirmation — after it had already approved him on a party line vote — to hold additional hearings that dragged into the wee hours of the night.
Newscasters warned viewers to keep their children away from the coverage — which included references to genitalia and pornography — and the rest of us watched it unfold slack-jawed.
Add to that the spectacle of watching a black woman challenge a black man in front of a panel comprised entirely of middle-aged to elderly white men (chaired by now-Vice President Joe Biden), and we were all glued to our television sets.
The HBO retelling is faithful to this history. And watching it decades later, and in the midst of a crazed presidential campaign, it still overwhelms.
It is mind-boggling to imagine the Hill-Thomas showdown played out in the Twitter era. Would it have ended differently?
Justice Thomas does not do much talking to the press, but I had the chance to ask Hill that question, as she made herself available to talk about the HBO film.
“It would be quite different today,” she told me on the NewsHour. “But I think that the issues are such that it wouldn’t go away.”
“Quite different” is certainly an understatement. At a time when a debate about the correct way to eat pizza or use a New York City subway MetroCard can consume an entire news cycle, just imagine what the Hill-Thomas hearings would do to us.
But for an entire generation of people under the age of perhaps 30 who did not witness them first-hand, it’s worth watching even a fictionalized version of the story to be reminded of what we can be.
WASHINGTON — For Americans of nearly every race, gender, political persuasion and location, disdain for Donald Trump runs deep, saddling the Republican front-runner with unprecedented unpopularity as he tries to overcome recent campaign setbacks.
Seven in 10 people, including close to half of Republican voters, have an unfavorable view of Trump, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. It’s an opinion shared by majorities of men and women; young and old; conservatives, moderates and liberals; and whites, Hispanics and blacks — a devastatingly broad indictment of the billionaire businessman.
Even in the South, a region where Trump has won GOP primaries decisively, close to 70 percent view him unfavorably. And among whites without a college education, one of Trump’s most loyal voting blocs, 55 percent have a negative opinion.
Trump still leads the Republican field in delegates and has built a loyal following with a steady share of the Republican primary electorate. But the breadth of his unpopularity raises significant questions about how he could stitch together enough support in the general election to win the White House.
It also underscores the trouble he may still face in the Republican race, which appears headed to a contested convention where party insiders would have their say about who will represent the GOP in the fall campaign.
“He’s at risk of having the nomination denied to him because grass-roots party activists fear he’s so widely disliked that he can’t possibly win,” said Ari Fleischer, a former adviser to President George W. Bush.
Beyond their generally negative perception of Trump, large majorities also said they would not describe him as civil, compassionate or likable. On nearly all of these measures, Trump fared worse than his remaining Democratic or Republican rivals.
Another problem for Trump is that his public perception seems to be getting worse. The number of Americans who view him unfavorably has risen more than 10 percentage points since mid-February, a two-month stretch that has included some of his biggest primary victories but also an array of stumbles that suggested difficulties with his campaign organization and a lack of policy depth.
A survey conducted by Gallup in January found Trump’s unfavorable rating, then at 60 percent in the their polling, was already at a record high level for any major party nominee in their organization’s polling since the 1990’s.
Candi Edie, a registered Republican from Arroyo Grande, California, is among those whose views on Trump have grown more negative.
“At first, I thought he was great. He was bringing out a lot of issues that weren’t ever said, they were taboo,” Edie said. Now the 64-year-old feels Trump’s early comments masked the fact that he’s “such a bigot.”
“I don’t know if he’s lost it or what,” she said. “He’s not acting presidential.” Trump’s unpopularity could provide an opening for Cruz, though he is loathed by many of his Senate colleagues and other party leaders. After a big win Tuesday in Wisconsin, Cruz is angling to overtake Trump at the July GOP convention.
Clinton’s campaign believes Trump’s sky-high unfavorable ratings could offset some questions voters have about her own character, and perhaps even give her a chance to peel off some Republicans who can’t stomach a vote for the real estate mogul.
Andrew Glaves, a “hard core” Republican from Bothell, Washington, said he might have to side with Clinton if Trump becomes the nominee, even though she’s out of step with his views on gun rights, his top election issue.
“I’d be willing to take that as opposed to doing so much harm to the country’s reputation,” said Glaves, 29.
More than 60 percent of all registered voters and 31 percent of Republicans said they definitely would not vote for Trump in the general election.
One group that is still with him includes those who describe themselves as both Republicans and supporters of the tea party movement. Sixty-eight percent of them have a favorable view.
Pennsylvania Republican Robert Paradis plans to vote for Trump in his state’s primary this month. The 76-year-old said that while Trump’s uneven temperament makes him cringe “all the time,” he’s hopeful the front-runner’s bluntness can shake up Washington.
“He’s not a politician; he says it the way he feels it,” Paradis said.
The AP-GfK Poll of 1,076 adults was conducted online March 31-April 4, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.
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Today we celebrate one of the great heroes in the war against AIDS: a quiet, unassuming and brave young man named Ryan White. He was only 18 when he died of the disease on April 8, 1990.
Ryan was born with hemophilia A, a rare, inherited disorder in which the blood system does not clot normally because of an inability to produce “factor 8,” a prosaically named protein related to this critical process. When a hemophiliac suffers a blunt or bruising injury to the body, internal bleeding often occurs, which causes damage to one’s organs and can be life-threatening. Of particular risk is bleeding within the knee, ankle and elbow joints, which can be severely damaged over time.
Although there is no cure for hemophilia, doctors treat the bleeding episodes with injections of factor 8 to help the clotting process along. But in the years before the threat of HIV/AIDS became widely understood, this substance was pooled and isolated from thousands of anonymous and untested blood donations. What no one knew back then was that every time a pediatrician administered this seemingly life-saving elixir (and I was one of those pediatricians), there was a real risk of administering an HIV-contaminated dose. Hence, we doctors were unknowingly infecting our hemophiliac patients with the human immunodeficiency virus. Virtually every hemophiliac I treated in the mid-1980s has since died from AIDS. This was the way Ryan White became infected with HIV sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
Ryan’s path was not an easy one. Diagnosed in December of 1984, he was initially predicted to live only six more months. After he overcame his first serious bout of illness, however, Ryan wanted to return to the Western Middle School in Russiaville, Indiana. Sadly, the superintendent of the Western School Corporation (which included his town of Kokomo, Indiana) would not let him return and Ryan was forced to listen in on his seventh grade classes via the telephone. Several school officials, teachers, parents and students erroneously (and cruelly) insisted that Ryan might transmit his HIV by casual contact, such as a handshake, from using the public restrooms or even from handling the newspapers Ryan delivered on his paper route.
After winning a lengthy court case allowing him to return to his classes, Ryan was taunted and shunned by other students. Vandals broke the windows of the White’s home, and cashiers refused to touch his mother’s hands when making change at the supermarket. Not everyone in Kokomo was so vituperative, of course, and there were many families who supported Ryan’s desire to attend school. Nevertheless, life there was a harrowing experience for the White family.
In 1987, the Whites moved to nearby Cicero, Indiana, and Ryan enrolled at Hamilton Heights High School. There, the principal welcomed him with a handshake and encouraged the student body to engage in accurate and informative discussions about HIV/AIDS.
When the nation was still grappling with homophobia, unsubstantiated fears of how the virus was transmitted, and a great deal of prejudice towards a growing number of terribly sick individuals, Ryan White’s case became a national antidote. During this period, Ryan served as an eloquent spokesman about AIDS to his classmates, journalists and, through the wide reach of television, the American public. He valiantly fought against a battalion of bigots who saw AIDS as some kind of divine retribution against gay men and intravenous drug users (two of the largest groups stricken with AIDS during this time). He also demonstrated how the national blood supply needed to be fixed so that every donation was tested for evidence of HIV. AIDS, he declared, is an infectious disease, nothing more, and it had the power to infect and harm any human being unfortunate enough to have contracted it.
A television film was made about his life, “The Ryan White Story,” which aired on national television in 1989. Many celebrities and political leaders feted him, including Elton John, Michael Jackson, Nancy and Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. But Ryan often said he would gladly trade in his fame for a clean bill of health and that his greatest desire in life was “to be a regular kid.”
By early 1990, his health plummeted. Ryan was able to attend the Academy Awards in Los Angeles in March of 1990 but a few days later, he developed difficulty swallowing and was rushed back to Indianapolis’s Riley Children’s Hospital. His respiratory condition worsened and he died on April 8, only one month before he would have graduated.
On August 18, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed an important and bipartisan bill into law known as “The Ryan White CARE Act.” This legislation provided more than $2 billion to help cities, states, and community-based organizations to develop and maintain coordinated and comprehensive systems of diagnosis, care and treatment, especially for the poorest Americans contending with HIV/AIDS.
Today, modern medicine is making great strides in treating HIV/AIDS with a host of anti-retroviral drugs that allow patients to lead long and productive lives. Doctors and scientists are developing better means of diagnosis and the means for preventing infections. That said, there are about 1.2 million people in the United States infected with HIV and 1 out of 8 of them do not even know their HIV status.
More than 36 million people around the globe are living with HIV. Since the global pandemic began, nearly 79 million people have contracted HIV and more than 34 million have died from AIDS. The awful fact of the matter is that AIDS remains one of the world’s leading causes of death and, even at this late date, many AIDS patients still experience stigmatization and psychologically damaging bigotry.
Yet, at least for today, we should celebrate the life of a courageous young man who helped reduce such ugly impulses. Despite being dealt two bad hands — hemophilia and becoming infected with HIV from the very medication used to treat his blood disorder — Ryan White made a lasting and noble difference in the world.
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In this week’s quiz, the leak of more than 11 million confidential documents, nicknamed the “Panama papers,” provided details of how a Panamanian law firm helped its wealthy clientele create shell companies. And scholars returned to a site formerly held by the Islamic State militant group. Take our 5-minute quiz about these world events and more.
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LOS ANGELES — President Barack Obama says a functioning American democracy is what’s at stake in November’s elections.
He says it’s important to elect leaders who believe compromise isn’t a dirty word, who listen to those who disagree and respect other people’s views.
Obama mentioned Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz several times at a House Democratic fundraiser late Thursday at the Los Angeles home of Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and his wife, Cindy, an environmental advocate.
Actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow were among the approximately 100 people there, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat. Tickets cost $33,400 per couple.
Obama was attending three fundraisers in California on Friday.
Brig. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, alongside other officials, spoke at a news conference Friday providing more information about Friday’s shooting at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Video by PBS NewsHour
At least two people have been killed in an apparent murder-suicide at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, local authorities said Friday.
Brig. Gen. Robert LaBrutta said two handguns were found near the bodies in a building on the base, but said he will not identify the men until the next of kin have been notified.
A senior U.S. official told the Associated Press that an airman shot his commander.
LaBrutta said there was no indication that Friday’s shooting was an act of terrorism.
Texas authorities responded to reports of an active shooter around 9:50 a.m. EDT at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland this morning, Bexar County sheriff’s spokesman James Keith said at a news conference.
We are responding to reports of an active shooter at Lackland Air Force Base. No confirmation at this time.
— Bexar County Sheriff (@BexarCoSheriff) April 8, 2016
Our deputies are inside Lackland AFB clearing buildings now pic.twitter.com/BGwowOBXYF
— Bexar County Sheriff (@BexarCoSheriff) April 8, 2016
Air Force basic training is carried out at the base. It’s also more than 150 miles away from the Fort Hood military base where Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 31 others in 2009.
This is a developing story. PBS NewsHour will update the post as more details become available.
Belgian authorities have made “several arrests” Friday in connection with the March 22 terror attacks at a Brussels airport and metro station that left 32 people dead, the prosecutor’s office said.
Although the prosecutor’s office stopped short of giving the names of those arrested, French police officials confirmed to the Associated Press that Mohamed Abrini, a key suspect in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, was among them.
Abrini, a 31-year-old Belgian national, is the last identified suspect in the Paris attacks five months ago, in which 130 people were killed. ISIS has claimed responsibility for both attacks in Brussels and Paris.
Belgian officials released additional video footage of a “man in the hat,” the third suspected Brussels attacker that remains at large. A French police official told the AP that Abrini is believed to be that third man shown in the surveillance footage.
WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Friday he will attend a Vatican City conference on social, economic and environmental issues next week, making the symbolic overseas trip ahead of a pivotal New York primary against Hillary Clinton.
The Vermont senator has long been an admirer of Pope Francis on issues of wealth inequality and social justice and his presentation to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on April 15 will allow him to reach a larger audience of Catholic voters in New York four days before the primary. Sanders trails Clinton among delegates and the New York contest is an important step in the senator’s ability to gain ground against the former secretary of state.
“The moral imperative that (the pope) is bringing to this discussion is absolutely extraordinary and absolutely what the world needs. These are issues that I have been dealing with for years,” Sanders said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
“On economic issues, on issues of poverty and income and wealth inequality, the issues of making sure we address the needs of the poorest people of this planet, this is something that the pope and I are very much on the same page,” Sanders said.
It was not clear yet whether Sanders, the first Jewish candidate to win a presidential primary, would meet with the pope during his trip. Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said “if the opportunity arises he would be delighted to meet with the pope” but Sanders has not received an official invitation from the Catholic leader.
Attendees of the conference will include Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador, along with Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, a member of the academy, and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, an adviser to the United Nations on environmental and sustainability issues.
Sachs, who has advised Sanders on foreign policy, said the invitation “reflects the very high resonance of the pope’s messages on social justice and social inclusion with Bernie Sanders’ messages on a fairer economy. He was excited, of course, to get the invitation.”
Sanders will be speaking at the conference of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, an advisory group comparable to a think tank that the pope has appointed to guide him on a wide range of public policy issues.
The Rev. Thomas Reese, an analyst with the National Catholic Reporter and author of “Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church,” said it was unusual for a U.S. presidential candidate to be invited to participate in such an event in the middle of a campaign. European politicians and experts attend frequently, in part because they can more easily travel to Rome, he said.
But Reese cautioned that the invitation should not be interpreted in any way as an endorsement from the pope.
“Certainly the last thing Pope Francis wants to do is get involved in American presidential politics. He’s made clear that he doesn’t even want to interfere in Italian politics,” Reese said.
Associated Press writer Rachel Zoll in New York contributed to this report.
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The Walt Disney Company urged an academic journal to withdraw a nutritional study of children’s meals at Disney World last fall — a study it had funded — amid a public backlash over corporate involvement in scientific research, according to newly obtained emails.
Disney wasn’t concerned about the study’s findings, but feared being publicly associated with one of its main authors, James Hill of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Hill’s work last summer drew an outcry among scientists who felt his project, funded by Coca-Cola, played down the impact of sugary drinks in obesity.
Emails obtained by STAT show that Disney asked Hill and a coauthor to withdraw the meal study — a step that many researchers would consider a breach of ethics.
More people on Earth now obese than underweight
In one email, Hill told Disney an editor at the journal had advised him that “we risk some real negative PR if anyone found out that Disney was even trying to influence publication.” The company relented, but was later offered an opportunity to tailor the press release about the study’s findings. That, too, was unusual.
The emails do not indicate that Disney influenced the findings, but they open a rare window on the back-and-forth between researchers and a corporate sponsor. They also mark what experts described as an unusual degree of corporate involvement in an academic study.
“The authors should follow the science, and Disney should not be influencing either how they do the study, how they report the study, or whether they report the study,” said George Annas, a Boston University professor of law and medicine who also directs the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights. “There can’t be any strings attached.”
The study, published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, was a retrospective analysis of kids’ meals sold at Disney World.
The authors looked at data from all 145 Disney World restaurants since it revamped its children’s menus to offer healthier default choices. In the new model, parents who want to order soda or fries for their kids — instead of choices like low-fat milk, fruit, or carrots — have to ask for them.
The study found that nearly half the meals ordered for the children included the healthy default side dishes and two-thirds included the healthier drinks.
The authors wrote that these choices resulted in significant reductions in calories, fat, and sodium in the kids’ meals, but not sugar.
After the study was accepted by the journal, Disney tried to press the authors not to publish it. The editor, Brian Wansink, a Cornell University professor who edited the issue, told the authors it was too late to pull it.
Wansink “advised me confidentially that it is considered unethical for sponsors of research to have input into publication issues,” Hill wrote to Disney in an email.
A Disney spokesman acknowledged the effort.
“Given the recent issues regarding Dr. Hill and the university, we questioned the wisdom of publishing the study,” said David Jefferson, a Disney spokesman.
One of the lead authors of the study, John Peters, also a professor at theUniversity of Colorado School of Medicine, said in an interview that the study was a legitimate subject of research, adding that no one had yet examined whether Disney’s approach was effective in providing families with healthier meals. Asked about Disney’s attempt to withdrawal the study, he said the company had “never sponsored any research before and they were not really familiar with the rules of doing so.”
Peters said he was worried about negative publicity surrounding industry-sponsored studies, which he believes can be unbiased if ethics guidelines are followed.
“It’s kind of a shame this sort of scrutiny on industry-sponsored research can have unintended consequences — maybe scaring people off to say, ‘I don’t ever want to fund research as an industry because it’s not worth it,’” he said.
Gary Ruskin, codirector of US Right to Know, a California-based consumer group that obtained the emails under the Colorado Open Records Act and provided them to STAT, said he was troubled by the authors’ disclosure on the paper.
That disclosure said, “The Walt Disney Company and the National Institutes of Health,” which also contributed funding, “had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article.”
It suggests Disney shouldn’t have had the opportunity to edit the press release, Ruskin said. But the emails show Disney insisting on more information about the publication before they could give approval to a press release; the authors then provided Disney with the draft release.
“I drafted a simple release … but we can edit to our hearts content,” Peters wrote.
“It’s dishonest to disclose in their paper that Disney has no impact when Disney gets to approve the news release and when they do Disney’s bidding to try to take the paper back,” Ruskin said.
In an email, Hill defended the work by Peters and his other coauthors, saying he was “happy the scientific community was able to learn about the good work with food that Disney is doing in their parks.”
“I am sorry that companies like Disney have to worry about negative PR from funding research,” he added. “We need more, not less, research.”
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