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

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    File photo of the Federal Bureau of Investigation building in Washington, D.C. by Rich Clement/Bloomberg

    File photo of the Federal Bureau of Investigation building in Washington, D.C. by Rich Clement/Bloomberg

    WASHINGTON — FBI officials say there’s no clear evidence the agency violated its own rules when it posed as The Associated Press to unmask a criminal, according to a report obtained through a public records lawsuit.

    However, the internal FBI report being made public by the AP and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says “an argument can be made” that field agents bucked protocol by not informing senior brass in Washington of the 2007 operation.

    The sting was aimed at identifying the hoaxer behind a series of bomb threats to Timberline High School in the suburban town of Lacey, Washington.

    Agents crafted a fake AP article, digitally booby-trapped it and sent it to the suspect’s MySpace account. Pretending to be an AP reporter, they asked him to review the piece before it was published. When the hoaxer opened what he thought was a story about his exploits, the digital trap was sprung, his location was revealed and he was swiftly arrested.

    The FBI’s use of the AP’s name in the operation wasn’t widely known until Chris Soghoian, a technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union, discovered a reference to the bogus news article in a cache of previously released FBI documents in October 2014. The AP called the FBI’s action “unacceptable” and, in a letter to the Justice Department a month later, AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said the FBI’s tactics amounted to “a theft of our reputation and credibility.”

    FBI Director James Comey defended the operation, saying in an editorial that the technique was “proper and appropriate under Justice Department and FBI guidelines at the time.”

    But the seven-page “Situation Action Background” report, drafted by the FBI’s Cyber Division on Oct. 31, 2014, gives a more nuanced take.

    It notes that undercover operations involving agents who pose as members of the media are typically categorized as “Group 1,” the label given to sensitive operations flagged to the agency’s Washington headquarters for review and approval. That does not appear to have happened in the Timberline case. The report says it isn’t clear whether the Seattle office ever even told headquarters about their impersonation of AP.

    Despite that, the FBI’s Cyber Division found in the Seattle office’s favor, saying it acted reasonably “under the circumstances.”

    “Although an argument can be made the reported impersonation of a fictitious member of the media constituted a ‘sensitive circumstance’ that would have made the undercover activity subject to FBI HQ review and approval required for a Group 1 undercover operation, the facts of the case do not clearly indicate that such a sensitive circumstance existed,” the report says.

    The “facts of the case” invoked by the report aren’t made clear. The following four pages are heavily redacted.

    The report was among 186 pages of material recently turned over to the AP and the Reporters Committee after they teamed up to sue the FBI for more information about the agency’s impersonation of journalists. Both groups are still fighting the FBI for more documents about the bomb hoax case and others like it. In a legal brief filed Monday, they described the government’s disclosure as inadequate and some of its redactions as improper.

    “We don’t believe it’s appropriate to fake being a journalist under any circumstances, whatever the FBI’s own findings may be,” AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said. “AP journalists are independent and it is wrong, and potentially dangerous, to create a lie that then links them with government activities.”

    The post FBI: ‘Argument can be made’ fake AP story broke rules appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Frank Carlson

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Next: Scientist and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward O. Wilson first gained fame for his study of ants. Through the years, he’s moved from small insects to big ideas, and now a very big one, one made more urgent by the problems of climate change.

    Jeffrey Brown has our profile in his second report from Southern Alabama.

    E.O. WILSON, Author, “Half Earth”: I was just a 12-, 13-year-old boy, and it was just a wonderland to me.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Edward O. Wilson spent his formative years in Mobile, Alabama, looking for snakes and insects in the surrounding delta.

    E.O. WILSON: If I could, I would just do the same thing today that I did then, but it would look funny.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JEFFREY BROWN: The experience would shape him, as biologist, evolutionary theorist, naturalist, and at age 86 perhaps most important to him now conservationist.

    E.O. WILSON: What is man? Storyteller, mythmaker, and destroyer of the living world.

    JEFFREY BROWN: His new book, “Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight For Life,” takes on nothing less than the survival of plant and animal life on earth.

    E.O. WILSON: Yearning to be more master than steward of the declining planet.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Wilson’s solution is in the title, setting aside half the Earth as natural habitat.

    We spoke beneath the old live oak trees at Fort Blakeley Historic Park, where Wilson’s great-grandfather fought in one of the last battles of the Civil War.

    Half Earth. Are you serious?

    E.O. WILSON: I’m serious. I know it sounds radical, but we must have it if we’re going to save most of the species remaining on Earth. And it’s easier to do than most people might think.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It sounds impossible. It sounds for some people crazy.

    E.O. WILSON: I was just going to use the word insane.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

    E.O. WILSON: Yes, it sounds that way, because they envision cutting the Earth into two hemispheres, one for us and one for the other 10 million species. But, no, we mean giving 50 percent or setting it aside, patches, some large wilderness areas, others far, far smaller, in order to make that amount of reserve area.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Your ideas on this and what should happen have gotten bigger and bolder.

    E.O. WILSON: Well, they have.

    My alarm went from yellow to red when I read the papers authored by large numbers of scientists and team efforts that showed just how far off the goal the conservation organizations were, how — all our efforts around the world in slowing down extinction rates.

    JEFFREY BROWN: One key to Wilson’s argument is how little we know of life on Earth, only two million species identified out of a total probably closer to 10 million, even as species go extinct at 1,000 times the normal rate, thanks chiefly to human population growth and corresponding habitat loss.

    Conservation efforts worldwide have thus far set aside a little more than 15 percent of the Earth for habitat. Wilson would triple that.

    E.O. WILSON: We would be taking a first step towards securing enough space and natural habitat to preserve, by my estimate, more than 80 percent of the species left. If we don’t do this, we’re going to go down to 50 percent or more in a fairly short period of time in this century.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Wilson is attempting such a thing right here, to give national protection, either a park or wildlife refuge status, to parts of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, one of the most biologically diverse areas in North America.

    There’s opposition in this conservative state. But Wilson is not deterred.

    E.O. WILSON: I think it’s a moral thing to do. I believe morality is going to enter very strongly into what I hope will be a shift of perception and precepts and reasoning about this, that we really should take extra measures to save the rest of life on Earth.

    And who are we, one species, to wipe out a majority of the species remaining that live with us on this planet just for — without even thinking about it, for our particular selfish needs?

    JEFFREY BROWN: Wilson acknowledges that the world’s population will continue to grow from its current 7.3 billion to around 11 billion, before leveling out. But he thinks advancements in technology will help shrink our ecological footprint.

    So what are the stakes?

    E.O. WILSON: The stakes are the future of life, the future of the living part of the environment.

    Mind you, we are beginning to make meaningful progress toward controlling the forces of climate change and of pollution. And the other parts of the nonliving environment that have been causing a large part of the destruction.

    If we allow the living part of the environment to disappear, for me, it would be by future generations regarded as one of the most catastrophic, even evil periods in human history, for our descendants to look back and say, they wiped out half or more of all of the rest of life on Earth, the variety of life on Earth.

    JEFFREY BROWN: A thoroughly depressing prospect. But to spend a day with Edward Wilson is anything but depressing.

    E.O. WILSON: Science needs to have a goal and actually achieve that goal. We really want to see on the front page of the newspaper scientists announce cure for cancer, or cure for lung cancer, shall we say?

    What galvanizes public support and puts spirit into it is to say, this is the goal that we must reach. Let’s set that goal, and let’s get there.

    JEFFREY BROWN: From Fort Blakeley Historic Park outside Mobile, Alabama, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

    The post How to save life on Earth, according to E.O. Wilson appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Ex-inmates have a greater exposure to disease and maintain higher levels of stress than men who have never been imprisoned, which leads them to die earlier, according to a new study.

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On Capitol Hill today, a group of top senators unveiled a bipartisan bill to reform the nation’s criminal justice system.

    Among other things, the legislation would reduce prison sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders, and create programs to help offenders reenter society. The move comes at the same time the Obama administration is pushing a series of criminal justice initiatives.

    Spearheading that effort is Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who joins us now.

    Deputy Attorney General Yates, thank you for being with us.

    SALLY YATES, Deputy Attorney General: Well, thank you for having me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, tell us what the thrust of the administration’s criminal justice reform efforts are. What are you trying to fix?

    SALLY YATES: Well, we’re trying to accomplish a number of things.

    First, with the sentencing reform bill, we’re really trying to bring proportionality back to sentencing, and specifically for lower-level nonviolent drug offenders. And then with our Reentry Week this week, we’re really trying to highlight the importance of assuring that those who are returning from prison have just those basic tools they need in order to be able to be successful.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what are some examples of that? What are some things that they need that they aren’t getting right now, most of them?

    SALLY YATES: Well, just imagine right now that you’re leaving prison. You may or may not have a family to go back to. Particularly if you were incarcerated a long way from where your family lives, your wife may have divorced you at this point, so you may or may not have a family to go back to.

    And you may or may not have had a chance to stay in touch with your children during this time as well. It’s expensive for people to travel. So, you have got to find a place to live. Public housing is difficult. Some public housing operations will not allow convicted felons. Then you have got to find a job. And finding a job is really difficult at all right now, but just imagine if you have to add convicted felon to your resume.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, just to be clear, you’re working just on prisoners in the federal system? Is that right?

    SALLY YATES: Well, we’re looking at both. We’re trying to help both prisoners that are leaving the Federal Bureau of Prisons, but also working through our grant program with state facilities as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it’s a big job.

    SALLY YATES: Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I mean, we’re talking a lot of prisoners around the country.

    SALLY YATES: Yes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You said this week, I believe, our criminal justice system is not equipped to deal with what is fundamentally a health crisis.

    What did you mean by that?

    SALLY YATES: Well, I was referring to mental health there.

    And there’s one of the problems that our law enforcement officers have been encountering. There are a lot of people on the street right now that have serious mental health issues. Going back to the ’70s, when many of our mental institutions were closed, unfortunately, states didn’t pick up and provide the kind of community mental health care that’s really needed.

    And that has just snowballed over the decades. And now we’re in a situation where mentally ill people are encountering law enforcement and going into prisons and getting — ostensibly getting treatment there, but prisons really aren’t equipped to be providing the kind of mental health treatment that most people need.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, how do you fix that? What do you do about it?

    SALLY YATES: Well, there are a variety of things.

    With respect to mental health, one of the things that we’re doing there is, first of all, trying to train our law enforcement officers in how to identify signs of mental illness.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This is before these individuals are arrested or get in trouble in the first place?

    SALLY YATES: Before they’re even arrested, exactly, and to be able to divert them to mental health services, instead of necessarily going to prison.

    Then, even within our prisons, we’re providing funding and training and trying, when we do have folks that are actually in the prisons, to make sure that we are providing the kind of mental health treatment that they need. But, really, diversion is the key here, out of the prison system to begin with.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you have a sense of what proportion, what percentage of prisoners today have mental health problems or other emotional, however you want to describe it, issues?

    SALLY YATES: You know, there are varying estimates out there, and I think it’s really hard to know what the true figures are, because some prisons will only count those people that are so mentally ill that they are a danger to themselves or others while they’re in a prison setting.

    And that doesn’t really necessarily capture the full scope of mental health issues.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you feel you can make progress? You mentioned working with police, with corrections officers. How do you make progress in that arena? Again, you’re talking about individuals across the country in many different settings, local, state and federal.

    SALLY YATES: Well, one of the things that we have done is started training crisis response teams for local law enforcement agencies.

    And that’s a group of law enforcement officers within a police department that are trained to identify not only the signs of mental illness, but de-escalation strategies, so that when they encounter someone who is mentally ill, they can de-escalate the situation and take them to mental facilities.

    Now, we can’t train every single law enforcement officer, but we can have teams that are available in our law enforcement all over the country. So, when someone’s out there on the street and they encounter this individual, they can then call out for one of their crisis intervention teams.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We mentioned coming in today from the Hill a bipartisan senators announced this revised proposal, criminal reform proposal. What’s the administration’s take on that?

    SALLY YATES: We are so encouraged by this.

    I haven’t been in this town for very long, but one thing I have learned in the relatively short time that I have been here is, there is not much that has bipartisan support. And this has strong bipartisan support from both ends of the spectrum and in between.

    You know, the bill today now has 36 co-sponsors, split evenly with Democrats and Republicans. And I think that’s just a reflection of the recognition that the time has come for us to recalibrate our drug sentencing for lower-level nonviolent drug offenders.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, you know, as I know you know, Deputy Attorney General Yates, that there are conservatives in the Senate and elsewhere who are saying, if you make a mistake, if you let someone out early who shouldn’t have been let out early, they can go out and commit a violent crime, they may be susceptible to doing that.

    What’s the answer for people with that concern?

    SALLY YATES: And that’s why this legislation is really targeted at the nonviolent drug offenders.

    But, look, any legislation is compromise. There are some who would like this to go a lot farther. There are others who it goes too far. We have worked really hard with folks on the Hill to try to find the right balance here.

    Now, what we’re trying to do is to make sure that the punishment fits the crime and to ensure that we are protecting the public and public safety comes first, but that we’re not keeping people in prison for longer than necessary for public safety purposes, because that’s not fair either.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you assure — finally, how do you assure the American people that this is the right thing to do? Because there are still people who are wary of how they deal with, how they work alongside individuals who have done time.

    SALLY YATES: Right.

    Well, I can tell you, I’m a career prosecutor. I have been doing this for 27 years. And my focus in all of this is first on public safety, but also on ensuring the fairness of the criminal justice system. That’s absolutely essential for the public to have confidence in their criminal justice system.

    And when individuals have paid their debt to society, and they have come out into our communities, I think all of us, not just the Justice Department, but all of us have a responsibility to give them just a fair shot at being able to live the kind of lives we have.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general of the United States, thank you very much.

    SALLY YATES: My pleasure.

    The post An inside look at the Obama administration’s criminal justice reforms appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Protesters march to show their opposition against what they called 'Hate Bill 2,' which they urged lawmakers to repeal as legislators convened for a short session in Raleigh, North Carolina April 25, 2016. RREUTERS/Marti Maguire - RTX2BMD1

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But, first, there’s been no letup in the anger, battles and protests in North Carolina over its new LGBT bathroom law. The fallout is not just political, but increasingly financial, as the backlash among business and companies keeps growing.

    Special correspondent Roben Farzad filed this report from North Carolina for our weekly series Making Sense, which airs every Thursday.

    ROBEN FARZAD: High Point Market, the biannual furniture trade show, is the biggest in the world, with almost 12 million square feet of show space.

    MITCHELL GOLD, Co-Founder, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams: This is one of our most interesting and exciting new pieces. This is the Sophia collection with the Duke chairs.

    ROBEN FARZAD: Here, manufacturers like Mitchell Gold preview new products to retailers and designers, that is, if they show up. Weeks before market, the North Carolina legislature passed House Bill 2, directing people to use public bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate.

    It also excludes gay and transgender people from state anti-discrimination protections. In response, some customers boycotted High Point Market.

    MITCHELL GOLD: It’s not just that the attendance is down. It’s the buying power’s down. Williams-Sonoma, who owns Pottery Barn and West Elm, they’re not coming to market. And what I have asked people to do is, buycott, B-U-Y-C-O-T-T, us at the market, because we’re a company that doesn’t support this legislation.

    ROBEN FARZAD: The economic stakes at High Point are, well, high. According to Duke University’s Lukas Brun, the market generates over $5 billion a year making it North Carolina’s biggest money-maker.

    LUKAS BRUN, Duke University: And $600 million out of that is from visitor and tourism. And so take 10 percent off of the market, and then suddenly you lose $60 million.

    ROBEN FARZAD: Industry consultant Mike Moore had planned to be here four days, but cut his trip to just one night. He thinks even more firms will boycott the next market in the fall.

    MIKE MOORE, Consultant: This happened much too close to market. People couldn’t pull out. Most people, their goods for these exhibits were already here. They had already arrived and were ready to be set up into displays. They signed their contract six months ago. And they paid in full when they signed those contracts. There was no reaction time.

    ROBEN FARZAD: Still, signs of opposition to HB2 were on display. Moore, who’s based in Asheville, North Carolina, has opted to start a new firm out of state.

    MIKE MOORE: Our Series A funding is several million dollars, and that money could be here in North Carolina. And we made a decision it’s going to Florida. I don’t love Florida particularly.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MIKE MOORE: I mean, I sweat the whole time I’m there, but North Carolina as a whole is not a progressive state. And that’s why I unfortunately say it is the money that will make the difference.

    ROBEN FARZAD: Of course, the business backlash to HB2 goes beyond High Point. Almost 200 executives have called for a repeal. PayPal scrapped plans for a new operations center and 400 new jobs, while canceled conventions have cost the state some $8 million and counting.

    And then there are the shows that didn’t go on, from the Boss, to Cirque du Soleil, to Pearl Jam, and Ringo Starr.

    MAYOR HAROLD WEINBRECHT, Cary, North Carolina: I was very much a Beatles fan, and I was looking forward to seeing Ringo Starr.

    ROBEN FARZAD: But an even bigger blow to mayor Harold Weinbrecht of Cary, North Carolina, Deutsche Bank’s decision to freeze 250 new jobs at this software development center.

    HAROLD WEINBRECHT: We have rumors of other companies looking at not coming here, putting jobs on hold in the future, and that’s the biggest concern. Who’s in the pipeline that we don’t know about that had Cary and someone else in their minds, and now are giving second thought to that, well, maybe that’s not the best place for us?

    ROBEN FARZAD: State lawmakers passed HB2 to nullify a Charlotte ordinance permitting people to use public bathrooms based on their gender identity.

    Dan Forest is North Carolina’s lieutenant governor.

    LT. GOV. DAN FOREST (R), North Carolina: It would allow any man to go into any women’s restroom, girls’ locker room, women’s shower, girls’ shower facility, and be able to get away with it. We have seen that happen in Washington state that has a similar ordinance.

    MAN: If we’re not willing to stand now, 20 years from now, my kids aren’t going to be able to stand. They’re going to go to jail.

    ROBEN FARZAD: So, Forest and other backers insist HB2 must be upheld for safety’s sake, no matter what the cost.

    LT. GOV. DAN FOREST: The life and the protection of one woman, one child related to this is so important, you can’t put a price tag on it.

    ROBEN FARZAD: Besides, conservative lobbyist Tami Fitzgerald says almost 400 companies have signed a letter of support for HB2. But we could not find a firm to talk to us.

    TAMI FITZGERALD, Conservative Lobbyist: The press has intensely badgered these people. These businesses get bullied by the other side, and they get threatened, and they just don’t want to go through the hassle.

    ROBEN FARZAD: North Carolinians have mixed views on HB2; 38 percent support it in general, but more than half believe people should use the bathroom of their birth.

    BOB PAGE, Founder and CEO, Replacements Ltd.: This plays out very well in the rural areas of North Carolina.

    ROBEN FARZAD: Bob Page is the owner of Greensboro-based tableware retailer Replacements LTD. He’s long championed LGBT rights and has been vocal in his opposition to HB2. But his advocacy has driven some patrons away.

    BOB PAGE: We have had hundreds of customers who say they will no longer do business with us, one who voiced, you know, about his Christianity, and that he hoped that the cesspool of sin that San Francisco is, where our brethren gay and lesbians live, that he hopes that they will slide into the ocean after a catastrophic earthquake.

    And I thought, you know, those just don’t sound like very Christian views to me.

    ROBEN FARZAD: Page has a number of transgender employees who are directly affected by HB2; 24-year-old Ty Little hasn’t used the men’s room since she was 17.

    TY LITTLE, Replacements Ltd.: I remember, specifically I was at a bookstore, and I went in. And someone saw me go in and then mentioned to a manager, and they approached me about it, and told me not to do that in the future. And so I — it worries me a lot, for my safety.

    ROBEN FARZAD: Page hired 20-year-old college student Payton McGarry part-time after he was fired from another position.

    PAYTON MCGARRY, Replacements Ltd.: I have lost three jobs because I’m a transgender man.

    ROBEN FARZAD: McGarry has joined a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of HB2.

    Tell me how this law affects your day to day.

    PAYTON MCGARRY: I can walk into any business now and they can say, oh, we don’t serve trans people. Sorry.

    The last time I have used the women’s bathroom was in high school. And it got to a point where it was so bad, I was being verbally and physically harassed every time I went into a women’s restroom, that they had to give me permission to use faculty restrooms, so I could avoid assault by my female peers.

    ROBEN FARZAD: Both critics and defenders of HB2 rallied in Raleigh when the legislature reconvened this week; 54 protesters were arrested. But the law still stands and the financial fallout continues.

    Back in High Point, organizers say it will be at least a week before attendance numbers are in and the effect of HB2 can be assessed.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is Roben Farzad reporting from North Carolina.

    The post How North Carolina’s bathroom law sparked a business backlash appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz addresses a campaign rally where he announced Carly Fiorina as his running mate in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTX2BYJL

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: An unlikely character took center stage on the campaign trial today. Former speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner inserted himself into the conversation.

    The “NewsHour”‘s John Yang reports.

    JOHN YANG: For Ted Cruz, it’s all about Indiana’s Republican primary next Tuesday, and trying to stop Donald Trump.

    His challenge today, though, came from former House Speaker John Boehner. In Congress, the two repeatedly butted heads over government shutdowns and other issues. The Stanford University student newspaper reports Boehner used unvarnished language about Cruz during a campus appearance.

    MAN: What about Ted Cruz?

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), Former Speaker of the House: Lucifer in the flesh. In Washington, I have as many Democrat friends as I have Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: He allowed his inner Trump to come out.

    JOHN YANG: Cruz fired back, casting Boehner and Trump as creatures of the Washington politics he’s been railing against.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: John Boehner in his remarks described Donald Trump as his texting and golfing buddy. So, if you want someone that’s a texting and golfing buddy, if you’re happy with John Boehner as speaker of the House, and you want a president like John Boehner, Donald Trump is your man.

    JOHN YANG: Trump was in Indiana, hoping the Hoosier State will get him even closer to the Republican nomination.

    DONALD TRUMP: We don’t have a long way if I can win in Indiana. If I win, it’s over. So, it’s over.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    DONALD TRUMP: If we win in Indiana, it’s over.

    JOHN YANG: Trump got endorsements today from two House committee chairmen, Florida’s Jeff Miller of the Veterans Affairs committee, and Pennsylvania’s Bill Shuster of the Transportation panel.

    But the front-runner took heat for his foreign policy address yesterday. In a phone interview with “The Today Show,” he was asked about criticism that his plan to fight the Islamic State is light on details.

    DONALD TRUMP: One of the big tenets of my speech yesterday was the fact that I said, and very, very strongly, that we need unpredictability. We need to be somewhat unpredictable.

    JOHN YANG: As for the Democrats, Bernie Sanders was in Oregon, which doesn’t vote until mid-May, and Hillary Clinton was off the trail.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: After big wins on Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have commanding leads in their fight for the presidential nominations.

    To make sense of the delegate numbers and how they shape the road ahead, we are joined by Domenico Montanaro, political editor for NPR.

    And, Domenico, Welcome.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO, NPR: Thank you, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, let’s start with the Democrats.

    Where right now do Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders stand when it comes to delegates?

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well, Hillary Clinton is pretty far ahead after the sweep in four of the five contests on Tuesday and after her big win in New York.

    You have got Hillary Clinton with 2,165 delegates, as you can see on the screen, to Bernie Sanders 1,357. She is — to put that in context, she is 91 percent of the way there to the total, to that magic number of 2,383 that she needs.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And you were telling me, compare that to where Barack Obama was, then candidate Barack Obama, in 2008 at this point.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yes. There has been a lot of talk of how close this race this, and certainly Bernie Sanders’ message has broken through. He makes a very clear and understandable message. Hillary Clinton has had to use some of that message.

    But when you look at the numbers, Hillary Clinton is up to 333 pledged delegate lead. This is just pledged delegates. Take out all those superdelegates, which Sanders supporters hate when we talk about those, because they feel like they can vote any way they want.

    But when you look at this number here, 333, Barack Obama never had a lead that was higher than 114. He wound up with a 69-pledged delegate lead. Hillary Clinton’s lead right now with 333 in pledged delegates is actually almost 100 points higher than where Barack Obama finished with pledged delegates and superdelegates combined.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, there are, what, 14 contests to go for the Democrats, 10 states, four territories, including the District of Columbia. How do you see this playing out between now and the end of this?

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well, here’s the thing.

    Hillary Clinton, at this point, barring something extraordinary, is going to be the Democratic nominee. Because she’s 91 percent of the way there, she could lose every remaining contest by 20 points or more and still win the majority of pledged delegates. It makes it very difficult.

    When you factor in superdelegates, it’s over 80 percent, so very difficult for Bernie Sanders to do, barring something extraordinary. Now, when you look at the final contests, she still has not gotten to 2,383. She is going to have to do that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: There is the possibility that she could do it as early as May 17, when Oregon and Kentucky go, but that would mean that she would need another 120 or so superdelegates to come out in favor of her.

    There are 159 that are uncommitted at that point, 158, thereabouts. More likely, she is going to do it on June 7, when California votes, and that huge cache of votes they have, 475 pledged, 548 total.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, well, let’s switch over now to the Republicans, because that’s where it gets interesting in some of these states coming up.

    Where does it stand right now in terms of Donald Trump and his competition?

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well, you can see Donald Trump has 992 delegates, just updated today with some more delegates that came out of Pennsylvania, almost at 1,000 delegates.

    He needs 1,237 for his magic number. He’s over 80 percent of the way there. He’s really cleaned up over the last couple of weeks, since New York, over 200 delegates for him, just nine for John Kasich, only three for Ted Cruz.

    Really kind of amazing. Ted Cruz and John Kasich, for all the talk of how close this race has been, they are both mathematically eliminated, eliminated from winning a majority of delegates on the first ballot at the convention.

    Who would have thought a year-and-a-half ago, we would be sitting here saying that the only Republican who has a chance of being the nominee on the first ballot at Cleveland at the national convention will be Donald Trump?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Their hopes lie on a second ballot, if it were to come to that, and beyond.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: That’s right.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, let’s look at their path going ahead, 10 states to come for the Republicans. What does it look like for delegates there?

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yes.

    Look, and the whole game here is whether or not Donald Trump can get to 1,237. And when you look at some of these states, big ones coming up, Indiana, this is why it’s so important, 57 delegates coming up on Tuesday, and this is why that John Kasich/Ted Cruz alliance that sort of blew up within hours of itself is so important, to see whether or not they can keep Donald Trump below that 57 delegates, or, you know, be able to win, you know, half the delegates or so, because if Trump wins 57, then he only needs 40-something percent, 42 percent of all remaining delegates.

    He gets all 57 in Indiana, he’s at 36 percent of all remaining delegates, and everyone is just going to be saying it’s a matter of time. Now, of course, he still won’t be at 1,237. And he is going to, depending…

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: He could lose some of these other states coming up in May.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: He could lose some of these other states.

    When you look at places like Nebraska that is coming up, Ted Cruz should factor in and do pretty well there, but it is all going to be about, how close does Donald Trump get to 1,237? If he’s at 1,200, he’s at 1,150, it is going to be difficult for the delegates at the national convention to say they’re not going to give it to Donald Trump.

    I mean, two-thirds of Republicans nationally are saying that the nomination should go to whoever has the most votes.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It is incredibly fascinating.

    Domenico Montanaro, and you will be with us at the convention.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: I will. Looking forward to it.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you.

    DOMENICO MONTANARO: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now let’s drill down into that Indiana primary next Tuesday, even more important, given the dance for delegates which we just heard about.

    Brandon Smith of Indiana Public Broadcasting joins me from Indianapolis.

    Brandon Smith, welcome.

    So, we know the Indiana primary is important. Let’s start with the Republicans. What does this race look like now between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich?

    BRANDON SMITH, Indiana Public Broadcasting: I think the conventional wisdom around here was that this was a state that Ted Cruz would do very well in, but there haven’t been a ton of polls done yet, but of the few polls we have seen, Donald Trump consistently has a lead in all of them.

    The amount of the lead varies a little bit, but it’s been between about 4 percent and 8 percent in every poll we have seen.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what is driving the voters? Do you get a sense of what they’re interested in, why is Trump doing well?

    BRANDON SMITH: Primarily, it’s economic issues here in Indiana.

    We have seen the state’s unemployment rate drop significantly over the last few years, but wages really haven’t followed with that. It’s a heavy, intensive manufacturing state, one of the most manufacturing-intensive in the country.

    And, certainly, Donald Trump — when the news that Carrier was leaving Indiana, cutting 1,400 jobs, Donald Trump was out in front of that almost immediately, and that, I think, has resonated with voters here.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: This is big air conditioning manufacturing company.

    What about this pact or alliance, if you will, between Ted Cruz and John Kasich, wherein Cruz agreed to let Kasich have Oregon and New Mexico and John Kasich agreed to step aside in Indiana? How is that playing out? How are voters responding to it?

    BRANDON SMITH: Well, it’s playing out.

    We have seen Ted Cruz a lot in this state. He has blanketed Indiana really over the last several days, certainly even before that news came out and certainly afterwards.

    In terms of the voters, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag. I have talked to some Kasich supporters who say they’re now all in for Cruz, that anything to stop Donald Trump is what they’re after. But there have been some Kasich supporters who have said, I don’t like how this is going down, and they — they’re turning their votes to Donald Trump, because it plays into what Trump has been saying, that the whole system is crooked and rigged.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Kasich supporters not flocking, necessarily, to Ted Cruz.

    BRANDON SMITH: No.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, by the way, you still have John Kasich in the state, what, raising money. And it’s not that he’s disappeared from Indiana.

    BRANDON SMITH: Not quite.

    He was scheduled for two public events and a fund-raiser this past Tuesday. He canceled both public events, but he did come for the fund-raiser.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What about the Bobby Knight endorsement, that famous basketball coach, endorsement for Donald Trump? What difference is that making?

    BRANDON SMITH: Well, there certainly aren’t many bigger names in Indiana than Bobby Knight, but I’m not sure how much it’s actually going to play into the race.

    First of all, Trump already has the lead, but it was seen as more of a quirk, I think, than necessarily something that’s really going to drive voters to change their minds.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, let’s talk about the Democrats now.

    Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, I guess the polls are a little bit closer between them?

    BRANDON SMITH: The polls are just a little bit closer. Hillary has had the lead, but it’s been more in the two-, three-, or four-point range.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what’s driving that race?

    BRANDON SMITH: The same sort of issues, economics, manufacturing. We — Hillary hasn’t spent a lot of time in the state, really only one day, this past Tuesday.

    But when she was here, she spent her time in Northern Indiana visiting two different factories up there, a steel company and a vehicle manufacturer. So you can tell that’s where she’s focused and that’s where a lot of voters are focused.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about Bernie Sanders? What have you seen of him, what kind of crowds, what kind of interest in his candidacy?

    BRANDON SMITH: Well, certainly a lot of interest. He has visited two biggest university campuses so far, the two biggest in the state, Purdue and Indiana University, mostly young people at those crowds, huge crowds certainly. And he was getting them fired up, as fired up as any crowd you will see outside of a Donald Trump event.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Brandon Smith, what about in terms of organization, money? Who has got the state, would you say, better wired for their campaign?

    BRANDON SMITH: That’s tough to say. Certainly, in terms of money, the Cruz campaign has spent the most on the Republican side and Hillary ha spent the most on the Democratic side.

    And if you look at organization, maybe Hillary has been the best. But in terms of statewide organization, Donald Trump has been fairly good, which we haven’t always seen in a lot of other states. But in terms of working with the press at least, they have probably the best.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Indiana is not a state that’s used to getting a lot of attention in the primary period. How much interest is there in these primaries?

    BRANDON SMITH: There’s been a ton.

    As you just said, this is just something that Indiana isn’t used to. We had it in 2008 on the Democratic side. It’s been a lot longer than that that we have had it on the Republican side. And we don’t even know when the last time both parties were competitive in the state in the same time.

    So, you have seen it in the crowds. You feel it in the crowds, that they’re just so excited to see any presidential candidate actually spending time in Indiana.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re sure all going to be watching on Tuesday night.

    Brandon Smith with Indiana Public Broadcasting, we thank you.

    BRANDON SMITH: Thank you.

    The post Both parties bring delegate fight to Indiana primary appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Children walk near garbage in al-Jazmati neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail - RTX2B9AM

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: We return to the bombing of the hospital in the Syrian town of Aleppo. According to reports, 27 people were killed.

    With me now is Pablo Marco, Middle East operations manager for Doctors Without Borders, which supports the facility.

    Pablo, you have probably been in touch with your colleagues on the ground there. What’s the latest they’re telling you?

    PABLO MARCO, Doctors Without Borders: Yes.

    So, we are speaking with the head of the hospital just a couple of hours ago to go the last — and he was telling us how all these events unfolded. He explained to us that, 10:00 p.m. yesterday, two barrel bombs fell close to the hospital.

    Then a lot of wounded people were driven to the hospital. Directors were waiting at the gate of the hospitals to know about the news about the families. And it was at that moment that the third barrel bomb fell at the entrance of the hospital in the emergency room, provoking this massive killing of people.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It was actually staged so that the people would rush to the hospital, there would be more people there for that secondary attack?

    PABLO MARCO: So, we cannot ascertain it, but all elements show this, that this attack was, as you say, staged to provoke the maximum number of citizens killed.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, tell me what kind of impact it means to not have this facility in this corner of the city.

    PABLO MARCO: Well, there are already very few facilities working in Aleppo.

    We need to know around 95 percent of the doctors in Aleppo have either fled or they have been killed by bombings already. So, every single facility that is destroyed or every single doctor that is killed has a massive impact.

    This hospital was a reference hospital for pediatrics and, in addition, one of the key hospitals for internal medicine, especially for the (INAUDIBLE) so very, very high impact, for sure.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, how many people, roughly, are treated in this facility, and how long are the wait lines, so to speak? There’s probably not that many options for people in that area.

    PABLO MARCO: Yes, exactly, exactly.

    We were talking with the director. He was telling us that all the wounded have been taken to the hospitals, but, of course, they are absolutely overwhelmed, as you can imagine.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And what does it mean for this hospital to be supported by Doctors Without Borders? What’s your involvement there?

    PABLO MARCO: Yes.

    So, we have been working with them for at least now three years. We have been in Aleppo. We were going to the hospital every other week, providing support in terms of technical advice (INAUDIBLE) medical equipment.

    In the last year, the hospital was attacked twice also with barrel bombings. And at that time, also, after the request for support, we provided new equipment to restart the hospital. And even until this week, we were having direct conversations and about donations.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, what happens now? Are you sending in more doctors into this hospital, into this area?

    PABLO MARCO: So, we will keep supporting these hospitals, if we are able to make it happen, to make it work again. It’s not very clear.

    And we will keep supporting many other hospitals in Aleppo city. At the same time, something important we need to know is that we think it is really important that there is an independent investigation to clarify who has been responsible for this attack. And if this attack has been delivered, some elements can point out.

    We will — there will be a (INAUDIBLE) for the resolution in the city council in the next days regarding the protection of hospitals. And this terrible event shows us that this resolution is more important now in the city than ever.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Are there any other aid agencies that are going to come in and try to fill that gap? Who else supports this hospital? What happens to all those people in that region who no longer have access to any facilities?

    PABLO MARCO: There’s not much more that anyone can do until the attacks on the hospital are finished.

    We need to understand that anyone is really afraid to go to Aleppo now. Doctors, medical staff, they are a target in this war. Hundreds of them have been killed. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to replace those having been killed in this attack yesterday.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Do you see this as a pattern now to target medical facilities? It’s not just in Syria, but in other parts of the world, too.

    PABLO MARCO: Yes, yes.

    We are seeing it happening. You were talking just a few minutes ago about the attack in Afghanistan. We have had several attacks in Yemen also in the last month. Especially the most worrying in the situation in Syria, where there have been tens, if not hundreds of attacks against medical facilities. And this trend is even worsening in the last, say, six months.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: There was that other story in the news today.

    Does your organization have any sort of a response yet to the U.S. government deciding to discipline 16 members of the U.S. military in that tragedy that affected the hospital in Kunduz last year, the Doctors Without Borders hospital?

    PABLO MARCO: Yes. Yes.

    So, what I will say is that, since this terrible event happened, we’re having — asking the U.S. government and to other actors that we think really that we need an independent investigation to clarify what has happened in this attack.

    The U.S. government has carried out their own investigation, but, of course, it hasn’t been independent. And we keep asking for this investigation to happen.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Pablo Marco of Doctors Without Borders, thanks so much for joining us tonight.

    PABLO MARCO: Thank you to you. Bye-bye.

    The post Hospitals and doctors under attack in Aleppo ‘difficult to replace’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Army General John Campbell, the commander of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, speaks beside a Kunduz city map during a news conference at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 25, 2015. The U.S. investigation into a deadly Oct. 3 strike on a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz concluded it was a tragic accident caused primarily by human error, Campbell said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Massoud Hossaini/Pool - RTX1VT9Y

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And I’m Hari Sreenivasan.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On the “NewsHour” tonight: In Syria’s rebel-held city of Aleppo, at least 27 are dead after an airstrike that hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital, further threatening a fragile cease-fire.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Also ahead this Thursday: As the presidential primaries enter the final stretch, we look at the race for delegates and preview next week’s primary in Indiana.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And backlash in North Carolina — how the new state law requiring people to use bathrooms of their birth gender has set off a business boycott.

    MIKE MOORE, Industry Consultant: Our Series A funding is several million dollars, and that money could be here in North Carolina. And we made a decision it’s going to Florida.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”

    (BREAK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: There’s word that 16 U.S. military personnel, including a general, have been disciplined over the mistaken bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan. The facility in the city of Kunduz was also run by Doctors Without Borders. The airstrike last year left 42 people dead.

    U.S. officials say the service members received administrative punishments, but will not face criminal charges. A full Pentagon report is expected tomorrow.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Vice President Biden made an unannounced visit to Iraq today, hoping to resolve a political crisis. He touched down in Baghdad on a mission to urge Iraqi leaders to set aside their differences, and focus on fighting Islamic State militants. The country’s government has been paralyzed for weeks over corruption and demands for sweeping reforms.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: North Korea has failed again in a bid to launch intermediate-range missiles. South Korean officials reported two attempts today. A similar launch earlier this month also failed. The weapons were fired from near Wonsan, and have the range to reach U.S. bases in Asia and the Pacific.

    A United Nations spokesman called today for the launches to stop. And Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country will not permit war or chaos on the Korean Peninsula.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: President Xi’s government is moving to crack down on foreign nongovernmental organizations with operations inside China. A law adopted today says they must never endanger Chinese unity, and will now be closely monitored by police. It also bans them from recruiting or fund-raising.

    Chinese officials defended the restrictions at a news conference in Beijing.

    HAO YUNHONG, Director of Foreign NGO Management (through interpreter): There are a minority of foreign NGOs, that through the means of funds and some methods, will manage to harm China’s national security interests and some other illegal criminal activity. In this way, strengthening control including handling this illegal contact, is something that we should also do.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: U.S. and European officials have criticized the law as the latest move in a growing crackdown by the ruling Communist Party.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Volkswagen has announced it’s setting aside nearly $9 billion to buy back or repair diesel-powered vehicles that cheated on emissions tests. Part of the money would cover a buy-back deal for diesel owners in the U.S. It could affect up to 500,000 cars and trucks.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: A rout in tech stocks carried away Wall Street today. It began earlier this week when Apple reported its first revenue decline in 13 years. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 210 points to close at 17830. The Nasdaq fell nearly 58 points, and the S&P 500 gave up 19.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In Australia, new statistics show that strict gun control measures have led to a major decline in gun murders. There were 35 in 2014. That was down nearly two-thirds from 1996, even though the population rose sharply during that period. Australia tightened its laws after a mass shooting 20 years ago today that left 35 dead in Tasmania.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And in Utah’s Arches National Park, the face of one of America’s national treasures has been vandalized, maybe permanently. The etchings span five to six feet across a famous red rock arch, and may be too deeply cut to remove.

    The park’s superintendent says graffiti and other vandalism is a growing problem.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the rising toll, as leaders seek a peace deal in Syria; calculating the delegate math ahead of the last 10 presidential primaries; an economic backlash against North Carolina’s LGBT bathroom law; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: U.S. soldiers disciplined for accidental Afghan hospital bombing appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A front loader operates at a site hit by airstrikes in the rebel held area of al-Sukari district of Aleppo, Syria, April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail  - RTX2C1IB

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Death rained down on Syria’s largest city today. At least 60 people were killed, nearly half of them at a hospital. It was the starkest evidence yet that a two-month-old truce is now history.

    Chaos in the darkness of Aleppo. An airstrike smashed this hospital supported by the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders in a rebel-held section of the city, among the dead, one of the region’s last remaining pediatricians.

    SAM TAYLOR, Doctors Without Borders: This was a place for women to go and give birth. This was a place for children to go and get specialist treatment. It’s now a pile of rubble.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: After sunrise, more strikes hit a residential neighborhood, and rescue workers scrambled to pull a young girl free.

    MAN (through interpreter): Here is a residential area. They are striking at residents. They are no terrorists here.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: At the same time, Syrian state media reported at least 1,000 mortar rounds and rockets were fired into government-held areas of Aleppo. The attacks punctuate the collapse of a cease-fire in the country’s largest city.

    The truce is also hanging by a thread in Homs, where an aid convoy was hit this week. For its part, Russia denied its warplanes carried out the hospital bombing in Aleppo. Instead, in Washington, a State Department spokesman said all signs point to the Syrian military.

    JOHN KIRBY, State Department Spokesman: The indications that we have now — and, again, this just happened — are that these were — that these strikes were conducted by the regime.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And in a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Russia use its influence on President Bashar al-Assad to stop the attacks.

    The main Syrian opposition group joined in, from Turkey, blaming Moscow and Damascus for the resumption of fighting.

    ANAS AL-ABDEH, President, Syrian National Coalition: The regime, along with the Russians, are burying the cessation of hostilities by committing crimes and massacres across Syria.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And the U.N.’s special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, emerged in Geneva to say the cease-fire is still alive, but barely. He urged the United States and Russia to salvage the truce and bring the warring parties back to the table.

    STAFFAN DE MISTURA, Special Envoy for Syria, United Nations: The Russian Federation and the U.S., as you remember, had a very strong initiative which produced basically a miracle, and that produced the feeling of hope, unexpected hope. We need to be urgently revitalized.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: There was also a dire warning from the head of the U.N.’s humanitarian task force. He spoke of catastrophic deterioration in Aleppo.

    JAN EGELAND, Chairman, UN Humanitarian Task Force in Syria: The lifeline to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people that have had hopes that things would really get better now, that lifeline may be broken.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Adding to the warning, the International Red Cross reported stocks of food and medicine in Aleppo will run out soon, and the resurgence of fighting makes it impossible to bring in more.

    We will hear from Doctors Without Borders after the news summary.

    The post After attack on Aleppo hospital, Syria cease-fire ‘alive, but barely’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    About 1,300 pounds of bronze Roman coins dating to the third and fourth centuries were discovered by construction workers digging ditches in Spain. Photo courtesy of the Archeological Museum of Seville

    About 1,300 pounds of bronze Roman coins dating to the third and fourth centuries were discovered by construction workers digging ditches in Spain. Photo courtesy of the Archeological Museum of Seville

    Construction workers this week unearthed a horde of bronze Roman coins hidden in jugs in Tomares, Spain.

    The workers discovered 19 pottery jugs while digging ditches at Zaudin Park. The urns were filled with coins showing an emperor on one side and various depictions of Roman stories on the back, reported the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

    The coins, weighing more than 1,300 pounds, date back to the third or fourth century, according to the Archaeological Museum of Seville, where the treasure was brought.

    Ana Navarro Ortega, who heads the museum, said that 10 of the jugs broke during the dig.

    “I can assure you that the jugs cannot be lifted by one person because of their weight and the quantity of the coins inside,” she said. “So now what we have to do is begin to understand the historical and archaeological context of this discovery.”

    The treasure trove of coins was hidden in 19 pottery jugs. Photo courtesy of the Archeological Museum of Seville

    The treasure trove of coins was hidden in 19 pottery jugs. Photo courtesy of the Archeological Museum of Seville

    Why so many coins would be hidden in jugs raises interesting questions for archaeologists and historians.

    Investigators floated the hypothesis that the money was set aside to pay imperial taxes or army levies, reported El Pais. The jugs appeared deliberately concealed underground, covered by a few bricks and ceramic filler, according to the Andalusian department of culture.

    Richard Weigel, a professor of ancient Greece and Rome at Western Kentucky University, told the PBS NewsHour that the coins likely were buried during an era of “great discord in the Roman empire.”

    The central authority in Rome broke down in the middle of the third century, he said. Germanic tribes invaded the country from time to time, in addition to other challengers to the various emperors.

    The part of southern Spain where the coins were discovered would have been a considered a distant land to emperors before it became a normal part of Roman Empire, said Weigel.

    “The suggestion that they were collected to pay taxes to the Roman Empire is, of course, possible,” he said. “But I suspect that they could have been stored to pay one of the Roman legions in the area and to hide the money from invaders in the region.”

    Once the emperors on the coins are identified, he continued, it should be easier to date the coins and put them in the context of military activities and invasions.

    The post Construction workers stumble upon buried treasure in Spain appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    On Thursday, Wendy Thomas Russell joined a growing chorus of voices calling for parents to stop punishing their children — particularly through the employment of timeouts. Today, her advice on what to do instead. Photo by Getty Images

    On Thursday, Wendy Thomas Russell joined a growing chorus of voices calling for parents to stop punishing their children — particularly through the employment of timeouts. Today, her advice on what to do instead. Photo by Getty Images

    It’s been almost six years since my husband and I went cold-turkey on punishments.

    One day we were trying to steer our daughter’s behavior by imposing timeouts and taking toys away and limiting TV time whenever she went astray. And the next, we weren’t.

    READ MORE: Why you should never use timeouts on your kids

    Did she start running roughshod over our house, our feelings and our rules? She did not. Did we discipline her? Absolutely. But our tool of choice was our words — and still is. Today, when problems arise, we talk things through. We have family meetings. We negotiate (a lot) and compromise (a lot). Sometimes we argue. Sometimes she wins.

    Disciplining our kids is the rent we pay for the privilege of being loved by a child; it’s vital.
    It’s not always smooth-sailing. My husband and I make lots of mistakes, and I have endless empathy for other parents trying their hardest to raise their kids right. It isn’t easy for any of us. On the best of days, it isn’t easy. But I can report to you that while my daughter has all the markers of a 10-year-old (for better or worse!), she also has more self-esteem than I know what to do with. She is resilient, well-adjusted, kind, compassionate and happy. And she is the most honest person I’ve ever met.

    On Thursday, I joined a growing chorus of voices calling for parents to stop punishing their children — particularly through the employment of timeouts. Today I’m going to tell you what to do instead.

    First, let me reiterate that punishment is not the same as discipline.

    Discipline is setting limits and teaching those limits to your child. For example:

    • “You have to keep the safety vest on in case you fall in the water.”
    • “No, you can’t draw on the walls. That ruins the walls.”
    • “It’s time to do your chores. We all help out around the house.”

    Punishment is enforcing discipline by inflicting physical or emotional pain — often by withholding or seizing something of value.

    • “If you don’t keep your safety vest on, we’re going home.”
    • “You drew on the walls again — timeout!”
    • “If you don’t do your chores, you can’t go to the birthday party.”

    Disciplining our kids is the rent we pay for the privilege of being loved by a child; it’s vital. The trick is to stay in the realm of empathetic discipline without crossing over into the land of painful punishment. Here are just 12 of many, many ways to manage discipline without punishment.

    1. Set your boundaries within reason. There are things that you will not — cannot! should not! — allow your child to do. Just be sure your boundaries are fair and achievable. Saying “You can’t scream because it’s disruptive and hurts people’s ears” is reasonable. Saying ”I’m not willing to be disrespected” or “I’m not willing to have you embarrass me” is ridiculous. These are kids; they will disrespect and embarrass you at times. Don’t set set them up for failure.
    2. Prevention, prevention, prevention. You know your kid, so use that knowledge to your advantage. Your kid always begs for toys in the grocery store. So before you leave the car, explain that this is not a toy day, then stay in the car until she agrees to no toys. Or role play scenarios in which you say “No, you can’t have that toy” and your daughter says, “Okay!” and you say, “Great job! I loved the way you said ‘okay’ and didn’t get upset.” Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
    3. Know what’s developmentally appropriate. There are things your kid is doing because it’s developmentally necessary; he literally can’t help it. In these cases, no amount of lecturing is going to stop it. So calmly remind your child of the rule and let it go. Parenting is hard enough without going to battle with Mother Nature.
    4. Let them cry. So often we parents are triggered by our kids’ emotions. I know I am. It’s hard when they are full of rage and taking it out on us. But children can’t just turn off their emotions; they need to be allowed to “feel their feels.” Wait it out. Help them take deep breaths and calm their bodies. Don’t lecture. Ride it out. You can talk later.
    5. Name that emotion — and empathize. This one comes courtesy of Tracy Cutchlow, author of “Zero to Five.” “Naming what our kid wants, thinks, says or feels — without judgment — is the most powerful step in positive parenting,” she says. “‘You want ice cream. You want ice cream right now. You want vanilla with sprinkles! And I said we must eat dinner instead. That is making you feel really sad. Aww, sweetie. It feels soooo disappointing.’ We have to see our role as helping our kids have their emotions.”
    6. Stay with them. When you walk away or ignore children, you withhold your love. (Experts call this emotional detachment.) You send the message they are bad and don’t deserve you. But they aren’t “bad” — they have just made a mistake or reacted unwisely or acted out. (We parents do it all the time.) And, frankly, those are the times they need connection most of all.
    7. Be a Jedi. The worst thing you can do when your kid loses her shit is to lose yours, too. If your daughter gets angry — even if it’s hittin’, spittin’ angry (the worst kind!) — try to stay calm. If you are angry and can’t keep your cool, parenting instructor Linda Hatfield suggests “putting yourself on pause.” If you need to leave the room for a bit, that’s fine; self-imposed timeouts are A-okay. Just make sure you tell the kid, “I need a minute by myself, but I’ll be right back and we can talk.” We all have a Dark Side; that doesn’t mean we need to give in to it.
    8. Discover what is really going on. As Hatfield says, all behavior is communication. So what is your child trying to communicate? Is he tired? Hungry? Lonely? Bored? Jealous? Overstimulated? Disappointed? Hopped up on sugar? Only by helping to identify the underlying problem can you help your child to fix it. You can ask: “How could you/I/we do that better in the future?”
    9. Be willing to change your mind. When your child disagrees with a limit you’ve set, talk about it. Consider why you have set that limit and whether it’s necessary. Even if your child is not expressing herself appropriately — spoiler alert: she probably won’t — be willing to change your mind. She may be dead-on right.
    10. Let there be consequences. But try to let them be natural consequences, in which a child suffers the consequences of her own actions without intervention on your part. The child won’t put on his coat = the child gets chilly. Unless safety is an issue (which it will be if it’s 60 degrees below zero outside) or it’s something that the child doesn’t have the forethought to care about now (bad grades), it’s perfectly appropriate to use natural consequences as a mode of discipline.
    11. Hold family meetings. Schedule weekly family meetings where you can talk about what’s going right and what’s going wrong. Air grievances and celebrate victories. Reach agreements about rules. Getting buy-in from kids up front is key. Then, when it’s time to affirm a rule, you can say, “Remember, this was your rule, too. We all agreed on this.” Also, instead of escalating an already-stressful situation, you can say, “I’m putting this on the list for our family meeting.” It’s a great way to table the discussion, cool off and get perspective.
    12. Be prepared to do it all over again tomorrow. Laying down a rule one time won’t cement the thing in your kid’s head. She may flat-out forget the rule; or she may be testing that boundary a little to see how serious you are about it. Both are totally normal! So don’t be surprised when you have to repeat a rule several times before it sticks.

    One of the best things about freeing my daughter from punishment is that it provides endless opportunities to teach her skills she’ll need as adult. She is learning to talk through problems, listen to others’ points of view, speak out against injustice, negotiate for what she wants and find solutions. She is learning that her worth as a person is not dependent on whether she makes mistakes and that it’s okay to show emotion. Best of all, she is learning that her parents love her unconditionally and will never turn their backs on her — even when she’s at her worst.

    Especially when she’s at her worst.

    The post Column: 12 alternatives to timeouts when kids are at their worst appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Justin Reid, Moton Museum's Associate Director for Museum Operations, describes the events that led to the 1951 student walkout and strike. Photo courtesy by Jeff Feinstein

    Justin Reid, Moton Museum’s director of education and public programs, describes the events that led to the 1951 student walkout and strike. Photo courtesy by Jeff Feinstein

    Editor’s Note: The location of what is considered “the student birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement” may surprise some people. Robert Russa Moton Museum, or just Moton, is located in a small town in southern Virginia. Moton recently commemorated the 65th anniversary of the 1951 Moton Student Strike. A few years after the strike, Moton High provided three-fourths of the plaintiffs in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation case.

    Jeff Feinstein, a U.S. history teacher at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Virginia, took his students to Moton to introduce them to a civil rights event even adults have forgotten about or perhaps have never heard of.


    teacherslounge

    Is equality still a core American value? That’s the question I posed to my U.S. History students on a field trip last week before entering Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia.

    Moton High was an unremarkable example of the system of racially segregated schools that developed after the Civil War. It was the county’s school for African American students. The school was in Farmville, Virginia, a three-hour drive from where I teach in northern Virginia.

    Students at schools like Moton were subjected to an appalling level of deprivation because white school leaders there assumed that Moton graduates would go no further than becoming sharecroppers or maids. Moton, for example, was built to accommodate 180 students but grew to more than 400. It had no gym, cafeteria or athletic field. The roof leaked. Its students shared one microscope and one bathroom. To accommodate the overcrowding, the school district built tar-paper shacks that had no plumbing and were heated with wooden stoves.

    But something unthinkable happened at Moton. Before Rosa Parks refused to move her seat, before Dr. King articulated his dream, and before John Lewis led a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, 16-year-old junior Barbara Rose Johns on April 23, 1951 led her classmates on a walkout and strike to protest those conditions.

    Students from West Potomac High School  visit the school where 16-year-old Barbara Rose Johns led her classmates at Moton High on a two-week strike for better schools. Farmville, Va. Photo courtesy of Jeff Feinstein

    Students from West Potomac High School visit the school where 16-year-old Barbara Rose Johns led her classmates at Moton High on a two-week strike for better schools. Photo courtesy of Jeff Feinstein

    Rose then interested NAACP lawyers in their plight, and her case was later joined with four other cases in the Supreme Court. Collectively the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision was named for one of the other cases, so history calls the case that declared the practice of racially segregated schools unconstitutional Brown v. Board of Education. Thus the Moton student walkout was pushed off the history pages.

    “Has America lived up to its founding principles? That’s the question posed by our Moton visit.” — Teacher Jeff Feinstein
    My students are using this history to consider broader contemporary questions about race relations posed by the Moton walkout. For example, are the racially-charged incidents that helped launch and fuel the Black Lives Matter movement accidental aberrations or expression of an underlying hostility to Jefferson’s “self-evident” truths? Do the prejudices that informed the racial attitudes of southern school officials in the 1950s equate with modern charges of racism leveled against police departments in cities like Ferguson and Chicago today?

    This year my teaching colleagues and I decided to take our students to the Moton Museum. Frankly, our students didn’t know what to expect when we arrived there, just one day before the 65th anniversary of the walkout. The American and Virginia flags were flying outside the building, and the first thing we did was to have a student lead us in reciting the pledge of allegiance. What was missing from that pledge, I asked? When students answered “equality,” I told them that what happened in the building behind them helped put equality into public education.

    Our tour started with a short video telling the story of the 1951 student strike. We watched it in the actual auditorium where the strike had been launched. Clearly moved, our students applauded spontaneously when the movie ended.

    Charles Taylor describes the Jim Crow conditions he grew up with as a Farmville resident and Moton student. Photo courtesy of Jeff Feinstein

    Charles Taylor describes the Jim Crow conditions he grew up with as a Farmville resident and Moton student. Photo courtesy of Jeff Feinstein

    Later, an elderly former resident of that county (a man too young for the strike but who still grew up in the segregated South) spoke of the oppressions of segregation and the racial code African-Americans were expected to follow, under threat of “the [lynching] tree.” Our students lined up to shake his hand after his talk; many offered him a hug. When I talked to him after the students had left he had tears streaming down one side of his face.

    One student told me he thought that the trip was so important that it should be required. Another student didn’t want to leave, and wrote that the Moton visit “opened my eyes. [Barbara Johns] was just our age when she fought for something she believed in.” Another wrote that “I live in my middle class home with college educated parents, while people of my grandfather’s generation would be told that they should be taught in places that looked suitable for farm animals. The importance of this landmark is completely unbelievable.”

    Has America lived up to its founding principles? That’s the question posed by our Moton visit. Based on the student reaction, this was the most impactful lesson we taught all year. And yes, we have already started making plans for a return visit next year.

    The post Column: This little known site is the birthplace of the student civil rights movement appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 6, 2016. Photo by Alvin Baez /Reuters

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 6. Photo by Alvin Baez /Reuters

    The United States has reported its first Zika-related death in Puerto Rico. The announcement from Puerto Rico’s Health Secretary Ana Rius follows a new report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention on the status of the outbreak on the U.S. territory.

    Ruis said a 70-year-old man died from a Zika-related illness in the San Juan metro area in late February, according to the Associated Press. Health officials described the fatal condition as an autoimmune disease, wherein the patient’s antibodies attacked his blood platelet cells. These cells heal cuts in skin or damaged blood vessels. The man died from internal bleeding less than 24 hours after seeking medical assistance.

    The new report from the CDC confirmed a single fatality during Puerto Rico’s outbreak due to thrombocytopenia, a deficiency of blood platelets. The CDC did not give further details of the case.

    Zika-related deaths are rare. Of the 683 confirmed cases recorded in Puerto Rico since the outbreak blossomed in early November, only one fatality has been noted. Rash is the most common symptom among these patients, followed by muscle pain and headache. Sixty-five of these cases — 10 percent — have involved pregnant women. Puerto Rico has experienced five cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that attacks brain tissue, but no reported cases of microcephaly so far.

    Mosquito season is stirring in the southern U.S., and the virus has emerged in a new carrier across the border. Virus hunter have spotted the disease in tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) in Mexico, according an April 21 update from the Pan American Health Organization. This is the first reported occurrence of Zika virus found in wild tiger mosquitoes in the Western Hemisphere, according to the PAHO.

    So far, tropical Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been the primary ferryman for Zika virus, and stateside, this breed resides primarily in Florida and southern Texas. In contrast, tiger mosquitoes extend as far as southern Minnesota, Ohio and New Jersey east of the Rocky Mountains and Northern California in the West.

    NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research predictions on  Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus abundance based on weather predictions for January through July. Monaghan AJ et al., PLOS Current Outbreaks, (2016)

    NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research predictions on Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus abundance based on weather predictions for January through July. Monaghan AJ et al., PLOS Current Outbreaks, (2016)

    “I think some states and local governments have been focusing on aegypti and less on albopictus, but this finding makes clear that both will require control measures,” Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Health Security Thomas Inglesby told The Washington Post.

    Congress broke session on Friday, for a weeklong recess, without coming to a decision on President Barack Obama’s more than $1 billion request for emergency funding to fight the Zika virus, according to the AP. The White House has allocated $589 million, collected from funds originally meant for the 2014 Ebola crisis, to combat and prepare for the Zika virus.

    The post U.S. records first Zika death; Congress breaks without decision on emergency funds appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday to offer U.S. support for the investigation into the killings of two LGBT activists. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday to offer U.S. support for the investigation into the killings of two LGBT activists. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry called on Bangladesh’s leader to step up law enforcement to prevent a wave of killings targeting liberal voices, the State Department said Friday amid fears that the traditionally moderate South Asian nation is under threat from Islamic extremists.

    Kerry called Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday and offered U.S. support for the investigation into the slaying of Xulhaz Mannan, a U.S. Agency for International Development employee and gay rights activist, and Tonmoi Mahbub, a theater actor.

    Their killings were the latest in spate of bloody attacks on secular writers, bloggers, foreigners and religious minorities that began in 2013 but have intensified in the past year. Hasina’s government has blamed the political opposition for the attacks although al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have been claiming responsibility.

    “The secretary urged Prime Minister Hasina to ensure a thorough investigation of all of these incidents, and to redouble law enforcement efforts to prevent future attacks and protect those who are at risk,” the department said in a statement.

    While authorities have arrested suspects in some cases, none have been prosecuted, and authorities have yet to identify the masterminds.

    The assaults have typically been perpetrated by young men wielding knives or machetes and spewing hateful language. Among the fatalities was Bangladeshi-American writer Avijit Roy, who was attacked on a street in the capital, Dhaka, in February 2015.

    Human rights groups fear for others facing militant death threats as the Bangladeshi government has appeared unsympathetic to their plight. The U.S. says it is considering providing sanctuary to some individuals at risk, although it remains unclear whether that will happen. Human rights groups have been calling for that since December.

    A broader concern for Washington as it struggles to counter IS worldwide is that ambitious local extremists could enable transnational jihadist groups to gain a foothold in Bangladesh despite the nation’s traditions of secularism, free speech and respect for its Christian and Hindu minorities, and its successes in reducing poverty and raising life expectancy among its 160 million people.

    The No. 2 U.S. diplomat said Thursday that evidence to date suggests extremist groups, either local or affiliated with IS or al-Qaida, are responsible for the killings.

    Evidence to date suggests extremist groups, either local or affiliated with IS or al-Qaida, are responsible for the slayings of LGBT activists Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mahbub. “This gives us concern about the potential for ISIL or Daesh to take root in Bangladesh,” Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee, using alternative acronyms for IS. “That is the last thing we want.”

    In February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Hasina’s efforts to undermine the political opposition “will probably provide openings for transnational terrorist groups to expand their presence in the country.”

    Hasina has become the country’s dominant force, marginalizing the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, or BNP, which boycotted the last national elections held in 2014. She has pursued war crimes prosecutions leading to death penalties for several leaders of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party, which is allied to the BNP, over alleged involvement in atrocities committed during its 1971 war of independence, when Bangladesh separated from Pakistan.

    The opposition denies involvement in the attacks and says it is being scapegoated for security failings.

    Ansar al-Islam, an affiliate of al-Qaida on the Indian subcontinent, said it had killed Mannan and Mahbub because they were “pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality.” That claim of responsibility has not been verified.

    U.S. officials say they cooperate well with Bangladesh on counterterrorism and intelligence-sharing, and that despite Bangladeshi denials of the involvement of transnational jihadist groups, in recent months, U.S. and Bangladeshi officials have discussed how to alleviate the risk of those groups establishing themselves in the South Asian country.

    Both al-Qaida and IS have made clear they want to assert themselves in Bangladesh.

    In 2014, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri issued a call for jihad there, and Bangladesh has been a focus of recent articles in the Islamic State group’s online magazine, Dabiq.

    This month’s edition includes an interview with the purported leader of IS fighters in Bangladesh, Sheikh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, who says Bangladesh has a “strategic geographic position” for global jihad. He says a strong base there will facilitate guerrilla attacks inside India, and provide a “stepping stone” for jihad in Myanmar.

    The post John Kerry urges action by Bangladesh to prevent killings appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Video by PBS NewsHour

    “The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick,” Charles Darwin told a fellow scientist in a letter in 1860.

    The showiness of the peacock tail initially struck him as a handicap — why would an animal put so much energy into producing a purely ornamental feature? — but it would come to embody an important part of his theory of sexual selection.

    Today, 150 years later, peacock tails haven’t been terribly well researched. To understand the role they play in sexual selection, scientists studied feather length and they studied the number of eyespots, and neither proved to play a major role in wooing.

    Now, a group of interdisciplinary scientists have turned their attention to another factor: the almost hypnotizing shaking of the long tail feathers known as “train-rattling.” The findings were published April 27 in the journal PLOS ONE.

    A 2013 study found placing stickers over a male peacock’s iridescent eyespots caused mating success to drop to nearly zero.  Photo by Roslyn Dakin

    A 2013 study found placing stickers over a male peacock’s iridescent eyespots caused mating success to drop to nearly zero. Photo by Roslyn Dakin

    Train feathers are the the long, quintessential green, blue and bronze plumes that made the male peacock famous. In train-rattling, the bird shakes the train feathers to create a shimmering, iridescent background while the eyespots appear motionless.

    Researchers filmed male and female peacocks at a botanical garden near Los Angeles with high-speed cameras. When train-rattling, the birds used the shorter, grey tail feathers to strum the longer feathers like a guitar. On average, they did it at a rate of 25 times a second.

    Like a parent pushing a child on a swing, the male’s tail feathers vibrate the plumes in an energetically efficient manner. The strumming even produces a percussive, rustling sound.

    But why the eyespots stand relatively motionless while the feathers move required more explanation.

    Video by YouTube user Roslyn Dakin

    Back in the lab, the team mechanically shook individual train feathers to measure their vibration. Shorter feathers shook at a higher resonant frequency than longer feathers. The effect is analogous to a musical tone made on a violin as compared to a cello. A pluck of a violin’s shorter string produces a higher pitch at a higher resonant frequency than the same motion on the longer strings of a cello.

    The difference in frequencies was smaller than fellow author and physicist Suzanne Amador Kane expected, and the eyespots remained practically stationary only at the resonant frequencies observed in train-rattling.

    Kane said two factors were at play. First, the loose barbs along the feathers’ length cause friction that altered the vibration action.

    “They are rubbing against each other, and it turns out when you have a lot friction in the system, that allows you to excite the frequency over a broad range,” Kane said. “So instead of having one frequency that works like a bell with a very clear note, it turns out that when you have a lot of friction, you have a range of frequencies.”

    Images taken by a scanning electron microscope also revealed tiny hook-like feathers on the eyespots. These hooks anchor the end of the train feather, creating a perception of stillness.

    Iridescence too, seems to play a role. In a 2013 study, Biologist Roslyn Dakin found that iridescence — the change of an eyespot’s hue in relation to light angle — explained about half of mating success. Place stickers over the male’s eyespots, and mating rates drop to near zero.

    But how train-rattling factors into sexual selection remains to be seen. Because the team did not factor mating success into this study, future research could investigate how iridescence and shaking work together to catch a female’s eye. Scientists could also explore why larger birds shook their feathers faster than predicted in the lab, and whether that is significant in mate selection.

    Either way, Kane is pleased the research can help advance an age-old mystery.

    “It’s cool that this is a system Charles Darwin talked about so long ago when he was thinking through theories of natural and sexual selection,” she said. “[He] posed peacocks as a problem then, and here in 2016, we can say something new.”

    The post Why are peacock tail feathers so enchanting? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    An inmate waits for a visitor at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino, California. The Obama administration said its proposal would make it easier for ex-convicts to secure work if inquiries about their criminal history were delayed until an offer of employment has been made. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    An inmate waits for a visitor at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino, California. The Obama administration said its proposal would make it easier for ex-convicts to secure work if inquiries about their criminal history were delayed until an offer of employment has been made. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration wants federal agencies to stop asking early questions about some job applicants’ criminal history, part of an effort to help ex-convicts enter the job market and decrease the number of those who end up back in prison.

    A rule proposed Friday by the Office of Personnel Management would bar agencies from asking applicants about their criminal and credit history until a conditional offer of employment has been made. The rule, which would piggyback on similar efforts in states and in the private sector, would apply to hiring for the roughly 100,000 competitive service positions the government fills annually. It would not apply to many law enforcement, national security and intelligence posts, officials said.

    White House officials said inquiries about criminal history can unnecessarily narrow the pool of qualified candidates and make it that much harder for those with criminal histories to support themselves and their families. Applicants can be removed from consideration even before agencies learn about the nature of a conviction or check to see whether an arrest led to a conviction. Officials said agencies could request an exemption.

    “We’re focusing on how we can ensure that when the 600,000 people who are annually released from our nation’s prisons are released they’re able to thrive as productive law-abiding citizens,” White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told reporters as the White House announced the proposal.

    The announcement was part of a broader campaign to highlight the importance of easing “re-entry,” the transition from prison to society that experts say is riddled with unnecessary hurdles that can keep people from finding secure housing or work.

    Under the umbrella of “National Re-entry Week,” the Department of Housing and Urban Development released guidance on how public house authorities can use criminal records in housing decisions. The White House has created a federal re-entry council to look for ways to reduce hurdles for people leaving prison.


    Attorney General Loretta Lynch sent a letter to governors urging them to make it easier for convicted felons to obtain state-issued identification after they get out of prison. Advocates say the lack of state-issued identification is another common barrier in getting a job or housing, or opening a bank account.

    On Friday, Lynch toured a medium-security prison in Talladega, Alabama, to hold a discussion on re-entry programs.

    The transition to work and housing has been the “biggest missing piece of our public safety” system, said Douglas Berman, a professor at the Ohio State University law school and an expert on sentencing and efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system.

    “All these people get out at some point, and if we’re not doing things to increase the likelihood that they’re law-abiding, we’re increasing the likelihood that we’re throwing bad money after good,” Berman said.

    It’s also an area more likely to yield common ground than the contentious debate over sentencing guidelines, Berman said. A bipartisan group of senators has been working for months on legislation aimed at curbing the prison population and scaling back sentencing for some nonviolent and drug offenders. The effort, which has been stalled since November, was revived this week when the group unveiled a new version of the bill, which also would create programs to help prisoners successfully re-enter society.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president plans to “devote a significant portion” of his remaining time in office to passing a sentencing bill through Congress.

    Until then, President Barack Obama’s impact on re-entry programs is limited. Obama first issued the guidance on hiring and criminal history inquires last year. The proposed rule released Friday only formalizes a practice already widely used.


    A separate bill, called the Fair Chance Act, would put into statute the requirement that the government wait to ask about criminal histories until applicants receive conditional employment offers. The House bill has yet to make it out of committee, though the Senate version has. Jarrett said the president supports the legislation.

    Democratic Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland said “we have faced roadblocks” in Congress, so he has urged Obama to act where he could. Cummings said it was important to ensure “that a criminal record does not become a life sentence.”

    In addition to the new rule, the White House has tried to urge the private sector to follow suit. This week the White House highlighted 112 companies and organizations employing more than 1.5 million people who have committed to ensuring that information about criminal history is considered in the proper context. Microsoft, Best Buy, Kellogg Co. and Catholic Charities were among those who committed to the effort, according to the White house.

    READ MORE: Broken Justice: Stopping the Revolving Prison Door

    The post Proposed rule would delay questions about criminal history appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Beyoncé kicked off her Formation Tour this week in Miami.

    Beyoncé kicked off her Formation Tour this week in Miami.

    By now, countless think pieces and listicles have broken down Beyoncé’s ode to black womanhood in her latest visual album “Lemonade.” But the acclaimed 6th offering by the R&B diva does more than just pay homage to African-American women or southern culture: “Lemonade” offers fans a musical and visual journey through the African diaspora.

    “[Lemonade] invokes so much of the Yoruba tradition, which is grounded in African tradition,” Dr. Amy Yeboah, associate professor of Africana studies at Howard University, said. “But it spreads across the diaspora. So you see it in Cuba, you see it in Louisiana. It’s a cultural tradition that connects women of the diaspora together.”

    At its very beginning, the film takes the audience to the origin at the diaspora: images of stonewall tunnels allude to the dungeons of Elmina in Ghana, which Yeboah said was “the last place many African people were brought to before being brought to the Americas.” From Yoruba face markings to invoking the Middle Passage, Lemonade connects cultures along with the all-too-common stories of hardships and resilience in black women worldwide.

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    In “Hold Up,” the album’s second single, Beyoncé appears as Oshun, a Yoruba water goddess of female sensuality, love and fertility. Oshun is often shown in yellow and surrounded by fresh water. Donning a flowing yellow Roberto Cavalli dress, gold jewelry and bare feet, Beyoncé channels the orisha, or goddess, by appearing in an underwater dreamlike state before emerging from two large golden doors with water rushing past her and down the stairs.

    “There’s two things: you have to watch to watch visually and then you have to watch to listen. The first time around, yes, there’s the obvious conversation that people are having about her and her husband, just being a woman going through relationships,” Yeboah said. “But it’s also reflecting the power of women spiritually. She takes it deeper into African spirituality. We see this in the first of two baptisms and her emergence as an orisha.”

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    Folktales of Oshun describe her malevolent temper and sinister smile when she has been wronged. In “Hold Up,” a smiling, laughing and dancing Beyoncé smashes store windows, cars and cameras with a baseball bat nicknamed “Hot Sauce,” letting fans know exactly what she means when she says “I got hot sauce in my bag.

    In “Sorry,” Beyoncé narrates a spoken-word poem written by Somali-Brit Warsan Shire. The poem asks what her cheating spouse would say at her funeral after killing her with a broken heart. From there, Beyoncé is joined by fellow women on a bus called “Boy Bye,” their faces painted in Ori, a sacred Yoruba tradition.

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    “This idea of inscribing who you are on your face and your body is seen throughout the diaspora,” Yeboah said. “And we see that in the use of Yoruba face markings and the women who join Beyoncé on the bus.”

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    “It’s a song for everyone who isn’t sorry for being who they are.” — Professor Amy Yeboah
    The women travel from civilization to an open field. The bus ride, representing Beyoncé’s spiritual journey after her “death,” leads her to a comfortable place where she is uplifted through sisterhood and unity. Throughout the visual album, the use of natural hairstyles and clothing, neck jewelry and beading draws inspiration from Nigeria and the Maasai of Kenya.

    Beyoncé is briefly joined by Serena Williams and together, the women assert their unapologetic blackness and womanhood. Williams moves seductively and carefree in a black bodysuit, giving off a sense of sisterhood as she dances near Beyoncé, who sits in a queen-like throne.

    “It’s a song for everyone who isn’t sorry for being who they are,” Yeboah said. “But there’s a part where she points to a Nina Simone record, essentially channeling how Simone would say her music is for everyone but she’s really speaking to black women. With ‘Lemonade,’ we all can hear it, but this is for a specific audience.”

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    In classic African art, some of the most recognized paintings and sculptures are of women without arms, emphasizing the beauty of their faces and crowns of their hair. And toward the end of “Sorry,” Beyoncé mimics this pose as the music stops and she sits like royalty in a Nefertiti-inspired hairstyle. Her reference to “Becky with the good hair,” paired with imagery of Beyoncé embracing African beauty is a message for black women everywhere who feel the pressure to Westernize their look.

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    Eventually, Beyoncé leads a line of black women dressed in white along a shoreline. They stand, unified, looking out into the water as they hold hands and lift them one by one. This second reference to baptism is heavy in this scene along with messages of faith and love, which are, the lyrics say, “strong enough to move a mountain” or “end a drought.”

    This second baptism of faith and fidelity coincides with a larger narrative of a feminine journey through the diaspora, Yeboah said.

    “She talks about being reborn,” Yeboah said. “As an African woman, I am born but as an African-American woman and this spiritual rebirth and what does that look like? She shows you in through the videos.”

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    Finally, in “All Night,” Beyoncé sings of hope for the future. The collection of short home videos is a light and happy contrast to the rest of “Lemonade.” The playful clip emphasizes there is a light at the end of a tunnel, tying back to the dark tunnels that began the journey.

    One thing that cannot be ignored is the absence of men. But their limited inclusion is purposeful. Beyoncé uses few images of men and voices such as Malcolm X talking about the plight of black women to convey their roles in the uplifting of their female counterparts. “Oftentimes we condemn black males for not speaking up or not being a part of the conversation,” Yeboah said. “But [Beyoncé] tried her best to try to pull them and let them speak in conversation with women.”

    What does an-hour long visual album rich in African and southern African-American tradition do, beyond get people talking? Yeboah said it sends a message to young women of color to continue to strive and move forward.

    “There’s some things in the film that just aren’t that deep but are still powerful. Whether you’re 21, 31 or 12, this empowers a woman,” she said. “If she’s trying to use those things to speak to us, we caught it. So keep talking.”

    The post What Beyoncé teaches us about the African diaspora in ‘Lemonade’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    NewsHour shares web small logoIn our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now for our “NewsHour” Shares, something that caught our eye that we thought might be of interest to you too.

    The American bison is poised to become the first national mammal of the United States, thanks to a bipartisan act of Congress. The Senate passed the National Bison Legacy Act by unanimous consent last evening, following the House’s approval Tuesday.

    The act will designate bison, also known as buffalo, as a national emblem in honor of their historical and contemporary significance. Tens of millions of bison once roamed the nation’s Great Plains and other regions. But hunting, ranching and western expansion decimated the population, and bison numbers dwindled to less than 1,000 by the start of the 20th century.

    They have since rebounded though, with nearly a half-a-million bison currently living in wild and commercial populations. More than 50 conservation, ranching and tribal groups supported the new designation, even though the act won’t impose any new protections on the animals. The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: A new show is opening on Broadway that is part homage to an old musical with a historic role for black performers, and one that also included a very complicated racial legacy.

    That show is now being reinvented. “Shuffle Along” debuted to generally strong reviews last night.

    Jeffrey Brown has the story behind a show that was years in the making.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Just one song, “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” would last, largely because Harry Truman adopted it years later.

    Almost everything else about “Shuffle Along,” the 1921 Broadway musical written, performed, and directed by African-Americans, was forgotten.

    And George Wolfe, one of today’s leading theater directors, told us that he found that hard to accept. We spoke at the famed Sardi’s Restaurant.

    GEORGE WOLFE, Director, Shuffle Along: “Shuffle Along” was the first time there was a woman’s dancing, hoofing chorus. And I went, why isn’t this discussed?

    And then I went, so this altered the American musical. And then I realized it was the first jazz score, which then introduced syncopation into the American musical. We know about “West Side Story,” but don’t know anything — we didn’t even think to include “Shuffle Along” in this conversation.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Wolfe has now created a something new titled “Shuffle Along or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” a musical, that is, about the musical that Wolfe hopes continues a conversation begun by the original show’s creators.

    GEORGE WOLFE: So, it isn’t just, how do we present blackness on the American stage? I think it’s more interesting. How do we present who we are in our myriad facets, by being black, by being American, by being Southern, by being Northern?

    So, they’re trying to figure out all these things not in a calculated way, but in a — in the most natural expression of who they are, which is their art.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The new musical features an all-star team of talent, led by six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald, who plays Lottie Gee, the actress who starred in the 1921 production.

    It’s choreographed by Savion Glover, the renowned tap dancer and creator of the 1990s bring in “Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk.” He, too, took on the project with a sense of mission.

    SAVION GLOVER, Choreographer, Shuffle Along: I don’t think anyone has a choice to walk out of that theater not knowing something that they didn’t come in with. There’s so much information in the show, something we call edu-tainment. It’s not just about putting on a show. It’s about making sure that we continue to elevate the minds of this generation, and then of generations to come.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Four men created the original 1921 play, composer Eubie Blake and lyricist Noble Sissle, writer-actors Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles, and brought new sounds and moves to Broadway.

    The play introduced onstage romance between blacks, rarely, if ever, seen in the era. It also included older elements of Vaudeville and black actors in blackface.

    Tony award winners Billy Porter and Brian Stokes Mitchell play the comedy team of Miller and Lyles.

    BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL, “F.E. Miller,” Shuffle Along: One of the parts of the show is that our two characters performed in blackface, as did many performers back then.

    And it’s interesting, because it had a different context for African-American performers, because it was more like a — in a sense, a mime mask is. But then those characters and that style was usurped by white culture, who then didn’t really understand, appreciate, honor that tradition that it came from, and it became a caricature then of black behavior at the time, and became offensive.

    BILLY PORTER, “Aubrey Lyles,” Shuffle Along: You know, to be truthfully honest with you, just from reading the song titles on the album cover, me and my black friends, in our naivete, sort of rejected this show in the way…

    JEFFREY BROWN: Because?

    BILLY PORTER: Because, you know, they had songs like “Pickaninny Shoes” and “Bandanna Land.” And we heard that there was blackface. And, you know, without context, without historical context to sort of look at it through that lens, we immediately rejected it. And I think this has been such an amazing journey for me to understand.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The original 1921 “Shuffle Along” was a Broadway sensation, bringing white audiences to a story of and performed by blacks, playing more than 500 performances, unheard of at the time.

    The likes of Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson appeared in it, before going on to international stardom. Leading white artists of the day, including George Gershwin and Florenz Ziegfeld, came repeatedly and borrowed or lifted riffs and moves, another part of America’s cultural history.

    It was a great success, but a painful aftermath, as the four creators of the musical squabbled among themselves and never again worked together.

    GEORGE WOLFE: I think it’s what makes the material exciting and why you go on the journey. And I think the large idea that “Shuffle Along” is about is, will I be remembered? I came into this world with X-amount of equipment and X-amount of desires and dreams and frailties, and I tried to do the best I can.

    JEFFREY BROWN: As opening night approached, though, Savion Glover, having created the moves the actors will dance to, had something more immediate on his mind.

    SAVION GLOVER: I’m going to sneak in there one day to tie somebody up. It might be Billy Porter.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But we’re not going to know when.

    SAVION GLOVER: You’re not going to know when.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now, that would delight theater and dance fans.

    From the Music Box Theater on Broadway, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”

    The post Remixing ‘Shuffle Along,’ a musical that brought new sounds and moves to Broadway appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now an update from a man we first met out on a walk.

    Hari recently caught up with him.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Last fall, we took you to the Southern Caucasus Mountains in the country of Georgia to meet Paul Salopek. He is the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent on an epic journey he calls the Out of Eden Walk.

    Beginning in the Great Rift Valley in Africa in 2013, Salopek is now three years into a decade-long walk around the world. After our walk with Paul, he crossed Azerbaijan, and then, around Christmas, hopped a freighter across the Caspian Sea, toward Central Asia.

    And Paul Salopek joins me again.

    Paul, tell our audience where we find you now.

    PAUL SALOPEK, National Geographic Fellow: Today I’m in the port city of Aktau, Kazakstan, which is a very remote and isolated sort of starting line for the next Asiatic phase of the walk.

    This is kind of where the Silk Road butted up against the Caspian Sea. And you might be able to hear a little bit of surf in the background. And it’s a very off-the-map place. I mean, it’s about, I don’t know, 100,000, 150,000 people, an old uranium mining town under the Soviet era.

    And I will be walking due east from here as the sun rises towards China.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: How long to get to China?

    PAUL SALOPEK: It’s going to be an interesting passage, if the weather cooperates. I have some big mountains to go over. Maybe as soon as this coming winter, but more likely springtime.

    It’s about 3,000 kilometers away.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: And these 3,000 kilometers are different geographically and topographically than what you have already covered, right?

    PAUL SALOPEK: Yes, they are. They’re very different.

    As you recall, the last time I reported in, I was in the Caucasus, which is a very, relatively heavy populated corner of the world, very rugged, mountainous, also a crossroads of the world, lots of different cultures, languages, ancient migration, ancient invasions.

    What I have before me now is a pretty arid plain, a high plateau of dry, brittle grasses with very little water. So it’s going to be more like an expedition this time. Rather than walking from farm to farm, I’m going to actually have to camp out and look for water and go into survival mode on this stretch.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, how do you ensure that you have enough food and water?

    PAUL SALOPEK: I just last weekend purchased a cargo horse, a Kazakh horse. These are very sturdy little ponies. They can walk very far with very little water. And I will be leading that animal, and it will be carrying part of my water and part of my food.

    Also, I had to do something that I have not done since Saudi Arabia. Over the last many weeks, I have had to go out and actually cache water, which is a very strange, a very surreal experience in this gigantic stage of open grass and sky.

    Caching water means driving out to certain points along the proposed walking route and digging a hole in the ground and plucking in 10 to 15 liters of bottled water and then covering it up and taking a GPS coordinate. And so going out there and planning a few mouthfuls of water in this gigantic, operatic landscape is very strange. It’s kind of like a conceptual art piece.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The storylines have changed from when you left Africa and crossed into the Middle East, how our dependence on our feet shifted to our dependence on motorized transportation.

    From a story perspective, what’s changing about the world around you as you now head to this next phase?

    PAUL SALOPEK: Yes, it’s true. I’m not just heading into a new physical environment. I’m heading into a new sort of chapter in human history and in sort of a new and different human relationship with the landscape.

    In the Caucasus and in Anatolia in Eastern Turkey, I was walking through landscapes that were haunted often by human conflict, by war, by bloodshed, by massacres. So, that landscape was kind of spooky, to be honest. You would walk through villages with some empty houses, orchards that were no longer tended, and these invisible relationships between ethnic groups that you kind to had to suss out as you’re walking through that fractured landscape.

    Here, it more a linear storyline. I’m going to be literally following in the footsteps of the old traders who walked the silk roads between China and Europe, moving at a slow rate along camel trails, kind of a ghost myself, moving through a modern landscape that will include gas and oil developments, that will include modern highways on occasion, sporadically coming to towns.

    I will be a dusty figure leading a horse and then later, in Uzbekistan, a camel, through the modern motorized landscape of globalization.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Is this an opportunity for you to think more deeply about what it is that you are doing, these moments where you are basically alone with your guide and your horse?

    PAUL SALOPEK: You’re right. It is a much more solitary passage.

    I think, for weeks and even months, we will be — my local guides and myself will be the only people visible in the visible world. And that probably will lead to more reflective sorts of narratives, maybe more inward narratives, narratives about nature, narratives about the nature of moving through landscapes alone.

    And so I think these long solo passages, these kind of adagio passages, if you look at the journey as music, will hopefully allow me to reflect on where we continue to walk. So, I will be jumping back and forth between the past and the present as I walk across this steppe, these grasslands, looking at human connections in a little bit different way than I was, say, a year ago, coming through the Caucasus.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Paul Salopek, we wish you the best on your journey. Thanks so much for joining us.

    PAUL SALOPEK: Always a pleasure. Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Paul Salopek’s work and walk are supported in part by the National Geographic Society and by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, which often partners with the “NewsHour.”

    You can find Hari’s stories from last fall about Paul Salopek on our Web site. That’s PBS.org/NewsHour.

    The post The man who’s walking around the world follows footsteps of old Silk Road traders appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Meantime, Ted Cruz grabs a key endorsement in the Hoosier State, Donald Trump addresses foreign policy, Hillary Clinton wins four of the five primaries this week.

    That is just some of the political news in a week that brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks, who is in Pittsburgh tonight.

    And welcome to you both.

    So, Mark, we just saw John Yang’s report on what they’re doing in Virginia, these delegates who are hoping it’s going to go, at least some of them, to a second ballot. Where does this Republican race stand? What is the likelihood of it going past the first ballot?

    MARK SHIELDS: Judy, I think the likelihood of it going past the first ballot is less than remote at this point.

    Donald Trump had a victory this week, in the past two weeks, actually, in which he not only carried the five states. He carried every congressional district in those five states, and he carried every county in those five states, including New York. Those states have amounted to 213 delegate votes John was reporting on.

    Ted Cruz, the alternative, the establishment alternative, collected three delegates in those six states. It is — essentially, Indiana is Alamo. I think the Republicans have gone from resistance to — from maybe rebellion to a sense of resignation. And, in short order, we will see revisionism. People will start to — Republicans will start to discover virtues in Donald Trump that they hadn’t seen before.

    Victory will do that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: David, where do you see this race?

    DAVID BROOKS: Pretty much the same way.

    Maybe there were small neighborhoods or districts or townships where Cruz won, but, yes, it was a convincing win for Donald Trump. And if he doesn’t hit the majority number, he’s going to be close enough, so it will be super hard to deny.

    And one of the things we have seen in focus groups among Republican voters, even those rank and file who support Cruz or Kasich, they don’t really like the idea that if Trump comes so close, that their man would be superseded over him. And there is not much willpower among the Republicans, either at the elite or the mass level, to deny Trump if he’s close, which it looks almost certain like he’s going to be close.

    The second thing that has happened is not only Trump is strong, but Cruz looks a lot weaker. And flailing about with Carly Fiorina and the alleged Kasich deal, that looks like the acts of a drowning man. And so just in terms of the moral rigor, the motivation force, the morale, Cruz is collapsing, and Trump is surging.

    So, I agree with Mark.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Drowning man?

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, go ahead.

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes, just one thing with David’s point, and that is, Bill Cohen, who was a United States senator, won three elections, never lost an election, for city council, mayor of Bangor, the House of Representatives, had a very simple formula that he — he said, I don’t care how great your ideas are, how brilliantly you articulate them. Before people vote for you, they have to like you.

    And what people — we have learned is that people don’t like Ted Cruz. And I think you saw an example of it in John Boehner, the former speaker of the House.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Ouch.

    MARK SHIELDS: Ouch — is coming out in just — at Stanford University, and saying what a miserable SOB. Never met a more miserable sob.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Lucifer in the flesh.

    MARK SHIELDS: And Lucifer in the flesh.

    And I just think that there isn’t. And what you saw was Ted Cruz got 10 percent of the voted in Rhode Island, 12 percent in Connecticut. Those are wipeout numbers. And then he compounded the problem by going into Indiana, where basketball is king, and talking about the ring.

    Now, you can call a basket a hoop, but nobody calls it a ring. It’s comparable, Judy, to someone going to Cooperstown, New York, to the Baseball Hall of Fame and saying, I love Babe Ruth because he hit so many touchdowns.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MARK SHIELDS: And I just — I think it — you could almost feel it end at that point.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: David, you think the ring comment — let me ask you about the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence. He came out and today and said he’s voting for Ted Cruz. Now, he did compliment Donald Trump at length before he said he’s voting for Cruz. What did you make of that?

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, that set new levels of lukewarmness.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: So he’s sort of for Cruz, maybe, if you hold a gun to my head. But, yes, it wasn’t the sort of ringing thing that’s going to turn the momentum.

    And, yes, I agree with Mark. Cruz had a bad week. The ring thing. The Lucifer comment really resonated with a lot of people. I thought it was a nicely understated, generous comment.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: But, yes, it’s funny. When you go up to Capitol Hill. And I was up there two weeks ago. The senators, they still think — one of them told me Cruz has more fascistic tendencies than Trump. So, that level of unpopularity is undermining Cruz.

    And Wisconsin, where he did so well, turns out to be the outlier. That was the freakish case where he had all the talk radio people, he had everybody on his side. And that looked like the breakout moment, but it turns out to have just been a parenthesis.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, if that’s the case, Mark, does this mean that the Republican Party is coming around, Republican voters are coming around to Donald Trump?

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes.

    And I’m surprised, as David wrote about today, the lack of resistance. There is a sense almost of — that Donald Trump has tapped into something, and I, as a Republican candidate in 2016, sharing the ballot with him, either running for Congress or the Senate, don’t want to risk alienating. I know what a problem Donald Trump can be. He’s controversial. He’s a lightning rod. But he has tapped into something. And I don’t want to alienate his voters.

    That’s what it seems. It’s almost like they’re bargaining, even though it’s with alarm in many cases, certainly with apprehension in virtually every case.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: What is going on, in your mind, David? And if you can talk about it — you’re in Pittsburgh. You said — you told us you’re talking to some Republican voters there. What are you finding out?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, a lot of things I’m finding out are related to why poverty is so endemic even among the white working class and what is going on with drug use.

    But with Trump, I guess what I find out is a lot of economic resistance. And I regard Trump as a sui generis candidate, as a candidate who said a whole series of appalling things. And at least the people I spoke to in the last day, they don’t see him as sui generis. It’s like, yes, he said some bad things, he said some good things. To them, he’s just a normal candidate.

    And that’s true for some of them who are supporting Cruz, by the way. And so they don’t see him something as outside the category of normal politics. And the politicians, to fight a strong force against someone as compelling or aggressive as Donald Trump, you have to believe in your cause. You have to believe in what your belief system is. You have to believe in your standards.

    And Republican self-confidence has collapsed. And so what’s striking to me is, they are disgusted personally. They feel he’s going to be disastrous for the party in the long term, but, for some reason, they’re incapable thinking in long-term reasoning.

    And the argument I made in my column today was that this is a Joe McCarthy moment. For 20 years after, you are going to be remembered for where you stood at this moment. And Republicans should be saying I’m — even if it’s out of self-interest, I will not be on the side of that guy. I will register my disgust with that guy, so 20 years from now, my grandchildren will be able to say, he was on the right side.

    But so few are doing that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Mark, we know a lot of Republicans are happy with the way Donald Trump is going after Hillary Clinton.

    But he made a statement this week I think that got a lot of notice, where he said the only thing she has got is the woman’s card. And he said if she were a man, she would be getting just 5 percent of the vote.

    Is this something Donald Trump needs to be careful about, or is this an effective line of argument for him?

    MARK SHIELDS: I find it hard to believe it’s an effective line of argument for him, Judy.

    He has got 69 to 16 unfavorable rating among women of both parties, so he’s got a real problem running against Hillary Clinton. He’s now in the Wall Street — Washington Post/ABC News poll, he’s running 70 percent behind her among white women.

    Why do I say white women? Because every Republican — Ronald Reagan carried white women twice. Mitt Romney carried white women by 12 percent over Barack Obama. John McCain carried white women over Barack Obama. George W. Bush carried white women twice.

    And so this is a real problem. I have to think at some level, because Donald Trump, whatever else he is, is not an unintelligent man, and he’s shrewd — and he’s certainly been shrewd to win this — that it must be some subliminal message he’s trying to communicate, that she’s a woman, she’s not strong, she doesn’t have the stamina.

    He’s kind of talked about it. That’s all I can think of, because I don’t think that there is a constituency out there that says, my goodness — obviously, there are people who don’t want Hillary Clinton and some people don’t want a woman, but I don’t see that as a majority in the country.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Hillary Clinton, David, has not completely locked up the Democratic nomination yet, but she is clearly well on her way.

    Is he handling this the right way? She’s already indicating — I mean, her campaign is indicating this is something they are prepared to go to fight out with Trump all the way through to November.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, this is a home run for them.

    They have printed out these little women’s cards, things to signify they’re — how they are going to stand up to this.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.

    DAVID BROOKS: And it’s a total winner for them among suburban swing voter women. It’s a total winner.

    I think, for Trump, it’s not subliminal. It’s just unconscious. His attitudes toward women have been entirely consistent for most of his life, and this is an outgrowth of that. His desire to build a coalition of resentments, whether it’s ethnic resentments or class resentments or any other kind of resentments, it’s his mode.

    And so resentments for men who feel that strong women somehow are displacing them in society, that’s something he’s going to play to, whether it helps him or not, because that’s his sincere moment.

    Clinton is getting ready and sort of mobilizing, and all this plays nicely into her hands.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, meanwhile, Mark, Bernie Sanders is still there. He’s still campaigning. He did lay off some of his campaign workers this week.

    But he’s now talking more about what is in the party the so-called platform. What does that mean? What is it that Bernie Sanders is going to end up, do you think, getting from this campaign?

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, I think, if you’re not going to win the prize, then you — and especially if you’re a movement candidate — and Bernie Sanders is very much a movement candidate — you fight for the soul of the party, is what you — you lower your — change your target. I won’t say lower it.

    So, you do that by fighting. There has to be a fight. In other words, you don’t go this far, this long, this many months with this many people engaged and committed, and then just meekly fold up your tents and leave.

    So, you go to the convention in Philadelphia, and you fight on the platform. I mean, you might lose. There will be a couple of planks. There will probably be on economic regulation, regulation of Wall Street, whatever. I don’t know exactly what they are, minimum wage.

    And Clinton will accept some, but there will probably be a fight on others, but you wanted to have stood for something.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I know it’s early, David, but what does that mean? To win something in the platform, what can Bernie Sanders — and, again, it’s early, but what does that mean? What can he take away from that?

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, he’s already got most of the planks in the ark already. She’s moved significantly in his direction on trade and on focusing on Wall Street and a series of other issues.

    I think the things that he would likely focus on are two. One is to ask her to embrace free college tuition, which has been a centerpiece of his campaign. And the millennials are a centerpiece of his campaign. I don’t know if she is going to do that, but that’s something to press for, and then something on campaign finance. He’s revolutionized the way campaigns fund themselves. And so that would be consistent.

    I would see those are the two things, and maybe to solidify her support for the $15 minimum wage. She’s sort of mushy on that one. But he’s had a big effect already, and he may just want a little — a few more pieces to add to the accomplishments and the trophies on the wall.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, 20 seconds left.

    I told you both you could say something about the first woman on the coin. It was announced last week. We ran out of time last Friday.

    Mark?

    MARK SHIELDS: Yes. And you took a cheap shot at us last week, Judy.

    (LAUGHTER)

    MARK SHIELDS: And I’m…

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m giving you a chance to either come out for it or against it.

    MARK SHIELDS: Well, I — no, I’m for Harriet Tubman. I’m also for Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson is getting the short end of the stick, but I want Harriet Tubman on the currency.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: One word, David.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: Jackson should go, Hamilton in, Tubman up.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, David Brooks, Mark Shields, thank you both.

    The post Shields and Brooks on Trump’s primary sweep, Clinton’s ‘woman’s card’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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