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- 05/09/16--15:40: _How Trump stumped t...
- 05/09/16--15:42: _Clinton works to wi...
- 05/09/16--15:45: _NC governor: We nee...
- 05/09/16--15:50: _News Wrap: The Phil...
- 05/09/16--16:19: _North Carolina, Jus...
- 05/10/16--11:36: _Opera Colorado sing...
- 05/10/16--12:40: _Benghazi attack sus...
- 05/10/16--13:29: _NASA’s Kepler missi...
- 05/10/16--13:39: _Utah abortion provi...
- 05/10/16--14:10: _Senate Republicans ...
- 05/10/16--14:49: _Attorney General Ly...
- 05/10/16--15:15: _Why the Amazon milk...
- 05/10/16--15:25: _The battle for Minn...
- 05/10/16--15:25: _The challenge of un...
- 05/10/16--15:30: _What happens when a...
- 05/10/16--15:35: _Cruz forces still q...
- 05/10/16--15:40: _New Philippines pre...
- 05/10/16--15:45: _News Wrap: Oklahoma...
- 05/10/16--15:50: _Donald Trump looks ...
- 05/10/16--16:54: _Bernie Sanders wins...
- 05/09/16--15:40: How Trump stumped the GOP elite
- 05/09/16--15:42: Clinton works to win over women voters
- 05/09/16--15:50: News Wrap: The Philippines elects its own ‘Donald Trump’
- 05/10/16--11:36: Opera Colorado sings about sin in ‘The Scarlet Letter’
- 05/10/16--13:39: Utah abortion providers stumped by law requiring fetal pain relief
- 05/10/16--14:49: Attorney General Lynch tells transgender community ‘we see you’
- 05/10/16--15:15: Why the Amazon milk frog is the world’s greatest gymnast
- 05/10/16--15:25: The battle for Minnesota’s $1 trillion mining jackpot
- 05/10/16--15:25: The challenge of understanding the full dynamics of racism in 2016
- 05/10/16--15:30: What happens when a nursing home and a day care center share a roof?
- 05/10/16--15:35: Cruz forces still question Donald Trump’s conservative cred
- 05/10/16--15:40: New Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte faces major challenges
- 05/10/16--15:50: Donald Trump looks to join forces with RNC on fundraising
- 05/10/16--16:54: Bernie Sanders wins presidential primaries in West Virginia
JUDY WOODRUFF: That brings us to Politics Monday with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR.
So, let’s talk about Hillary Clinton out on the campaign trail today, clearly trying to appeal, Tamara, to women voters to make the case that she’s the one. And yet, as you just heard in that John Yang report, it is a mixed picture. How mixed is it?
TAMARA KEITH, NPR: It is more mixed for Donald Trump than it is for Hillary Clinton. Let’s just be clear. And generally speaking, there is a gender gap.
Going back to 1980, there is a gender gap, where women voters tend to favor the Democrats. For the last — all those years, they have favored the Democrat. And so she has demographics on her side, certainly. But she is working hard. And, as John Yang pointed out, she was there in this very swing county where the — where the congresswoman, the new congresswoman who represents that district, has said she’s not ready yet to support Donald Trump. She’s a Republican.
JUDY WOODRUFF: New Republican.
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s right.
AMY WALTER: Yes, I would say Hillary Clinton has a problem with women. Donald Trump’s problems are bigger.
And when you look at the last polling that has come out nationally, among suburban women — and, obviously, where we saw the report from John today, that’s the key area, swing area — she was at minus-10 in terms of her approval ratings among suburban women. However, Donald Trump was at minus-46.
But, as you saw from these women — I have sat down — I’m sure you have too on the campaign trail. I have sat in focus groups with women in other suburbs. And what they are saying is, they don’t really love Donald Trump or what he — his tone, his temperament. They like some of his positions on the issues.
And, more importantly, they are not in love with Hillary Clinton. They are — she’s still going to have to work to get them there. The women who said they were voting for her were doing it much more as a vote against Donald Trump than for her.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, is there room for Donald Trump to gain with women, Tamara? How do you read that?
TAMARA KEITH: Well, he certainly has room.
TAMARA KEITH: There is lots of running space there.
It’s not clear whether or not he can actually make up that ground. And how does he do it? Well, probably by changing the way he’s talking right now, because, every time he goes out, he says another thing or repeats something.
This woman’s card, for instance, that was — I don’t know how many people came on my Twitter feed and said, I support Bernie Sanders, but, wow, this woman card thing makes me want to support Hillary Clinton, things like that.
So, Donald Trump has a challenge on his hands, certainly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What about — Amy, what about Hillary Clinton? I mean, where does she — how does she get women more enthusiastic about her?
AMY WALTER: She has to do two things.
One, she has to convince voters that it is more than just a bad thing to vote for Donald Trump; it’s a big risk. And I think you’re going to be hearing that over and over again. We heard — the dangerous Donald was part of the rhetoric.
And it’s going to be on issues, not just about women’s issues, but security. Do you feel safe with him as the commander in chief? So, many of those sorts of undertones, you are going to hear in advertising, I think, both from Hillary Clinton and others.
And, at the end of the day, though, if 2008 was hope and change, unfortunately, I think 2016 is going to be fear and loathing. And it is going to be much more about who do you dislike less than who you like more.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Brace ourselves for it.
TAMARA KEITH: It could be a very grim six months.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk a little bit more about Donald Trump.
Clearly, Tamara, we’re witnessing some kind of split, not just split, mega-divisions inside the Republican Party, as one Republican after another figures out what he or she is going to do. How serious is this split in the party right now?
TAMARA KEITH: It is very serious. And it is very public.
And the mere fact that there is a nominee, essentially — there’s nothing standing between Donald Trump, the nomination — and his party is not falling in line is a significant sign, that there are various members of Congress, the speaker of the House saying he’s not ready yet.
And I think that the establishment Republicans don’t know what to do. They still don’t know what to do with Donald Trump. You know, the whole never Trump movement was about, well, he is not conservative enough. He’s not a real Republican.
Well, voters didn’t care. Republican voters didn’t care. And so I think that the Republican establishment is now in this place of just not knowing what to do, how to proceed, how to keep their party, the party that they think it is or should be.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see this?
AMY WALTER: And I think there’s a big — I think there is a big divide between how Republicans in Washington see this and how Republican voters are seeing this.
That is what I am watching. I’m less concerned about what Paul Ryan and other elites are doing. I’m much more concerned about how Republican voters feel. And right now, it is true they are divided, only 72 percent of Republicans right now saying that they would vote for Donald Trump up against Hillary Clinton. That is very low.
Normally, you want to hit 90 percent. If that number starts moving closer to 90 percent, then whether Paul Ryan is with him or not is not as significant. If it doesn’t move, then that shows that Paul Ryan reflects a lot of the views of the Republican Party.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But you do hear, just quickly to both of you, the argument from the Trump camp that, yes, we may not have all Republicans on board, but we are broadening the picture of voters who we can appeal to.
TAMARA KEITH: That is exactly what they are saying.
AMY WALTER: And it’s not showing up at all.
Right now, his numbers with all these groups that you are talking about, women, Democrats, Latinos, younger voters, independents, she is doing better among them than Obama did against Mitt Romney.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, is it — so, is this just what they say while they figure out what they’re going to do?
TAMARA KEITH: Yes.
Unless you say it’s over, looking at the demographics, the Clinton campaign is very concerned about Donald Trump. They are concerned that this is — that people think this is going to be easy for her. And it’s not.
As Chris Christie said, Donald Trump threw out the playbook. And I think every one is trying to figure out how to react.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we have a little bit of time left…
AMY WALTER: We have a lot of time…
JUDY WOODRUFF: … between now and November to see what’s going on.
Tamara Keith, Amy Walter, great to you have both. Thank you.
AMY WALTER: You’re welcome.
TAMARA KEITH: Glad to be here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to the race for the White House and one major divide between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: how they will approach women voters.
John Yang reports.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratc Presidential Candidate: How are you?
MAN: I’m doing well. How are you?
HILLARY CLINTON: Good.
JOHN YANG: For Hillary Clinton, this is what a pivot to the general election looks like. Looking beyond tomorrow’s West Virginia primary, the Democratic front-runner was talking family issues in Virginia.
HILLARY CLINTON: I would like to see us look at universal pre-K in the school system. Then we need to take a hard look at how we have a child care system that does provide quality child care at an affordable cost.
JOHN YANG: It’s not just that rival Bernie Sanders is favored in West Virginia.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Don’t let anybody tell you this campaign is over.
JOHN YANG: It’s that this bedroom community outside Washington, D.C., is likely to be a key battleground in November. One challenge for the candidate who wants to be the first woman president? Winning the votes of suburban women, like Amy Fitzgerald of Chantilly, Virginia. She voted for Clinton in the primary, but says the former secretary of state doesn’t understand the challenges of her life.
AMY FITZGERALD, Northern Virginia Resident: It’s like she’s a puppet. Like I said, it’s like somebody is handing her a piece of paper and says, OK, this is what America wants to hear. This is what you need to say. And it’s not really, truly coming from her heart.
JOHN YANG: Mary McLean twice voted for Barack Obama and then for Donald Trump in Virginia’s primary. Now she says she hoping for a third candidate.
MARY MCLEAN, Northern Virginia Resident: When it comes to Hillary Clinton, I think — I get the impression, as much as she champion’s women’s rights and the rights — the importance of family, say was, I would say, in the pockets of big banks when it came to the bailout.
JOHN YANG: Clinton’s focus today on suburban women in this swing county in a swing state is part of her general election strategy, trying to win over independents and Republicans uncomfortable with Donald Trump.
Over the weekend, Trump criticize Clinton over her husband’s infidelities.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: And Hillary was an enabler, and she treated women horribly. Just remember this. And some of those women were destroyed, not by him, but by the way that Hillary Clinton treated them after everything went down.
JOHN YANG: The all-but-certain Republican nominee has also been waging verbal warfare with party leaders.
Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan seemed to try to ease tensions with Trump, telling The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would step down as co-chairman of this July’s Republican Convention if that’s what Trump wants. “He’s the nominee. I will do whatever he wants with respect to the convention.”
Trump is also looking ahead, today naming former rival-turned-supporter Chris Christie to head the transition team for a potential administration.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang in Stone Ridge, Virginia.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It was an openly contentious day, as the fight intensified over a controversial state law in North Carolina, restricting bathroom use to one’s gender at birth.
Both the state’s governor and legislature sued the federal government, rejecting the Justice Department’s view that the law violates civil rights.
As we heard a few moments ago, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch vowed to stand by the transgender community.
We are joined now by North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory.
Governor McCrory, welcome.
GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), North Carolina: Thank you, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you for being with us.
You know what the attorney general said today. She said the Justice Department is going to take action to block implementation of this law. So, will you comply with that move by Justice? Or will you go ahead and try to continue to implement?
GOV. PAT MCCRORY: No, we’re actually taking them to court also.
And this is what we are seeking, is clarity in the judicial system to further define gender identity and gender identity’s usage in our restrooms in our high schools, our junior highs, our elementary schools, our universities and our highway rest stops.
We just — we are seeking basic clarity of this, because the executive branch doesn’t have the power to interpret law. That’s the power of the judicial branch. And that’s what we’re seeking.
But what the attorney general has done now with her new ruling is basically all employers in the United States of America and all universities in the United States of America, based upon her letter of interpretation, is saying that all employers must allow gender identity in the private sector for any employer over 15 employees.
That means a man who believes they’re a woman would be able to go into a woman’s restroom, locker room or shower facility. And that’s where the dispute is, and we’re asking for basic clarity of that. It is a very complex and emotional issue. And I think the courts are the right way to do it. And then, sooner or later, I think the U.S. Congress has got to get clarity on this whole issue also.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Governor, we will see how it plays out legally.
But I’m sure you heard the attorney general say today — she said this amounts to state-sponsored discrimination. She compared it to the Jim Crow laws of decades ago, wherein African-American, black Americans were not allowed to use restrooms that white people were. She said this is harming innocent people.
GOV. PAT MCCRORY: That’s extremely divisive rhetoric and dangerous rhetoric, which is totally be related to an issue on whether a male or female should use a male bathroom or a female restroom.
In fact, my chief of staff, whose father was a civil rights pioneer in Durham, where the attorney general also grew up, we were watching that together. And he went, don’t — don’t go there. There is absolutely no connection.
This is an issue which is really about privacy vs. equality and that balance. And people have an expectation of privacy, according to many of our citizens, not just in North Carolina, but, again, this is now going to be a nationwide issue. When you go to a restroom or to a locker room or to a shower facility, there is an expectation of privacy, that the only other people in that room, in a very private moment, I might add, will be people of the same gender.
And we have got to resolve this very complex and new issue that was actually brought up by the left, political left, not the political right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Governor — Governor, as I’m sure you also know, what the transgender community would argue is that their privacy is at stake as well.
And we heard the attorney general say, she said — and I guess this is the language in the lawsuit — they say this is causing transgender people to suffer emotional harm, mental anguish, distress, humiliation, indignity.
Do you acknowledge that there is that effect from this law?
GOV. PAT MCCRORY: I acknowledge we need to work this out. And what we do in North Carolina and what many states are doing right now — I think over 27 other states have almost identical laws as North Carolina, so this is not just a North Carolina issue — is, we — I actually encourage other types of arrangements for people of transgender.
It might be a unisex restroom or shower facility that is not in a multipurpose area, to respect both the unique needs of a transgender or to meet the unique needs of girls and boys and men and women and their families, which are the norms that we have been using in America for generations. It is a very complex issue.
I’m extremely sensitive to people’s gender identity, which is a brand-new term in the last several years. But they are now interpreting, not only gender identity. There’s a new term, gender expression, which has not been clearly defined. And we need to get that definition. And I don’t think it’s the executive branch’s role to define that.
I think that belongs either in the courts. Or, frankly, I think the U.S. Congress needs to quit ignoring this issue. And, by the way, I’m talking to my Republicans. I think they need to get clarity on this issue for all of the nation and all employers.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Governor McCrory, do you know anyone who is transgender, and, if so, what have they said to you about this?
GOV. PAT MCCRORY: You know, different reactions. Some of the transgender community that I have talked to is frankly upset that the political left brought this up, because they didn’t think there was much of a problem.
I didn’t know — we weren’t having a problem in North Carolina until the city of Charlotte, before that, the city of Houston, brought up a mandate for all private sector employers. And I might add, just six months ago, the city of Houston rejected by a 61 percent of the vote of the people a similar mandate.
And no one, including the attorney general, attacked the city of Houston. But, for some reason, they’re now attacking the state where she grew up in. And, again, this is not just a North Carolina issue. This needs clarity by the courts and by the U.S. Congress.
I don’t think we should have different anti-discrimination laws relating to this across the nation. I think this is a federal issue, as most discrimination laws are. And I think we need consistency. And this is where the courts need to step in. And I am very, very sensitive to all sides of this issue.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Very quickly, Governor, we have just a few seconds left. We know that a number of businesses have expressed their unhappiness about this, said that they’re either not going to move to the state or they’re not going to bring events to the state. How big a hit are you prepared to take to see North Carolina take financially?
GOV. PAT MCCRORY: Well, that’s why I am taking it to the courts.
We are had one business, PayPal, which, by the way, does business in Sudan, and Iran and Saudi Arabia, where the gay and lesbian community is not welcomed at all. In fact, they are killed. So there is a little selective hypocrisy by one or two companies.
But we want to work with the private sector. And, again, this is not just a North Carolina issue. This is going to be an issue for the entire United States, and I think the federal government does need to step in through the courts or through the U.S. Congress and give us all clarity in not only state government, but local governments throughout the United States.
JUDY WOODRUFF: North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, we thank you.
GOV. PAT MCCRORY: Thank you very much, Judy.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And I’m Hari Sreenivasan. Gwen is away this week.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On the “NewsHour” tonight: North Carolina sues the federal government to protect a controversial bathroom law. The U.S. attorney general vows the Department of Justice stands with the transgender community.
We talk with North Carolina’s governor, Pat McCrory.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And it’s Politics Monday. The general election has all but started, yet both parties brace for contentious conventions.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Also ahead this Monday, 20 years after a brutal and bloody civil war, how Bosnia is reconciling with its Muslim population.
MILORAD DODIK, President, Republika Srpska (through interpreter): What we can do is to ensure that we don’t behave in an inhumane way. Regardless of our religion, nationality and ideology, we shouldn’t harm each other.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
HARI SREENIVASAN: North Carolina refused today to stop enforcing a law that bars new protections for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.
Republican Governor Pat McCrory announced he won’t comply with a Justice Department demand. Instead, McCrory announced he’s suing the Justice Department, and he accused the Obama administration of overreaching.
GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), North Carolina: I do not agree with their interpretation of federal law. We believe a court, rather than a federal agency, should tell our state, our nation and employers across the country what the law requires.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In Washington, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Justice is filing its own civil rights suit against the state. She said restricting bathroom access for transgender people is state-sponsored discrimination.
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. Attorney General: None of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insist that a person pretend to be something or someone that they are not or invents a problem that doesn’t exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment.
HARI SREENIVASAN: We will have an interview with Governor McCrory right after the news summary.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Cooler temperatures and light rain brought some relief to the fire zone around Fort McMurray, Canada. That gave officials a chance to get back into the devastated city and see the damage firsthand. More than 80,000 people have been evacuated and it’s unclear when they will be able to go home.
HARI SREENIVASAN: A tough-talking mayor has been elected president of the Philippines in today’s election. Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to wipe out corruption and kill criminals. He’s also raised eyebrows with sex jokes and foul language. Still, millions of Filipinos supported him in a bid for radical change after years of grinding poverty, poor services and insurgent violence.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In Brazil, the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff was put on hold today, at least temporarily. The head of the Lower House of Congress annulled April’s vote on impeachment charges two days before the Senate was to vote on suspending Rousseff. She reacted cautiously to the news.
PRESIDENT DILMA ROUSSEFF, Brazil (through interpreter): I have just learned, the same way you have, that an injunction has been accepted and that, therefore, the process has been suspended. But I don’t have this information officially. I am speaking here because I could not in any way pretend I wasn’t aware of the same thing you are. But it is not official. I do not know the consequences.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The issue may now return to the Lower House of Brazil’s Congress, delaying the impeachment process by days or weeks.
HARI SREENIVASAN: North Korea’s supreme leader got a new title today, party chairman. The move came as the ruling Workers’ Party wrapped up its first congress in 36 years. State television showed the elaborate meeting, where Kim Jong-un pledged to further strengthen North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability in quality and quantity.
Also today, three BBC journalists were expelled from North Korea over their reporting.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, this was swearing-in day for Ferguson, Missouri’s first black police chief. Delrish Moss takes over a mostly white force in a city that’s two-thirds black. The killing of Michael Brown in 2014 led to federal findings of widespread racial bias and profiling by Ferguson police.
HARI SREENIVASAN: There’s word that poisonings from electronic cigarettes are surging among young children. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio says preschoolers can put e-cigarettes in their mouths and drink liquid nicotine. It causes vomiting and other symptoms. Cases surged from 14 a month in January of 2012 to 223 a month by last spring.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street’s week got off to a lackluster start. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 34 points to close below 17706. The Nasdaq rose 14 and the S&P 500 added a point.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And the planet Mercury made a rare transit across the face of the sun today. NASA animation depicted the tiny planet crossing between Earth and sun over seven-and-a-half-hours. The actual event, viewed by a satellite, showed Mercury as a black dot against the glowing solar surface. Mercury’s transit happens only about 13 times every 100 years.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: we talk with North Carolina’s governor about the federal fight to protect the state’s bathroom law; Donald Trump’s battle to unite the Republican Party; Saudi Arabia ousts the most powerful man in oil; and much more.
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North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday filed a lawsuit to stop the Department of Justice from blocking the state’s controversial bathroom law, saying that it was up to Congress and the courts to “clarify” federal discrimination guidelines.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in North Carolina, came hours after the Justice Department sued the state over the law, which bars transgender people from using public restrooms.
In an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff on Monday, McCrory said in filing the lawsuit the state was “seeking clarity in the judicial system to further identify gender identity, and gender identity’s usage” in determining access to public bathrooms.
“It’s a very complex and emotional issue and I think the courts are the right way to do it,” McCrory said.
McCrory, a Republican who is up for re-election this year, and other supporters of the law have argued that it protects the privacy of people who do not want to share a public bathroom with a transgender person.
The state legislature passed the law, known as House Bill 2, in March in response to a measure enacted by the city of Charlotte that allowed transgender and gay people to use public restrooms of their choice.
The law sparked a fierce debate. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas embraced the law before dropping out of the presidential race last week. But the measure was slammed by critics in North Carolina and across the country — including the company PayPal, which canceled plans to open a new operations center in the state.
On Monday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in a separate federal court in North Carolina claiming that the law violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In a press conference, Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the law a “pretext for discrimination.”
“None of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity,” Lynch said.
But McCrory, in the PBS NewsHour interview, disagreed, saying Lynch’s argument was couched in “extremely divisive rhetoric, and dangerous rhetoric.”
“I acknowledge we need to work this out,” McCrory said, but “this needs clarity by the courts and the U.S. Congress.”
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It took a small army of seamstresses inside a warehouse in north Denver to create costumes for Opera Colorado’s latest production. But the fabric was unusually drab for the grandiose opera stage.
“Pretty much everything is black or gray,” says Ann Piano, Opera Colorado’s costume director.
The outfits were being constructed for the premiere of “The Scarlet Letter” — the classic novel about American Puritanism.
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote “The Scarlet Letter” in 1850. In it, the character of Hester Prynne wears a red letter ‘A’ on her clothing after being convicted of adultery and giving birth to a child while her husband is away. Her Puritan neighbors in 17th-century Boston scorn her and make her an outcast.
Composer Lori Laitman, who wrote the opera version of “The Scarlet Letter,” says it almost cried out for the opera treatment.
“First of all you’ve got this beautiful young woman who bears a child out of wedlock in Puritan society. I mean, already that’s pretty amazing and operatic.”
Laitman says she read the novel in high school but found it much more powerful as an adult. “It was so ahead of its time in showing how a woman could be mistreated by a community, and how they can recover,” she said.
David Mason, the Colorado poet who wrote the words for the opera, calls Hester one of the great feminist characters in all of literature — full of dignity and courage. He says the story feels perfectly relevant today, even though it depicts an era hundreds of years old.
“We are still in a time when we need to see figures like that,” Mason said. “And we need to understand what it is that confronts them and oppresses them in our culture. We’re not as far removed from Puritanism as we might want to be.”
Opera Colorado’s creative team decided in 2010 they wanted to put “The Scarlet Letter” onstage. Greg Carpenter, Opera Colorado’s general director, says they’d been looking for a work to premiere. “The Scarlet Letter,” he says, had the right elements: a subject that would resonate with the audience and accessible music.
Three years later Opera Colorado was set to bring “The Scarlet Letter” to the stage in spring 2013. But a few months before opening night the company revealed it had a budget shortfall of about $700,000. Opera Colorado was struggling. That’s not unusual in the opera world, where fundraising generally pays for more than half the cost of a production.
Carpenter says the math was simple. Most classic operas cost about $750,000 for four shows. The Scarlet Letter would cost about $1 million. That price tag includes new costumes, the new set and the composer’s fee.
So the company decided to postpone it and raise money to stabilize the company’s finances, said Carpenter. Even during the delay, some big supporters remained enthusiastic about the opera. Carpenter says there are donors who like funding a classic opera like “The Magic Flute” or “The Barber of Seville.”
“But if you give them an exciting project to buy into, like ‘The Scarlet Letter,'” he said, “suddenly they take a sense of ownership and pride in it. And that inspires them to a new level of generosity.”
That generosity doesn’t surprise Marc Scorca. He runs Opera America, a nonprofit that supports opera companies and fosters new productions. Scorca says there’s real interest among donors to help premiere new works that speak to contemporary audiences. The new opera “JFK” just premiered in Fort Worth and Stephen King’s “The Shining” debuted at Minnesota Opera.
“Some people use the word renaissance, but renaissance implies a rebirth,” said Scorca, “whereas this is in fact a bona fide birth.”
Opera America maintains a list of North American opera premieres since the 19th century. Eleven American operas debuted in 1995. That number was 29 a decade later, and it jumped to 44 in 2015.
Opera Colorado also has newfound confidence. Carpenter says they’re already looking at more new works — including a production next year that explores transgender issues. “We’ve taken a whole new view of who we want to be and are not afraid to just stand out there and talk about it,” he said.
Listen: David Mason Talks to Colorado Public Radio
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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department says it won’t seek the death penalty against the suspected Libyan militant charged in the Benghazi attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
Federal officials announced their decision Tuesday in the case of Ahmed Abu Khattala.
His attorneys had implored the Justice Department to remove the death penalty as a possibility if Khattala is ultimately convicted at trial.
Khattala was captured by U.S. special forces in Libya two years ago and brought to the U.S. aboard a Navy ship.
He’s been awaiting trial in federal court in Washington in connection with the September 2012 attacks on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
Prosecutors have described him as a ringleader of the attacks, which quickly emerged as a divisive U.S. political flashpoint.
The post Benghazi attack suspect won’t face death penalty, says Justice Department appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Statistics wins the day! NASA has confirmed 1,284 new exoplanets, the largest number ever announced at once, thanks to an innovative math formula.
The algorithm sifts through data collected by the Kepler telescope, NASA’s exoplanet observatory, and separates exoplanets circling around foreign stars from false positives. The innovative approach doubles the number of verified exoplanets, raising the tally to more than 3,200.
Most of the newly verified planets fall into the categories of super-Earth (radius 1.2-1.9 times bigger than Earth’s) or sub-Neptune (radius 1.9-3.1 times bigger than Earth’s). But more than 100 of the fresh exoplanets are Earth-sized.
“Planet candidates can be thought of like bread crumbs,” study leader and Princeton University astrophysicist Timothy Morton said during a press conference. “If you drop a few large crumbs on the floor, you can pick them up one by one. But, if you spill a whole bag of tiny crumbs, you’re going to need a broom. This statistical analysis is our broom.”
The analysis works by finding impostors. The Kepler telescope is essentially a $600 million shadow spotter. The spacecraft stares at stars and waits for objects to cross their path. These objects cast silhouettes or eclipses, which are recorded as drops in starlight.
Here’s the problem. Planets aren’t the only things that get in the way. Brown dwarfs or low-mass stars might slide by…or the star might be grazed by a neighboring star. As a result, past surveys of Kepler data relied on follow-up analysis by ground-based telescopes, which is expensive and time-consuming.
The new algorithm is trained to spot the silhouette patterns associated with false positives buried inside Kepler’s data trove. In the end, the researcher can gauge the probability of whether a silhouette was created by a wayward brown dwarf or an exoplanet — with greater than 99 percent reliability.
“They say not to count our chickens before they’re hatched, but that’s exactly what these results allow us to do based on probabilities that each egg (candidate) will hatch into a chick (bona fide planet),” study co-author Natalie Batalha, a Kepler mission scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
Today’s announcement is the first scientific update since the Kepler telescope unexpectedly entered “emergency mode” on April 8. The incident happened right before a maneuver to point the spacecraft toward the center of the Milky Way galaxy. NASA recovered the 600 million dollar space observatory within three days, But the cause remains unknown.
The time saved by skipping the extra step of ground-based confirmation could be huge for Kepler’s objective of finding habitable Earth-sized planets before the mission ends September 2017, Batalha said. The Kepler mission has discovered 2,325 of the verified exoplanets.
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Paul Hertz, astrophysics division director at NASA headquarters in Washington, agreed and said that the algorithm could aid Kepler’s successors, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the James Webb Space Telescope. TESS, due to launch in 2017, will track more than 200,000 stars at a time in search of the exoplanet eclipses. James Webb will hit the skies a year later and will be able to analyze the outer atmospheres of exoplanets. The ultimate goal is to study this light and look for hints of water vapor and other atmospheric ingredients needed for life, Hertz said.
“One of the great questions of all time is whether we’re alone in the universe. We live in a time when science can answer this question,” Hertz said.
The exoplanet-hunting algorithm was published today in The Astrophysical Journal.
The post NASA’s Kepler mission doubles tally of exoplanets by weeding out impostors appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s first-in-the-nation requirement that fetuses receive anesthesia or painkillers before some abortions takes effect Tuesday, but doctors say it’s unnecessary and impossible to comply with.
The law requires pain relief for a fetus before any abortion at 20 weeks of gestation or later, based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that stage.
Doctors say such pain relief is futile, and there is no science or medicine laying out how they’re supposed to administer it.
“The pain doesn’t exist, so I can’t make it go away,” said David Turok of the University of Utah’s obstetrics and gynecology department.
They hope the steps they already take to alleviate a woman’s pain during an abortion will be enough to satisfy the law.
The governor signed the measure this year after lawmakers argued the possibility of a fetus in distress made it important to act.
“If a child can experience pain, we have an obligation to protect that child,” said Republican state Sen. Curt Bramble, who sponsored the law.
No legal challenge has been filed over the law, but abortion providers and abortion-rights activists say that might be because no patient attempting to have an abortion has been forced to undergo some new kind of anesthesia or painkilling treatment.
Women undergoing an abortion after 20 weeks usually have at least moderate sedation, but there’s no science or medical standard for eliminating pain felt by a fetus, said Leah Torres, a Salt Lake City obstetrician-gynecologist.
Torres went to legislators, the governor’s office and the attorney general’s office seeking an explanation on what treatment she’s supposed to give under the new law. She said they recommended she consult an attorney.
“I have no choice but to cross my fingers and hope that what I’m doing already is in compliance, because I don’t know what they’re talking about,” she said.
Bramble said it’s not the Legislature’s job to tell a doctor how to comply with the law, which would apply to less than 1 percent of all abortions performed in the state.
“We don’t tell a general contractor how to build a house, but we tell them what the standards are if they’re going to build a house,” he said.
Bramble originally sought to ban all abortions after 20 weeks but abandoned the idea after legislative attorneys warned him it would likely be unconstitutional. Courts across the U.S. have ruled that under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, women have a constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb, generally around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Doctors with the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah think they can safely offer women pain relief without risking their health or curtailing their ability to have an abortion, so it wasn’t worth the time, money and effort to challenge the law in court, said organization CEO Karrie Galloway.
“It’s a bogus law,” Galloway said. “I’m sorry about it, but I can’t take on every silly thing that people do.”
The law does not apply to abortions performed to save the mother’s life; abortions where the fetus has a defect that two doctors agree is lethal; or abortions where two doctors agree that giving a woman anesthesia or painkillers would risk her life or cause critical health problems.
No other U.S. state has such as law, according to the nonprofit abortion-rights group Guttmacher Institute. Montana lawmakers passed a similar measure in 2015, but the state’s Democratic governor vetoed it.
Utah already had a law on the books giving women the option of anesthesia or painkillers for a fetus before any abortion after 20 weeks. There’s no data on how many women opted for it or how it was administered.
President of Pro-Life Utah Mary Taylor supports the law but said she would have preferred it banned abortions beginning at the point when a fetus feels pain, which she thinks is earlier than 20 weeks.
“We do believe it has opened up a discussion and maybe promoted some awareness into the subject of fetal pain,” Taylor said. “That would be the biggest benefit.”
The post Utah abortion providers stumped by law requiring fetal pain relief appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Tuesday demanded an explanation from Facebook after reports that former company staffers excluded links to conservative political stories. A senior Facebook executive said the company has found no evidence to back up the anonymous allegations.
In a letter to chairman and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, South Dakota Sen. John Thune requested information on who at the company made the decisions on stories for Facebook’s Trending Topics feature, what training is provided to employees, whether the company is investigating and what steps it will take to hold people accountable.
“If Facebook presents its Trending Topics section as a result of a neutral, objective algorithm, but it is in fact subjective and filtered to support or suppress particular political viewpoints, Facebook’s assertion that it maintains ‘a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum’ misleads the public,” wrote Thune, who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
He asked for answers by May 24.
News reports say employees excluded links to stories they considered less reliable in its list of trending stories, though individuals could post links to conservative stories on their own Facebook feeds.
Tom Stocky, Facebook vice president of search, said his team is responsible for the Trending Topics and that the company has “found no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true.”
“There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality,” Stocky wrote. “These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or one news outlet over another. These guidelines do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in Trending Topics.”
Adam Jentleson, an aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., maintained there are more pressing priorities than the Facebook issue.
“The Republican Senate refuses to hold hearings on (Supreme Court nominee) Judge (Merrick) Garland, refuses to fund the president’s request for Zika aid and takes the most days off of any Senate since 1956, but thinks Facebook hearings are a matter of urgent national interest,” Jentleson said. “The taxpayers who pay Republican senators’ salaries probably want their money back.”
The post Senate Republicans ask Facebook to explain reports it excluded conservative topics appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — In suing her home state for discriminating against transgender people, Attorney General Loretta Lynch invoked the defining civil rights struggles of the last century and made clear that the federal government sees its dispute with North Carolina as about far more than bathrooms and showers.
Lynch, a native North Carolinian and the first black woman to run the Justice Department, elevated the profile of her agency’s clash with North Carolina over its new bathroom law by placing it in the context of America’s Jim Crow era — when signs above water fountains and restaurants fostered race discrimination — as well as more recent efforts to deny gay couples the right to marry.
“Instead of turning away from our neighbors, friends and colleagues, let us instead learn from our history and avoid repeating the mistakes of our past,” Lynch directly addressed North Carolina residents during her news conference Monday announcing the lawsuit. “Let us reflect on the obvious but neglected lesson that state-sanctioned discrimination never looks good and never works in hindsight.”
Her remarks, in unusually forceful and personal language, came as North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory refused to back down over the state law requiring transgender people to use the public restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate. The Justice Department says the measure violates civil rights laws and seeks a court order to block it.
He said it was a historic moment to have the attorney general stand behind a podium and offer transgender people such affirmation.
“That sort of acknowledgment and validation is huge when the other side is saying: ‘you’re nobody. You’re making all this up,'” he said.
Billions of dollars in aid for North Carolina are up in the air, and there’s the potential for a landmark decision regarding the reach of the nation’s civil rights laws.
A judge could hear arguments in the competing cases within weeks as North Carolina seeks to stop the government from temporarily blocking the law or stripping away funding. And appeals to higher courts are likely, said Rena Lindevaldsen, a Liberty University law professor specializing in family and constitutional law.
“This seems like the kind of thing that’s on track for the Supreme Court,” Lindevaldsen said.
Monday’s actions carry immediate practical impact, moving the debate into the courtroom and potentially putting on notice other states that in recent months have proposed similar laws limiting protections for gay, bisexual and transgender people.
In addition, the U.S. Education Department and other federal agencies could ultimately try to cut off money to North Carolina to force compliance.
The measure took effect in March, passed to override a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to their chosen gender identity.
Since then, the state has been riven by business cancellations and boycotts from music stars such as Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam. Nearly 200 corporate leaders from across the country, including Charlotte-based Bank of America, have urged the measure’s repeal. Contentious debate about the law has divided not only North Carolina residents but also public officials; state attorney general Roy Cooper, a Democrat running against McCrory for governor, has refused to defend it.
The Justice Department last week gave McCrory until Monday to say he would refuse to enforce the law. Instead, he doubled down by suing the federal government for a “baseless and blatant overreach” and later criticized Lynch for language he said was divisive.
“This is not a North Carolina issue. It is now a national issue,” said McCrory, a Republican up for re-election in November.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory discussed the new state bathroom law on the PBS NewsHour on Monday.
The state university system risks losing more than $1.4 billion in federal funds. An additional $800 million in federally backed loans for students who attend the public universities could also be at risk.
Lynch sought to frame the lawsuit as part of a broader conversation about civil rights and equality. She likened her agency’s involvement in the North Carolina law to the shifting expansion of civil rights that scrapped legal racial segregation and prohibitions against gay marriage.
“This is about the dignity and the respect that we accord our fellow citizens,” Lynch said. “It’s about the founding ideals that have led this country, haltingly but inexorably in the direction of fairness, inclusion and equality for all Americans.”
Mara Keisling, the director of the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, said the “silver lining to this very dark cloud” is that the dialogue is “turning into one of the most important educational moments we’ve ever had.”
“All they had to do was just leave us out of their political machinations. We didn’t do anything to anybody,” Keisling said, referring to North Carolina elected officials. “Trans people in North Carolina were just happily going about their business.”
The post Attorney General Lynch tells transgender community ‘we see you’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
In 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.
In this increasingly fast-paced world, it can sometimes be hard to appreciate the beauty and complexity of nature. But one German research team decided to slow things down with high-speed cameras in order to capture the impressive gymnastic feats of tree frogs.
The “NewsHour”‘s Julia Griffin explains.
JULIA GRIFFIN: The toe pads of an Amazon milk frog can hold up to 14 times the animal’s body weight. That’s like an average American man holding a Honda Civic with his toes.
Amazon milk frogs live in the trees of South American rain forests. Like most tree frogs, they have adhesive toe pads made of hexagonal cells and mucus that allow them to cling to surfaces.
Researchers at Kiel University in Germany found the frogs can swing from a branch with just one toe, which, when it makes contact, doesn’t slip. The frogs then use a variety of acrobatic maneuvers to slow their momentum.
Having multiple landing techniques is important, because missing your mark 30 feet up in the air could mean death for a tree frog, though, sometimes, a belly flop is still the best bet.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Julia Griffin.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We can all aspire to do this.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Yes.
The post Why the Amazon milk frog is the world’s greatest gymnast appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We head now to Northern Minnesota, where new technology has renewed a battle over mining a vast mineral deposit.
From Iowa Public TV’s program “Market to Market,” Joshua Buettner has the story.
JOSH BUETTNER: Last fall, demonstrators pressured Minnesota’s Saint Louis County Board to publicly acknowledge a proposed copper-nickel sulfide mine would threaten the health of their local watershed.
WOMAN: It’s crazy to clean the river, only to allow it to be polluted again.
MAN: Mining is less than 1 percent of Minnesota’s economy.
JOSH BUETTNER: Opponents allege newly unearthed sulfur-bearing rock will create acid mine drainage, diluting previous efforts to restore the Saint Louis River, a waterway once crippled by iron ore pollution.
Since 2008, applications to conduct exploratory drilling have surged in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. And Toronto, Canada-based PolyMet Mining Corporation is first in line to unlock precious metals from the Duluth complex, a vast mineral deposit in the Arrowhead of Minnesota.
Mining proponents say geologists have known about the formation for over 60 years, but new technology will allow excavation of four billion tons of raw material worth an estimated $1 trillion.
LATISHA GIETZEN, PolyMet: It’s kind of a closed loop system.
JOSH BUETTNER: Latisha Gietzen, director of public affairs for PolyMet, says new mining techniques and rehabilitated infrastructure will mitigate past damages.
LATISHA GIETZEN: Because we’re using a Legacy site, we will actually be able to clean up some of the issues that are currently going on and bring modern technology to the process.
JOSH BUETTNER: Additionally, corporate officials say any water released from their proposed NorthMet site will be treated to meet state and federal guidelines.
But, for some, the mining industry’s track record is suspect. A well-established hub for agriculture, forestry and mining exports, the Port of Duluth sits between the contested estuary and Lake Superior. Ships from North America’s furthest inland port traditionally transported taconite, a mineral used to make steel, to mills around the Great Lakes Rust Belt and the world.
The finite resource is mined exclusively in the state’s Mesabi Iron Range. In the 1980s, two steel making facilities on the banks of the Saint Louis River became so polluted, they became qualified for EPA’s Superfund program.
With corporate- and taxpayer-funded cleanup continuing today, environmentalists such as Aaron Klemm fear relapse.
MAN: This river has been designated as one of the top 10 most endangered rivers in the United States.
JOSH BUETTNER: Though the battle is not over, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently gave its final blessing to the NorthMet site.
Natural PolyMet’s Latisha Gietzen says the company will comply with the new mining requirements.
LATISHA GIETZEN: It has been proven that we can meet water quality standards, both surface and ground water, here at the site. If we can’t show that through environmental review and permitting, we won’t get a permit to operate.
JOSH BUETTNER: PolyMet expects to produce 3.6 billion pounds of copper equivalent over 20 years.
At 32,000 tons of ore per day, that’s a fraction of the 100,000 tons of taconite that once rolled through daily. But the bounty on precious metals far outweighs that of low-grade ores. During a decade-long process, PolyMet has jumped through various state and federal hoops described as the most stringent in the world.
Project backers say copper and nickel, chief components in cell phones, hybrid car batteries, solar panels and wind turbines, are essential building blocks for a high-tech clean-energy future, a future some say the U.S. should secure now, before less climate-minded competitors, like China, are allowed to dominate the market.
State senator David Tomassoni backs the project and says Minnesota’s environmental regulations will protect its citizens.
DAVID TOMASSONI, Minnesota State Senator: Minnesota’s laws are the strictest in the country when it comes to the environment. And, plus, we live here. We live here, we play here, we drink the water, we breathe the air. We want this to be done right, and it will be done right.
JOSH BUETTNER: PolyMet predicts roughly 1,000 direct and indirect jobs would result from its project, a forecast welcomed with open arms by some in a region sapped by economic slump.
Adding to layers of complexity, the NorthMet mine sits within territory ceded to the government by Native Americans. In 1854, the Lake Superior Chippewa entered into a treaty, giving the U.S. ownership of their lands in exchange for hunting, fishing and wild rice harvesting rights in perpetuity.
Wild rice is sacred to area tribes and protected by law.
Korey Northrup is a member of the Lake Superior Chippewa.
KOREY NORTHRUP, Font du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa: My main focus is making sure that the wild rice is protected. And we need to understand that, without water, there will be no life, including human life.
JOSH BUETTNER: PolyMet is confident it will meet standards for wild rice.
State Senator David Tomassoni says there has to be a happy medium between all parties.
DAVID TOMASSONI: You worry about the water, you worry about the rice, but you also worry about the jobs and the industries.
JOSH BUETTNER: Even though various national authorities have given the go-ahead, those opposed say corporate profits and tax revenues are the only thing PolyMet will dig up.
MAN: Protect. Don’t pollute.
JOSH BUETTNER: And the battle over risks and benefits will continue as rivals work their way through the scrutiny of precious metals development in Northern Minnesota.
MAN: That’s what we want for our Saint Louis River.
JOSH BUETTNER: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Josh Buettner in Duluth, Minnesota.
The post The battle for Minnesota’s $1 trillion mining jackpot appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Sunday morning, when churchgoers pile into the pews to hear sermons of love and tolerance, is one of the most segregated experiences in America. For more than three decades Rev. David Billings has been working to change that, tackling the difficult nuances of race and racism in America with his organization the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. They conduct workshops called Undoing Racism and provide training for employers, universities and other organizations that struggle with issues of diversity.
As part of our Race Matters Solutions series, NewsHour special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault talked with Billings about segregation and racism within the religious community.
In the past “white churches barred black people from attending,” he says. “But whites could always attend a black church. In fact they were welcomed.”
There may not be laws banning interracial churches today, but Billings says the climate of white churches can still make non-whites feel just as unwelcome. But he also says separate churches may not be such a bad thing. In fact, a church may be a “sanctuary” not just for religious reasons.
“Church was one place where black people had an hour or two free of white people,” Billings says. “The black community still needs time away from the dominant white culture. Some place where you can take a breath, without answering to whites.”
He uses himself as an analogy. “If you put [a white person like] me amidst of your church, I’m always going to be asking questions. I’m only going to say ‘I don’t think it’s that way,’ or ‘I’m not like that,'” he says. “So I become the center of attention, the attention comes back to me when those in the church want it to be their congregation.”
Diverse places of worship do exist throughout the country but Billing contends we still have a long way to go “because there’s still a false thought that this country has dealt with racism.” As part of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond’s work, Billing challenges communities and people to redefine racism.
“In this country people can just define racism anyway they want,” he says. “We say ‘no.’ You got to have a definition where it impacts where your organization is going. It has to include your race’s relationship to power in this country.”
Billings acknowledges that his own power stems from being a white man in a nation that he says was designed to benefit him above others. But as America becomes more diverse and the demand for equal opportunity grows, “some white people are feeling that we are not benefiting as much as we should,” he said. It’s a psychological dynamic he describes in his upcoming book, “Deep Denial.”
“Down deep in us, even for those of us who voted for President Obama or have colleagues that are part of our organization, there’s a degree to which we feel whites should be running things,” he says. “And when there isn’t, we get upset about it.”
READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW
HARI SREENIVASAN: But, first, we turn to our on going series Race Matters.
Last night, documentary film maker Ken Burns received the nation’s highest honor for intellectual achievement in the humanities. He delivered the annual Jefferson Lecture at the Kennedy Center, his focus, race in America.
Here, he addresses recent killings of young African-Americans.
KEN BURNS, Filmmaker: Like the amputated limb felt long after it has been cut off, I miss Trayvon Martin. I was once a 17-year-old who wore a hooded sweatshirt walking through unfamiliar neighborhoods, but I was never gunned down.
I miss Tamir Rice too. I was 11 once and played with plastic guns, but no cop ever shot me.
We are missing many hundreds, if not thousands, of African-Americans, lost only because of the color of their skin in just the last decade. Most of the occurrences we documented in our recent Jackie Robinson film, as Brough (ph) said — he crossed the color line, by the way, 69 years ago last month — are happening again in our present day: Confederate Flag issues, driving while black, stop and frisk, burned black churches, integrated suburban swimming pool problems, housing bias, racial taunts, cynical political calculations that ignore African-Americans, and a version of Black Lives Matter, to name just a few.
I do not believe, ladies and gentlemen, there is a hell, as most of our religions reliably report, just the one we humans make for ourselves and each other right here.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Now we continue with “NewsHour” special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s ongoing look at solutions to America’s enduring race problem.
Tonight, she talks with Reverend David Billings of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, an organization that assists other groups trying to overcome racism and its impact.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: We caught up with Reverend Billings at one of his organization’s workshops in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he and other trainers discuss their work against racism there and around the country.
WOMAN: We need to be continuing to do this organizing work.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: The institute has conducted over a half-million workshops with organizations and institutions ranging from hospitals, local and regional government, to prisons and churches, all dealing with how to identify and combat racism.
Reverend Billings, thank you for joining us.
REV. DAVID BILLINGS, People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond: Well, it’s my honor.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Your organization is over 30 years old, and it was founded to combat racism, among other things. How do you define racism?
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: We define it as race prejudice, plus power.
Individual racism, like how we feel about each other and what we might call each other, is just a byproduct of an arrangement that goes all the way back before the nation’s founding.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: What do you mean?
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: One of the founders’ greatest fears was that poor Europeans who’d come over here as indentured, there was a great a fear that they would join up with the Africans who were being enslaved and indigenous people and overthrow before they even got started.
So, it would be the creation of race that will compromise poor and what we today we’d call working-class whites. And it makes us hesitant, has always made us hesitant to organize with people of color, especially black people.
This country constantly and still does treats racism as it were just a matter of personal relationships. And it’s not, you know? That’s why so many of us who are white can say, well, I’m not racist, you know, I have got friends who are black, all the sort of things.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: But there were Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act. Didn’t that change things a little bit?
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: Oh, it changed — you know, they had great impact, the Voting Rights Act and everything, but we have to — we are fighting today to preserve it.
At the People’s Institute, I will speak to people that are white like me. There’s a bitterness, there’s an anger about equal rights, you know?
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: You experience that? People tell you that?
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
When we first started, no systems were asking us to work with them. None of the great systems like universities or hospitals or health care would even admit that racism was an issue for them.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Tell me what you and your organization are doing.
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: We get invited now to be a part of symposiums, to be a part of long-term organizing effort within — given large systems to work with them for a period of months, even years, to analyze how race and racism is impacting their outcomes, their work.
And it’s taking off all around the country. We start off, usually, with a small group of people within a larger system who say, we want to go through one of the undoing racism workshops, because the purpose of the undoing racism workshop is to eventually be the foundation for a longer organizing effort within the institution, understanding racism, its history, you know, its impact today, and how the nation is as it changes, how the racism begins to resist the structural racism, begins to resist societal change.
We do an ongoing community organizing/undoing racism workshop, because it takes us a year or two to cover, say, hundreds of people in the schools of social work of New York City, and we work with every one of them.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: And you find that these people don’t know about race?
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: Yes.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: And what do you find?
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: What we find is that people understand race, but they don’t understand organizing.
You can’t teach racism away. A lot of us think you can. You can’t legislate it away, as important as the Voting Rights Act and things like that are. There’s not one institution in this country where they can say: There’s no racism here. We have solved it.
I come out of the church. You would think the church would be in the lead around tackling racism.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Are white churches doing what they should be doing? I know we’re generalizing, but in general?
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: Very few. Very few, maybe less than there were a generation ago.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: I think just about everybody agrees there’s a very toxic atmosphere today. Are you getting more people coming to you or fewer?
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: Yes, we are getting more.
But I — I hear your question. It’s usually, like, people will say, well, you’re speaking to the choir. And we say, yes, but the choir has to practice every Wednesday night, you know? That’s what you got to do. You got to keep going at it.
And if we’re to confront the racism that is out there in this country, we have to — to have our act together. We have got to know what we are doing.
We’re hopeful. You have got to stay hopeful to do this work.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So, what’s the solution?
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: You have got to keep the work going. You have got to transfer it.
I’m other — hopeful is that — see, white kids need to be taught very early on. We have to quit protecting white people, even white children, about the realities of race in this country. You know, children are very conscious and in tune with things being fair. You will hear, that’s not fair. You know, we’re talking a brother and sister.
Well, those children are — could be — you know, will understand race. They will understand all of these things. They are not given the opportunity because we protect our children as whites, you know, that that will somehow make them feel bad. I think it’ll make them feel good, because it’ll help them explain some things.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Well, Reverend Billings, thank you for joining us.
REV. DAVID BILLINGS: Thank you for having me.
HARI SREENIVASAN: You can see more our Race Matters reporting on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.
Plus, tune in later tonight. On “Point Taken,” they explore the question, should the U.S. pay reparations to African-Americans?
The post The challenge of understanding the full dynamics of racism in 2016 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A new report due out later this week from the National Institute on Early Education Research finds that a number of states are struggling to find ways to improve access to high quality pre-kindergarten.
Tonight, we look at a unique approach taken by a preschool in Seattle, Washington. It’s giving children life lessons that go beyond the classroom, and providing a unique opportunity to seniors.
Special correspondent Cat Wise has our report. It’s part of our Making the Grade series on education that airs every Tuesdays.
MARY MCGOVERN, Resident, Providence Mount St. Vincent: What do you see?
CHILD: A brown bear.
CHILD: A brown bear.
CAT WISE: Mary McGovern is 95 years old, and one of her favorite things to do is read to toddlers.
MARY MCGOVERN: And what is that? A bird.
CHILD: A bird.
MARY MCGOVERN: A bird. What color is the bird?
MARY MCGOVERN: Red. Everybody knows that.
CAT WISE: Luckily for Mary, she doesn’t need to go any further than down the hall to find her young friends.
MARY MCGOVERN: Oh, see, look in here is the little kids in there.
CAT WISE: Oh, yes.
McGovern lives at Providence Mount St. Vincent, a nursing home in Seattle, Washington, that also houses a day care for children up to 5 years of age.
WOMAN: Thank you, honey. Thank you. There you go. Thank you very much.
CAT WISE: Every weekday, 500 residents are joined by 125 children in the facility affectionately called The Mount.
MAN: I see you.
Administrator Charlene Boyd:
CHARLENE BOYD, Administrator, Providence Mount St. Vincent: We wanted to create a place for people to come to live, and not come to die.
CAT WISE: So, in 1991, Boyd and other administrators added a high-quality preschool to the nursing home and created an intergenerational learning center, a community for the very old and very young.
Why is there is this railing here?
CHARLENE BOYD: This railing is here not for the kids, but it’s here for residents. And it’s a safety piece for a resident in a wheelchair to push themselves up and to hold on and to bring themselves to a standing position and watch the children through the window.
CAT WISE: So, they can stand here and look in?
CHARLENE BOYD: They can stand here and look in.
It’s putting high-quality child care in a setting that link old and young together, making the magic between these two ages together, bringing joy to the residents and joy to those young children. It’s just like this magical formula that happens every day.
WOMAN: Can I get a high-five? There. He knows how to do a high-five.
MARY MCGOVERN: Most of them, they’re curious about me. Why are you here? I tell them I’m here because, when I was living in my house, when I got too old, I wasn’t always walking straight, and sometimes I would fall. And if fell, I had to have some help to get up, because I couldn’t get off the floor.
I want to hug your baby doll.
MAUREEN MCGOVERN, Mary McGovern’s Daughter: I think there are things that both parties take away from the interactions. It’s not like a lifelong relationship, but just for that moment in time, they’re both enjoying each other’s company, and getting something out of their relationship with that person in that moment.
MARY MCGOVERN: Give me a hug. Come on.
CHARLENE BOYD: All of us have common needs to be recognized. All of us have common needs to be loved, and all of us have common needs to share life together. And so these children bring life and vibrancy and normalcy. It’s a gift. It’s a gift in exposing young families to positive aspects of aging, and it’s a gift of also having children seeing frailty, normalcy and that’s part of that full circle of life.
CAT WISE: Intergenerational activities can be spontaneous or planned, like this sing-a-long.
MARIE HOOVER, Intergenerational Learning Center: There’s 36 visit possible each week, so each classroom, six classrooms, has at least three visits, up to six visits.
CAT WISE: The director of the center, Marie Hoover, says children become comfortable with elderly residents at an early age.
MARIE HOOVER: Whether they’re in a wheelchair, or in a walker, or maybe they’re hard to understand, or you have to speak louder, it is just about who that individual is, and they adjust. The kids just don’t — they really don’t blink an eye. This is normal. This is just who this resident is.
CAT WISE: Ninety-three-year-old Harriet Thompson joined this sing-a-long on her way to the dining hall.
HARRIET THOMPSON, Resident, Providence Mount St. Vincent: I usually like to go sit down for a while before dinner, but I heard them singing, so in, we went.
CAT WISE: What do you experience internally when you’re around these children?
HARRIET THOMPSON: Happiness, just plain old happiness. You know, yes, it beats anything else. Beats television.
CHARLENE BOYD: Boredom and loneliness at sort of the plagues of older adults. There’s nothing more delightful than seeing young children with noise, with laughter. You see the residents, and they hear the sound of the kids coming down the hall, and it’s as though sunlight just came through the window.
HARRIET THOMPSON: I’m a great-great-grandmother, but they’re in another town. I can’t hold my own little girl because she’s far away. And so this is what makes me happy. You get to know them, and watch them, and act silly with them. And it’s good to feel like you’re 3 years old again.
CAT WISE: Teachers see similarities in the ways these two very different age groups communicate.
MARIE HOOVER: The brain of a toddler, and as somebody is beginning to have, you know, some signs of dementia, the brains are similar, and their development, or their decline, is similar.
CAT WISE: That was apparent in this art class, where resident John Goss, a retired surgeon, and 5-year-old William Kraynek (ph) teamed up as painting partners.
JOHN GOSS, Resident, Providence Mount St. Vincent: This is a junk brush?
CHILD: A giant.
JOHN GOSS: Giant, yes.
He’s operating on my plain, and I’m operating on his plain, and so we have an attachment. He helped me, and we were working together.
CHILD: I used blue, and he used blue, and I used green, and he used green.
JOHN GOSS: It’s wonderfully fun, because things come out of your hand, rather than your mouth.
MARIE HOOVER: The kids are certainly of that age where this there isn’t this sense of, oh, that’s weird or something to be scared of, and I think that’s happening on both sides of the age.
CHILD: What’s your name?
ANNIE CARTER, Resident, Providence Mount St. Vincent: Annie Carter.
CAT WISE: Later the same day, William Kraynek visited the skilled nursing section of The Mount to help make sandwiches for the homeless.
CHILD: I had three sandwiches.
ANNIE CARTER: Oh, I see.
CAT WISE: Here, William partnered with 92-year-old Annie Carter.
ANNIE CARTER: We just talk about our work, just like anybody else on a job. That’s our job, so we have to do the right thing.
WOMAN: This is Alex.
MAN: How you doing?
CAT WISE: How do the children deal with difficult situations, like a resident that might be declining or even death? How do the children deal with those situations?
MARIE HOOVER: Developmentally, it’s not really something they can conceptualize. Even our oldest kids, at 5, kids don’t quite get that whole death concept.
If the kids bring that up to the teachers, then the teacher’s response is going to be, I miss Mary too. What’s your favorite memory about what she did?
And those are the kinds of things they’re going to focus in on, as opposed to somebody died. They’re just not quite ready to get that concept.
CAT WISE: Child care at The Mount is competitively priced with similar high quality preschools in the area. Currently, 400 families are on the wait list.
Administrators believe The Mount’s model can be replicated across the country, and they expect interest to peak this summer, when a documentary featuring their work called “Present Perfect” is released.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Cat Wise in Seattle.
PBS NewsHour education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now back to the presidential campaign.
Donald Trump may be the presumptive Republican nominee, but he still has considerable work to do to bring essential elements of the GOP and the conservative movement on board to support him.
To explore that, we are joined now by two Republicans, Ken Cuccinelli, who until last week served as delegate operations director for the Ted Cruz campaign, and Corey Stewart, Virginia state campaign chair for Donald Trump.
And, gentlemen, we welcome you both to the program.
Ken Cuccinelli, let me start with you.
You worked your heart out for Ted Cruz. He dropped out. He is now today saying he’s ruling out a third-party bid. Where does this leave you?
KENNETH CUCCINELLI, Former Delegate Operations Director, Cruz Campaign: Well, you know, we were 15-1, but you have to go undefeated to be the nominee. And it’s disappointing.
Sometimes, I wonder if I’m watching my country commit political suicide. But, you know, there is five months until the election, and we will see how things go at the convention and we will see where things go between now and November.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, he didn’t entirely today, we noticed, rule out getting back in the race. Do you think that’s a possibility?
KENNETH CUCCINELLI: Not — not realistically, no. I think that was more along the lines of a statement of, if an asteroid hits New York City and Donald Trump is dead, then I will get back in the race.
But, short of that, no, this race is — we have hit the point where Trump is going to hit the 1,237 mark and get over the majority needed to be the nominee, and so that’s what I expect is going to happen. We still have other things to do. There’s always a debate about the platform. What does it — on an ideal day, what does it mean to be a Republican?
And we also want to recover — and I think this is an area where Cruz and Trump delegates may have a lot in common — we want to recover these rules back from the establishment and return them much more to the grassroots than they have been structured today and than they have been for decades.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, and I do want to ask you about that in a moment.
But, Corey Stewart, let me turn to you. What do you say? You have been supporting Donald Trump for months now. What do you say to conservatives who are still struggling with whether or not Donald Trump is really a conservative who believes what they do?
COREY STEWART, Virginia State Chairman, Trump Campaign: Well, he is a conservative. We stand by a conservative platform at the convention.
If the Cruz supporters would like to strengthen it, we will support that. In fact, there are some parts of the platform we would like to make stronger, especially on illegal immigration. And I think where there could be some disagreement is perhaps on international trade. We don’t feel that the TPP, or the TTIP, or some of the past international trade agreements have been fair to American workers and American small businesses.
But, overall, I think we are going to have a lot of agreement with other conservatives in the party.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s interesting you point those things out,, because, as you know, in the last few days, there has been a lot of attention on some of Mr. Trump’s statements. People are saying, well, just how conservative is he, because he’s come out with positions on trade, on issues like Social Security where — that really not I think what people view as part of the conservative orthodoxy?
How do you — how are you, yourself, how comfortable are you when you hear him, say, take positions where aren’t necessarily where maybe you thought conservatives were?
COREY STEWART: Well, I think there is a question, well, what is conservative?
I mean, Donald Trump, he is pro-life. He’s conservative on the social issues. He’s conservative on taxation. He’s conservative on releasing, you know — on deregulation and making it easier for small business people. So, I mean, but, look, if we attack some of these agreements, TTIP and TPP, that are hollowing out the manufacturing sector in America…
JUDY WOODRUFF: These are some of the agreements the Obama administration has worked on.
COREY STEWART: Right, some of the international trade agreements that are really hurting American workers.
And what is — I don’t consider that conservative or liberal. It’s just common sense. We need to protect our own workers and our own businesses.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ken Cuccinelli, how conservative is Donald Trump?
KENNETH CUCCINELLI: Well, I mean, I appreciate Corey’s comments, but I don’t think it’s really accurate to characterize him as a conservative.
This is someone who has spoken about higher taxes and higher minimum wage being enforced from the federal level. And maybe he is supportive today of socially conservative positions, but it’s hard to have a lot of faith in that, given the history.
And so it’s one of those things where actions are going to speak louder than some words, and that’s going to take some time to see and to develop, and as the campaign progresses. So we will — you know, a lot of us are just hanging back, not casting judgment on him as a nominee at this point.
But, as I told Corey Lewandowski when I talked to him this weekend, is, we really want the see overlap on positions and on beliefs and some credibility put behind those positions, that we can rely on them. This is a — to put it in Trump-ese, this is the deal. You want me to vote for you, and that comes first. And what I get is the positions when you’re president. That comes second.
And so there’s no taking my vote back in November. So, in addition to taking conservative positions, not just calling things conservative and declaring it to be so, actual movement conservative positions, then you have got to back it up.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
KENNETH CUCCINELLI: And one good way to back it up is with personnel who you say is going to implement any particular given policy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And I should say, Corey Lewandowski being the campaign manager.
COREY STEWART: The other Corey.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The other Corey in all this.
KENNETH CUCCINELLI: Yes, yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Corey Stewart, what about the points that we just heard from Ken Cuccinelli, that Mr. Trump has made statements about higher taxes on the wealthy, on raising the minimum wage? I mean, are those positions you think he’s going to stay with?
COREY STEWART: Well, I think what you’re going the find is, Donald Trump is going to be a lot more conservative than the Republican Party has been in the past.
Take illegal immigration. The party has said for years and years that they’re for a secure border, but no presidential candidate has — on the Republican side has taken such a strong position on both internal enforcement of our immigration laws and on the border.
And the reason he’s doing that and the reason he’s doing so well among blue-collar workers — and he’s tied with Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, something no Republican candidate has done in recent history — is because he’s doing this to protect American workers and American jobs.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you’re saying that it’s OK if he takes some of these other positions when it comes to minimum wage, when it comes to higher taxes on the wealthy, because he’s expanding the pie, so to speak, of the voters he can attract to vote for him in the Republican Party?
COREY STEWART: Well, I think the important thing to recognize is that he is anti-tax. He’s going to keep taxes low on business. He understands, as a businessperson, that for business will thrive in America, one, you have got to protect it from unfair trade practices from China and elsewhere.
Two, you have got to have low taxation. You have got to have low regulation. He’s for all of those things. And he’s also for protecting American jobs.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, if that’s the case, Ken Cuccinelli, is that a package that you can — a deal, I should say, that you can live with?
KENNETH CUCCINELLI: Yes, if all of those things hold up, I think that’s going the make a lot of conservatives a lot more comfortable.
I think the challenge is that a lot of us in the last 10 months feel like those positions have waxed and waned and come and gone and changed today and been different tomorrow. And we’re going to want to see some consistency through the battle now with Hillary Clinton without moving those positions, along the lines of what you heard Corey just describe.
That kind of consistency is one way that he can start to make conservatives comfortable pulling the lever for Donald Trump.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Corey Stewart, do you expect Donald Trump will be consistent on these things?
COREY STEWART: Absolutely. He is.
If you go back to interviews of Donald Trump from back in the 1980s, he’s been talking about a stronger border. He’s been talking about being better to business and protecting American workers since the 1980s. He’s as constant as the Northern Star on these issues.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ken Cuccinelli, you — you’re laughing now. Why?
KENNETH CUCCINELLI: Look, I appreciate what Corey Stewart has to say, but consistency has not been a hallmark when it comes to policy of Donald Trump.
I mean, take taxes. Take minimum wage. Take abortion. Take gay marriage. It’s a long and varying list. And even immigration, where he made his first mark in the presidential campaign, is not — he is not today — and I basically appreciate where I think he is today — in the same place where he has been in the past.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And is this just quickly, just quickly, Ken Cuccinelli, something you plan to argue at the convention rules committee?
KENNETH CUCCINELLI: No. No.
I think that Corey’s point about platform and strengthening the party position on illegal immigration is one there will be a lot of agreement on. But let’s face it. The platform is a statement of ideals and principles. Will they be acted on? And I think in the area of…
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, I need to…
KENNETH CUCCINELLI: … illegal immigration, I have the most confidence in Donald Trump. It’s the other areas where I wonder more.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, I just — literally two words on whether — it looks like you’re going to come to some agreement at the convention.
COREY STEWART: We are. We’re going to have an agreement.
JUDY WOODRUFF: OK.
COREY STEWART: There’s going to be a strong conservative coalition coming together in November to defeat Hillary.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right.
Corey Stewart, Ken Cuccinelli, thank you both.
KENNETH CUCCINELLI: Good to be with you.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The man who will next lead the Philippines was lauded as a no-nonsense tough guy and derided as a looming dictator throughout a fiery election campaign.
Today, it became clear, after his two closest rivals conceded, that, whatever the labels, Rodrigo Duterte will soon be called Mr. President. With China flexing its muscles in the South China Sea, the United States is looking to deepen its security relationship with Manila, while Duterte has said his priorities are to lift up the large numbers of Filipinos in poverty and crack down on crime.
Rodrigo Duterte is known for his tough talk and bombastic style, but he was decidedly more humble on a pre-dawn trip today to his parents’ tomb in Manila. Social media video showed him sobbing as he said, “Help me, mom. I’m just a nobody.”
That may once have been true, but Monday’s election has now catapulted Duterte to president-elect. He won about 40 percent of the vote, pledging to eliminate poverty, corruption and crime. The outcome delighted supporters in Davao City, where he’s long been mayor.
MAN (through interpreter): I am happy and feel privileged. The mayor prevailed.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Duterte’s path to the presidency was anything but conventional, featuring crude sex jokes, which included making light of the rape and murder of an Australian woman, and incendiary rhetoric, especially about criminals.
PRESIDENT-ELECT RODRIGO DUTERTE, Philippines: All of you who are into drugs, you sons of (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
PRESIDENT-ELECT RODRIGO DUTERTE: I will really kill you. I have no patience for that. I have no middle ground there. Either you kill me, or I will kill you idiots.
HARI SREENIVASAN: That kind of talk has led some to draw comparisons to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in the U.S.
Karen Lema is a Manila correspondent for Reuters, who spoke with us via Google Hangouts.
KAREN LEMA, Reuters: I think it’s probably because of their unconventional ways, their unorthodox ways. Here, people tend to look at those that are in the political establishment as weak, inefficient and corrupt. And, again, Duterte I think has successfully differentiated himself from the pack. And that’s where his appeal lie.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Duterte inherits a Philippine economy that grew an average of 6.2 percent over the past six years. But with nearly a third of the population still below the poverty line, voters said they were ready for change.
MAN (through interpreter): We need someone who can make the prices of goods go down, so that for us who are poor, we can make a better living.
WOMAN (through interpreter): I hope, whoever becomes the president, they will help the homeless, provide work for our husbands and run the Philippines well.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Today, a Duterte spokesman laid out plans to federalize the government.
Karen Lema says it’s a bid to help neglected regions far removed from the country’s power center.
KAREN LEMA: He want to devolve functions away from Central Manila to the provinces. He wanted to empower these provinces and make sure that the wealth is more evenly distributed. And, like he said, he wants to benefit what he calls the — those who have been left behind.
HARI SREENIVASAN: On foreign policy, Duterte has said he’d talk to China about its expanding claims and military activity in the South China Sea. But, if nothing changed, he said he’d sail to one of Beijing’s new artificial islands and plant the Philippine flag.
Today, China’s Foreign Ministry voiced hope for progress with the new leader.
LU KANG, Spokesman, Chinese Foreign Ministry (through interpreter): China and the Philippines have a traditional friendship. We indeed hope that the new government of the Philippines would meet China halfway, taking concrete measures to properly deal with the disputes.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Duterte has also expressed wariness about closer security ties with the U.S., but, yesterday, he called for talks to include the U.S., Japan and Australia.
PRESIDENT-ELECT RODRIGO DUTERTE: I do not think that anybody now is interested in getting to war. And so we are allied with America. We will agree to a multilateral participation, if there is one coming.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In Washington, a White House spokesman said today — quote — “We look forward to strengthening and deepening ties with the Philippines.”
But, policy questions aside, Duterte’s hard-line approach has sparked concerns that he could be a dictator in the making in a country with an authoritarian past.
In 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines, and ruled unchallenged for years. He was ousted in 1986 by Corazon Aquino, the widow of a fierce Marcos critic, and she became president.
Now her son Benigno Aquino is leaving office after serving the single six-year term allowed under the country’s constitution. He opposed Duterte and instead backed former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. Aquino also campaigned against Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who trailed by a narrow margin in the vice presidential race.
In a statement today, Aquino said, “Our people have spoken and their verdict is accepted and respected.”
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HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: The people of Central and Southern Oklahoma surveyed the damage and began recovery operations after a barrage of tornadoes. Two people were killed by separate storms that struck near the town to the south of Oklahoma City.
Storm chasers captured footage of the twisters, one reportedly up to a mile-wide. The twisters ripped through homes, tossed cars aside and scattered debris for miles.
The fire that swept through Fort McMurray, Canada, is still burning, but it’s moved away from the city, and repairs are beginning. Officials and journalists toured the area yesterday, and found some blocks were burned to their foundations, destroying 2,400 buildings. But about 90 percent of the town survived intact. Still, it will be weeks before nearly 90,000 evacuees are allowed to return.
Meanwhile, oil sands companies are trying to resume production, but many staffers and suppliers are displaced.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, when he travels to Asia later this month.
The United States carried out the world’s first atomic bombing on Hiroshima in August 1945. It’s estimated that 140,000 people were killed.
Spokesman Josh Earnest announced the visit today, but said the president doesn’t plan to offer an apology while he’s there.
JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: The president intends the visit to send a much more forward-looking signal about his ambition for realizing the goals of a planet without nuclear weapons. This also is an opportunity for the visit to highlight the remarkable transformation in the relationship between Japan and the United States.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The president’s week-long visit to Asia will include a Group of Seven summit in Japan and a stop in Vietnam.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In North Korea, a mass, tightly choreographed parade capped the first ruling party Congress in nearly 40 years. Hundreds of thousands gathered in Pyongyang’s main square with floats and patriotic banners to pay tribute to the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un. After nightfall, torchbearers formed designs and phrases, including one that read “The Nuclear-Powered State.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: The United States Navy staged a new challenge today to China’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea, and Beijing scrambled fighter jets in response. A U.S. guided missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of Fiery Cross Reef, now occupied by the Chinese.
LU KANG, Spokesman, Chinese Foreign Ministry (through interpreter): This is out and out a military challenge to the new marine order. The United States has flexed its military muscles by sending warships and military planes close to and even into the related islands and reefs and their surrounding sea and airspace for provocation.
This is but the biggest threat to the peace and stability and the freedom of navigation and flight on the South China Sea.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary of State John Kerry brushed aside the Chinese objections, saying again that the U.S. is determined to maintain freedom of navigation.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Also today, a Chinese labor panel ruled against a fired worker in the country’s first transgender job bias case. The claimant argued he was let go unfairly for living as a man when he was born a woman. The arbitration panel granted $62 in back wages, but found the employer broke no laws.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, the U.S. Justice Department has opted not to seek the death penalty for the alleged mastermind in the attacks on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya. Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured in Libya two years ago, and brought to the U.S. He’s charged with murder and supporting terrorists.
The U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in the attacks in 2012. Militants stormed a U.S. compound and a CIA complex.
HARI SREENIVASAN: A Baltimore police officer chose today to go before a judge rather than a jury in the Freddie Gray case. Edward Nero is charged with assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. He was involved in arresting Gray, who died of injuries in custody, touching off riots. The first case resulting from the arrest ended in a hung jury.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On Wall Street, stocks had their biggest day since March, boosted in part by China’s efforts to stimulate its economy. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 222 points to close at 17928. The Nasdaq rose 59 points and the S&P 500 added 25.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And another year, another White House visit for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. President Obama welcomed the Huskies today to celebrate their fourth straight national title and the school’s 11 overall. The president said UConn has defied the old saying that you can’t win all of the time.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: change in the Philippines — voters elect a controversial new president; the educational benefits of preschoolers interacting with senior citizens; an organization that’s training people to talk about race; and much more.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The presidential primary season is winding toward a close with two of the final states taking their turns tonight.
West Virginia has 29 Democratic delegates to offer. Overall, Hillary Clinton needs just 155 more to lock up the party’s nomination. Republicans have races today in both West Virginia and Nebraska, even though the outcomes are now just a formality.
It was West Virginians’ turn to head to the polls today, but the candidates were elsewhere. Donald Trump, a near lock to be the Republican nominee, was in New York, reportedly working to join forces with the Republican National Committee on fund-raising. But he still faces hurdles winning support from party leaders.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has so far refused an endorsement. He’s scheduled to meet with Trump on Thursday.
Ryan spoke this afternoon in an online interview with The Wall Street Journal:
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), Speaker of the House: The point I have been making is, we shouldn’t just pretend that our party is unified, when we know it is not.
And so I think what we want to do is sit down together and talk about how we can unify the Republican Party, so that we can be at full strength in the fall, because if we just pretend we’re unified, without actually unifying, then we will be at half-strength in the fall, and that won’t go well for us.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Trump’s former rival Ted Cruz also declined today to say if he’d back the presumptive nominee. The Texas senator’s name is still on the ballot in Nebraska, but he played down the chance that a victory there might prompt him to reenter the race.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), Former Republican Presidential : Listen, we have suspended the campaign. We have suspended the campaign because I can see no viable path to victory. Of course, if that changed, we would reconsider things. But let’s be clear. We are not going to win Nebraska today. There should be no mystery, no excitement in that.
We have withdrawn from the campaign and it’s in the hands of the voters. If circumstances change, we will always assess changed circumstances.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton stumped in Kentucky, next door to West Virginia. She called for paying child care workers more, while curbing child care costs for families.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: I don’t think any family should have to pay more than 10 percent of their income for child care. That ought to be just a rule, and you ought to get help if you’re getting too close to that or going above that. So, we need to start thinking about family issues as investment issues, investments in the future, investment in our children.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, pressed ahead with his underdog campaign in a California city still suffering from the housing market meltdown in 2008.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), Democratic Presidential Candidate: When you have this grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, when you have a situation where, over the last 25 years, trillions of dollars have left the hands of working families and have gone into the top one-tenth of 1 percent, don’t tell me we don’t have the resources to rebuild Stockton, California.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JUDY WOODRUFF: California’s delegate-rich contest, almost at the end of the Democrats’ primary calendar, is set for June 7.
Sanders has vowed to take his campaign all the way to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia in late July.
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — White House dreams fading, Bernie Sanders added another state to his tally against Hillary Clinton with a win in West Virginia on Tuesday — a victory that will do little to slow the former secretary of state’s steady march toward the Democratic presidential nomination.
Meanwhile, Republican Donald Trump also won there and in Nebraska, a week after he cleared the field of his remaining rivals. They were not victories likely to heal the party’s wounds, as some GOP leaders continue to hold off offering their endorsement of the party’s presumptive nominee.
The result in the West Virginia Democratic primary underscored the awkward position Clinton and the party’s establishment face as they attempt to turn their focus to the general election. Clinton is just 155 delegates short of the 2,383 she needs to secure the nomination. To win them, she needs just 17 percent of the delegates at stake in the remaining contests.
That means she could lose all the states left to vote by a landslide and still emerge as the nominee, so long as all of her supporters among the party insiders known as superdelegates continue to back her.
Still, Sanders is vowing to fight on. He campaigned in California on Tuesday for the state’s June 7 primary, and his victory in West Virginia highlighted anew Clinton’s struggles to win over white men and independents — weaknesses Trump wants to exploit in the fall campaign.
Among those voting in the state’s Democratic primary, about a third said they would support Trump over either Clinton or Sanders in November. An additional 2 in 10 said they wouldn’t vote for either candidate. But 4 in 10 also said they consider themselves to be independents or Republicans, and not Democrats, according to exit polls.
While Sanders is still attracting thousands to rallies, his campaign has grown harder as Clinton closes in on the nomination. His fundraising has fallen off and so, too, has his advertising, with only about $525,000 in ads planned for California and $63,000 each in West Virginia and Oregon, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG.
That’s a significant decline from the wall-to-wall advertising campaign he ran earlier in the primary, during which his $74 million in ads outspent Clinton by $14 million.
Edward Milam, of Cross Lanes, West Virginia, is a self-described socialist who gave money to the Sanders campaign but his vote Tuesday to Clinton.
“After about six-seven months of debating and watching, I think Hillary has a lot more to offer than Bernie internationally,” the 68-year-old retiree said. “I think she handles herself well. I’ve known about her for 30 years, just like everybody else has. I don’t think there will be any surprises.”
Even as the primaries continue, Clinton has largely shifted her focus to the general election. On Monday, she courted suburban women in Virginia and on Tuesday, in Lexington, Kentucky, she released a proposal to ensure families don’t spend more than 10 percent of their income on child care.
“I don’t care about what he says about me,” she said of Trump in Louisville, Kentucky, on Tuesday night. “But I do resent what he says about other people, other successful women, women who have worked hard, women who have done their part.”
Clinton’s campaign hopes suburban women, turned off by Trump’s bombastic rhetoric, could be a key source of support for her in the fall.
But she’s also trying to stop Sanders from gaining the psychological advantage of a series of wins this month. Her team went up with a $160,000 ad buy in Kentucky on Tuesday, a modest effort aimed at cutting into Sanders’ support before the state’s primary in a week.
Democrats also held a primary election Tuesday in Nebraska, although the party allocated all its delegates to the summer nominating convention in an earlier caucus won by Sanders.
Associated Press reporters Lisa Lerer and Ken Thomas wrote this report. Lerer reported from Washington. Associated Press writers John Raby in West Virginia and Josh Funk and Grant Schulte in Nebraska contributed to this report.
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