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- 05/26/16--15:50: _Trump, Obama trade ...
- 05/26/16--15:53: _What does the billi...
- 05/26/16--17:38: _Obama ready to face...
- 05/27/16--03:40: _President Obama pay...
- 05/27/16--06:09: _Origins of key Clin...
- 05/27/16--06:22: _Column: The 5 best ...
- 05/27/16--06:52: _Why some millennial...
- 05/27/16--07:03: _Hiroshima in four p...
- 05/27/16--07:54: _Major U.S. study li...
- 05/27/16--09:15: _Trump breaks with n...
- 05/27/16--10:40: _Automakers recall 1...
- 05/27/16--12:34: _Clinton misstates k...
- 05/27/16--15:30: _‘Top Chef’ Tom Coli...
- 05/27/16--15:35: _How a Hiroshima sur...
- 05/27/16--15:40: _A look at world’s n...
- 05/27/16--15:45: _News Wrap: G-7 lead...
- 05/27/16--15:50: _In Hiroshima, Presi...
- 05/27/16--18:13: _Column: How one mil...
- 05/28/16--06:26: _Presidential race s...
- 05/28/16--07:47: _Court ruling raises...
- 05/26/16--15:50: Trump, Obama trade barbs as GOP billionaire clinches nomination
- 05/26/16--15:53: What does the billionaire-funded Gawker suit mean for media?
- 05/26/16--17:38: Obama ready to face historic, haunted ground of Hiroshima
- 05/27/16--06:09: Origins of key Clinton emails from report are a mystery
- 05/27/16--06:22: Column: The 5 best pieces of advice from 2016 commencement speeches
- 05/27/16--06:52: Why some millennial voters are turning to Trump
- 05/27/16--07:03: Hiroshima in four poems
- 05/27/16--07:54: Major U.S. study links cellphone exposure to cancer in rats
- 05/27/16--09:15: Trump breaks with nation’s only Latina governor
- 05/27/16--10:40: Automakers recall 12 million cars over Takata airbags
- 05/27/16--12:34: Clinton misstates key facts in email episode
- 05/27/16--15:30: ‘Top Chef’ Tom Colicchio on America’s staggering waste of food
- 05/27/16--15:35: How a Hiroshima survivor helped remember 12 U.S. POWs killed by bomb
- 05/27/16--15:40: A look at world’s nuclear reality, 70 years after Hiroshima
- 05/27/16--15:45: News Wrap: G-7 leaders rebuke Beijing on South China Sea dispute
- 05/27/16--15:50: In Hiroshima, President Obama renews call to abolish nuclear weapons
- 05/28/16--06:26: Presidential race shows deep-seated strife toward minorities
- 05/28/16--07:47: Court ruling raises possibility Kansas schools will not open
JUDY WOODRUFF: Donald Trump has now cemented his status as the Republican presidential standard=bearer in the fall. He clinched the delegates needed for the nomination today, even as he took fire from the man who holds the job now.
John Yang begins our coverage.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: The folks behind me got us right over the top, from North Dakota.
JOHN YANG: Literally backed by his North Dakota delegates, Donald Trump celebrated his status as the now certain nominee at a news conference in Bismarck.
The Associated Press reports that one of those delegates gave him the 1,237 vote he needs to win on the first ballot at the Republican Convention. It came on the same day that President Obama used his own news conference at the G7 Summit in Japan to say that world leaders are worried about a Trump presidency.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: They’re rattled by him, and for good reason, because a lot of the proposals that he has made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines.
JOHN YANG: Trump dismissed the president’s criticism.
DONALD TRUMP: Many of our — the countries in our world, our beautiful world, have been absolutely abusing us and taking advantage of us. So, if they’re rattled in a friendly way, we are going to have great relationships with these countries.
But if they’re rattled in a friendly way, that’s a good thing, John, not a bad thing.
JOHN YANG: Even as he clinched the nomination, Trump faces more turmoil within his campaign staff. His national political director, Rick Wiley is out, just six weeks after he was brought on to help professionalize the Trump effort.
In a statement last night, the campaign insisted that Wiley was always a short-term hire.
Trump seemed delighted by the fact that his nomination, once thought improbable, was decided before the Democrats.
DONALD TRUMP: And here I am watching Hillary fight, and she can’t close the deal.
JOHN YANG: In fact, Hillary Clinton is within 78 delegates of locking up her party’s nomination, but a new poll shows her in a virtual tie with Bernie Sanders in the California primary less than two weeks away.
Today, Clinton reacted to Trump going over the top.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: That means an unqualified loose canon is within reach of the most powerful job in the world.
JOHN YANG: Clinton also dismissed a State Department watchdog report that found she violated policy by using a private e-mail server as secretary of state. She told a Univision affiliate last night, “I will continue to be open, and it’s not an issue that’s going to affect either the campaign or my presidency.”
JIMMY KIMMEL, Host, “Jimmy Kimmel Live”: Here’s the question from Bernie.
JOHN YANG: Sanders, meanwhile, used late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to challenge Trump to a debate. Trump says he’d do it for a price.
DONALD TRUMP: Oh, I would love to debate Bernie. He’s a dream. Well, I said — and I said last night on Jimmy’s show — the question that was posed, I said I would love to debate him, but I want a lot of money to be put up for charity. So, what we will do is, if we can raise for by women’s health issues or something.
QUESTION: If you raise $10 million, you will get on a debate stage with Bernie Sanders?
DONALD TRUMP: I would love to, yes.
JOHN YANG: Today, Sanders says he can’t wait.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, Democratic Presidential Candidate: And I’m very excited about it, and I think we’re going to st going to rent out the largest stadium you have here in California.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
JOHN YANG: Sanders had asked Clinton to debate, but she declined.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We will focus on how foreign leaders are reacting to the rise of Donald Trump after the news summary.
The post Trump, Obama trade barbs as GOP billionaire clinches nomination appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Video by PBS NewsHour
Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed this week he funded Hulk Hogan’s winning $140 million lawsuit against Gawker Media. Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, sued the publication for invasion of privacy after Gawker’s editors published a 2012 blog post featuring an excerpt of a video that showed the wrestler having sex.
This week, Gawker founder Nick Denton speculated that an outside contributor might be bankrolling the lawsuit after Bollea’s legal team removed a claim in the suit that would have “allowed Gawker’s insurance company to help pay for its defense as well as damages,” The New York Times reported.
Forbes reported that Thiel, who co-founded PayPal, is paying $10 million of Bollea’s legal fees. Thiel has his own history with Gawker, having been outed as gay on their website in 2007. He told The New York Times this week that the lawsuit was meant to fight against a “singularly terrible bully,” and that he does not think that his financing of the suit has wider implications for media.
The original 2007 story outing Thiel, written by Owen Thomas, had the headline, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.” Now a business editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, Thomas told the Times that he didn’t out Thiel.
“I did discuss his sexuality, but it was known to a wide circle who felt that it was not fit for discussion beyond that circle,” Thomas said. “I thought that attitude was retrograde and homophobic, and that informed my reporting. I believe that he was out and not in the closet.”
Jason Tanz, editor-at-large for WIRED, told PBS NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan that “Thiel at the time swore his revenge, and now, nine years later, he’s getting it.”
“The tricky thing about this is Thiel feels wronged, but he’s not suing Gawker based on the statement that he feels wronged him. He’s not suing them for outing him,” Tanz said. Based on Thiel’s actions, Tanz said what appears to be motivating him is less about justice for Hogan and more about “crushing Gawker through the court system,” a prospect that worries many journalists.
The point isn’t to win the suit, Tanz said. “[Thiel] can continue to litigate against Gawker and rack up huge legal fees and destroy them even if he never wins a suit,” he said.
Within Silicon Valley, Gawker’s now-defunct Valleywag blog was “a very easy media property to hate,” Tanz said, adding that tech folk defended Thiel’s actions saying it was no different than ACLU or Greenpeace funding lawsuits they think are going to end up having a greater social good. In this case, that greater social good would be punishing and deterring the work Gawker publishes, he said.
“The concern is: Who’s to determine what should be punished?” Tanz said. “It’s one of those slippery slope arguments that you get into with these First Amendment disputes.”
After this interview took place, Nick Denton, Gawker Media’s founder posted an open letter to Peter Thiel on Gawker’s homepage. In the letter, Denton says:
I can see how irritating Gawker would be to you and other figures in the technology industry. For Silicon Valley, the media spotlight is a relatively recent phenomenon. Most executives and venture capitalists are accustomed to dealing with acquiescent trade journalists and a dazzled mainstream media… They do not have the sophistication, and the thicker skins, of public figures in other older power centers such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
In the letter, Denton proposes to Thiel that they hold a public debate to sort out their disagreement, instead of fighting in the courts.
The post What does the billionaire-funded Gawker suit mean for media? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HIROSHIMA, Japan — Convinced that the time for this moment is right at last, President Barack Obama on Friday will become the first American president to confront the historic and haunted ground of Hiroshima.
Here, at this place of so much suffering, where U.S. forces dropped the atomic bomb that gave birth to the nuclear age, Obama will pay tribute to the 140,000 people who died from the attack seven decades ago.
He will not apologize. He will not second-guess President Harry Truman’s decision to unleash the awful power of nuclear weapons. He will not dissect Japanese aggression in World War II.
Rather, Obama aimed to offer a simple reflection, acknowledging the devastating toll of war and coupling it with a message that the world can — and must — do better.
He will look back, placing a wreath at the centopath, an arched monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park honoring those killed by the bomb that U.S. forces dropped on Aug. 6, 1945. A second atomic bomb, dropped on Nagasaki three days later, killed 70,000 more.
Obama will also look forward.
Hiroshima is much more than “a reminder of the terrible toll in World War II and the death of innocents across the continents,” Obama said Thursday.
It is a place, he said, “to remind ourselves that the job’s not done in reducing conflict, building institutions of peace and reducing the prospect of nuclear war in the future.”
Those who come to ground zero at Hiroshima speak of its emotional impact, of the searing imagery of the exposed steel beams on the iconic A-bomb dome. The skeletal remains of the exhibition hall have become an international symbol of peace and a place for prayer.
The president will be accompanied on his visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — a demonstration of the friendship that exists between the only nation ever to use an atomic bomb and the only nation ever to have suffered from one.
It is a moment 70 years in the making. Other American presidents considered coming, but the politics were still too sensitive, the emotions too raw.
Even now, when polls find 70 percent of the Japanese support Obama’s decision to come to Hiroshima, the visit is fraught.
Obama’s choreographed visit will be parsed by people with many agendas.
There are political foes at home who ready to seize on any hint of an unwelcome expression of regret.
There are blast survivors who want Obama to listen to their stories, to see their scars — physical and otherwise.
There are activists looking for a pledge of new, concrete steps to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
There are American former POWs who want the president to fault Japan for starting the war in the Pacific.
Obama will try to navigate those shoals by saying less, not more.
The dropping of the bomb, he said Thursday, “was an inflection point in modern history. It is something that all of us have had to deal with in one way or another.”
Benac reported from Shima, Japan.
The post Obama ready to face historic, haunted ground of Hiroshima appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Watch the full ceremony at Hiroshima with U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe above.
HIROSHIMA, Japan — President Barack Obama paid tribute Friday to the “silent cry” of the 140,000 victims of the atomic bomb dropped 71 years ago on Hiroshima, and called on the world to abandon “the logic of fear” that encourages the stockpiling of nuclear weapons.
Obama’s trip to Hiroshima made him the first U.S. president to visit the site of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, and he sought to walk a delicate line between honoring the dead, pushing his as-yet unrealized anti-nuclear vision and avoiding any sense of apology for an act many Americans see as a justified end to a brutal war that Japan started with a sneak attack at Pearl Harbor.
“Death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” Obama said, after laying a wreath, closing his eyes and briefly bowing his head before an arched stone monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park that honors those killed on Aug. 6, 1945. “The flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.”
In a carefully choreographed display, Obama offered a somber reflection on the horrors of war and the danger of technology that gives humans the “capacity for unmatched destruction.”
With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe standing by his side and an iconic bombed-out domed building looming behind him, Obama urged the world to do better.
“We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell,” Obama said. “We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry.”
A second atomic bomb, dropped on Nagasaki three days after Hiroshima, killed 70,000 more. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, ending a war that killed millions.
Obama hoped Hiroshima would someday be remembered not as the dawn of the atomic age but as the beginning of a “moral awakening.” He renewed his call for a world less threatened by danger of nuclear war. He received a Nobel Peace Prize early on in his presidency for his anti-nuclear agenda but has since seen uneven progress.
“Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them,” Obama said.
Abe, in his speech, called Obama’s visit courageous and long-awaited. He said it would help the suffering of survivors and he echoed the anti-nuclear sentiments.
“At any place in world, this tragedy must not be repeated again,” Abe said.
Critics believe Obama’s mere presence in Hiroshima would be viewed as an apology for what they see as a bombing that was needed to stop a Japanese war machine that had brutalized Asia and killed many Americans. But Obama’s decision also drew praise from those who see it as a long overdue gesture for two allies ready to bury a troubled past.
Obama’s remarks showed a careful awareness of the sensitivities. He included both South Koreans and American prisoners of war in recounting the death toll at Hiroshima — a nod to advocates for both groups who publicly warned the president not to forget their dead.
Obama spoke broadly of the brutality of the war that begat the bombing — saying it “grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes” — but did not assign blame.
After his remarks, he met with two survivors. Although he was out of ear shot of reporters, Obama could be seen laughing and smiling with 91-year-old Sunao Tsuboi. He embraced Shigeaki Mori, 79, in a hug.
Later, Tsuboi told reporters he was struck by how Obama held his hand and listened carefully. He told the U.S. president he will be remembered as the one who “listened to the voice of survivors like us.”
“You should come visit Hiroshima from time to time and meet lots of people. That is what is important,” Tsuboi said.
Obama’s visit, which lasted just under two hours while most Americans were sleeping, was crafted for close scrutiny in Asia, a region he’s tried to put at the center of his foreign policy legacy. Obama and Abe strode together along a tree-lined path, past an eternal flame, toward a river that flows by the domed building that many associate with Hiroshima.
They earlier went to the lobby of the peace museum to sign the guest book: “We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons,” Obama wrote, according to the White House.
The president’s call for a nuclear-free world was a long way from the optimistic rallying cry he delivered as young, newly elected president. Obama did not employ his campaign slogan — “Yes, we can” — as he did in a speech in Prague in 2009. Instead, the president spoke of diligent, incremental steps.
“We may not realize this goal in my lifetime but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe,” he said. “We can chart a course that leads to the destruction of these stockpiles.”
Obama touched down in Hiroshima after completing talks with world leaders at an international summit in Shima, Japan. He was accompanied by Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Japan.
Hiroshima’s peace park is a poignant place, with searing images of the burnt, tattered clothing of dead children and the exposed steel beams on the iconic A-bomb dome. The skeletal remains of the exhibition hall have become an international symbol of peace and a place for prayer.
Han Jeong-soon, the 58-year-old daughter of a Korean survivor, was also at the park Friday.
“The suffering, such as illness, gets carried on over the generations — that is what I want President Obama to know,” she said. “I want him to understand our sufferings.”
Associated Press reporters Nancy Benac and Foster Klug of the Associated Press wrote this report.
The post President Obama pays tribute in Hiroshima: ‘We listen to a silent cry’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Since her use of a private email server was made public last year, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has insisted she turned over all work-related emails to the State Department to be released to the public.But after 14 months of public scrutiny and the release of tens of thousands of emails, an agency watchdog’s discovery of at least three previously undisclosed emails has renewed concerns that Clinton was not completely forthcoming when she turned over a trove of 55,000 pages of emails. And the revelation has spawned fresh criticism from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The three messages include Clinton’s own explanation of why she wanted her emails kept private: In a November 2010 email, Clinton worried that her personal messages could become accessible to outsiders. The messages appear to have been found among electronic files of four former top Clinton State Department aides.
Two other messages a year later divulged possible security weaknesses in the home email system she used while secretary of state. The Clinton campaign has previously denied that her home server was compromised.
On Thursday, Clinton, who has called her use of a private email server “a mistake,” said she had been forthcoming with her personal emails and said she believed her use of a private email account was allowed.
“I have provided all of my work-related emails, and I’ve asked that they be made public, and I think that demonstrates that I wanted to make sure that this information was part of the official records,” Clinton said, according to an interview transcript provided by ABC News.
Most of Clinton’s emails have been made public by the State Department over the past year due to both a court order and Clinton’s willingness to turn them over. But hundreds were censored for national security reasons and 22 emails were completely withheld because the agency said they contained top secret material — a matter now under investigation by the FBI.[Watch Video]
Clinton said in March 2015 that she would turn over all work-related emails to the State Department after removing private messages that contained personal and family material. “No one wants their personal emails made public and I think most people understand that and respect their privacy,” she said after her exclusive use of private emails to conduct State Department business was confirmed by media reports.
Senate investigators have asked for numerous emails about Clinton’s server as part of their own inquiry into Clinton’s email practices in recent months, but they didn’t get copies of key messages made public by the State Department’s own watchdog this week, a senior Republican senator said Thursday.
“It is disturbing that the State Department knew it had emails like this and turned them over to the inspector general, but not to Congress,” said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the chair of the Senate judiciary committee that’s been probing Clinton’s use of a private server.
The emails appear to contain work-related passages, raising questions about why they were not turned over to the State Department last year. The inspector general noted that Clinton’s production of work-related emails was “incomplete,” missing not only the three emails but numerous others covering Clinton’s first four months in office.
The inspector general also found Clinton’s email set up violated agency policies and could have left sensitive government information vulnerable. It also complicated federal archiving of her emails, in turn making it more difficult to obtain them under the Freedom of Information Act.
On Thursday, Clinton told ABC News her use of the personal email was “allowed,” saying that “the rules have been clarified since I left.” In a later interview Thursday with CNN, Clinton said she “believed it was allowed.”
A spokesman for the Clinton campaign did not respond to emailed questions Thursday. An inspector general’s spokesman declined to discuss the report.
The report said the inspector general was able to reconstruct some of Clinton’s missing emails by searching the email files of four former Clinton aides who had turned over thousands of pages of communications in 2015 at the request of the State Department, which is defending itself in multiple public records lawsuits, including one filed by The Associated Press. The four aides who turned over those files, according to the report, were Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and top aides Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines.
Abedin was the aide who authored the key email in November 2010 that provoked Clinton’s concerns about outsiders obtaining her personal emails. After the State Department’s computer spam filters apparently prevented Clinton from sending a message to all department employees from her private server, Abedin suggested that she either open an official agency email or make her private address available to the agency.
Clinton told Abedin she was open to getting a separate email address but didn’t want “any risk of the personal being accessible.” Clinton never used an official State Department address, only using several private addresses to communicate. Abedin, Mills, Sullivan and Reines all also used private email addresses to conduct business, along with their government accounts.
Two other emails sent to Abedin were cited in the inspector general’s report, but also did not turn up among the emails released by Clinton. Those messages to Abedin contained warnings in January 2011 from an unidentified aide to former President Bill Clinton who said he had to shut down Hillary Clinton’s New York-based server because of suspected hacking attacks.
In response, Abedin warned Mills and Sullivan not to email Clinton “anything sensitive” and said she would “explain more in person.”
The post Origins of key Clinton emails from report are a mystery appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Graduation season is a wonderful time for celebration. Teachers applaud students, and parents praise their children. All eyes focus on the graduates and rightfully so. After all, for many college graduates, commencement is just that — a beginning. And like most beginnings, graduation ceremonies are filled with contagious optimism and energy.
I’m a commencement speech junkie. As a parent and educator, I am keenly interested in how best to advise young people. I also find the ceremonies inspiring, energizing and renewing. Each spring, I get my fix by reading or listening to dozens of commencement speeches.
We can all learn from the nuggets of wisdom shared during the proceedings. Here are five of the most valuable tidbits I’ve taken from some of the best addresses delivered to the class of 2016:
1. Get in the way
Speaking at Washington University in St. Louis, legendary civil rights activist and Georgia Congressman John Lewis urged seniors to be proactive — even if it means ruffling feathers. Noting inspiration from Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Lewis said, “I got in the way. I got in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble.” This lesson is as important today as it was in the 1950s and 1960s. As Lewis continued, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you must have the courage to stand up, to speak up, and find a way to get in the way.” The advice Lewis offers is as valid for working professionals as it is for ambitious and idealistic graduates. Convention and inertia are often impediments to progress. Get in the way to force change. The world may be better off because of it.
2. Cherish “Uh-Oh” moments
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recounted to University of Rhode Island students an embarrassing story in which she choked during one of her first job interviews. These “‘uh-oh’ moments are worth cherishing just as much as ‘ah-ha’ moments,” she said. “Mistakes, failures, embarrassments and disappointments are a necessary component of growing wise.” The logic of learning from failure is not new, but Sotomayor’s reminder to embrace the “uh-oh” moments is refreshing in an era in which every corner of life has grown competitive, and perfection is a ubiquitous expectation. When navigating the crosscurrents of global economic uncertainties, failure is almost certain at some point. Reframing setbacks as wisdom acquisition will empower and energize — precisely at the point when a boost is most needed.
3. Beware of filters
Few have thought more about the dynamics of storytelling than Lin-Manuel Miranda. Addressing the graduating class of the University of Pennsylvania, the creator of the smash-hit musical “Hamilton” reminded students of the high stakes of his craft. “Every story you choose to tell, by necessity, omits others from the larger narrative,” he said. Miranda went on: “This act of choosing — the stories we tell versus the stories we leave out — will reverberate across the rest of your life. Don’t believe me? Think about how you celebrated this senior week, and contrast that with the version you shared with the parents and grandparents sitting behind you.” The author’s guidance highlights the vital need to notice the filters embedded in virtually everything we do. Every narrative is incomplete, so be open to perspectives other than your own.
4. Seize the day
In a moving reflection on loss and resilience, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shared with UC Berkeley seniors the wisdom she had gained from losing her husband last year. Her advice built on insights from psychologist Martin Seligman’s research on how individuals successfully bounce back from tragedies. She noted the need to not blame ourselves or believe the sadness will last forever. Acknowledging the inherent impermanence of life, Sandberg urged students to treat each day as if they only had a few remaining. “Live with the understanding of how precious every single day would be. How precious every day actually is,” she noted.
5. Don’t squander ignorance
Complementing Sandberg’s message about finitude, venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s speech to the graduating class of Hamilton College focused on the boundless possibilities of the future. The PayPal co-founder urged his audience to embrace uncertainty. Thiel emphasized that not knowing what you can and can’t do is a valuable asset. As he put it: “At this moment in your life you know fewer limits, fewer taboos and fewer fears than you will ever in the future. So do not squander your ignorance. Go out and do what your teachers and parents thought could not be done — and what they never thought of doing.” The message reminds me of Ken Robinson’s much-watched TED Talk on the negative impact schools have on creativity. Approaching the future with unbiased eyes is great advice for navigating uncertainty in a complex world.
Lest we think these tidbits are only useful to this year’s graduates, think again. We can all take these lessons to help us in our careers and our relationships. So as we celebrate the promising potential of the Class of 2016, let’s take a moment to celebrate our own possibilities as well.
The post Column: The 5 best pieces of advice from 2016 commencement speeches appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
COSTA MESA, Calif. — Brendan De Regla drove three hours and waited in line for half a day to see Donald Trump speak at a rally in Southern California.
Dozens of college-aged protesters shouted on the other side of a police line, but De Regla, 22, stood unwaveringly in support of Trump.“I just fell in love with him immediately,” he said, sporting a “Make America Great Again” T-shirt. “Since day one, I’ve loved him. But I knew it would take some time for people to figure out what he was about and what he was going to do and it’s finally happening.”
While most polls show Bernie Sanders is the overwhelming favorite of millennials — voters between the ages of 18 and 35 — some young voters are taking a serious look at Trump as the primary season rolls on. In a Harvard Institute of Politics poll out this spring, 25 percent of people under 30 said they would vote for Trump if he faced off against Hillary Clinton in the fall.
Sanders still has the clear advantage among millennials, and the same Harvard poll shows 80 percent of young people with a very favorable opinion of Sanders would vote for Clinton if he drops out.
But young voters are united in their anger and disillusionment, having come of age during the Great Recession. Trump has tapped into that subset of those voters in the same way as Sanders, despite their radically different policy proposals, said Morley Winograd, a senior fellow at the University of Southern California who has authored books on millennials.
Young voters think: “‘The system is rigged, I need somebody to totally overthrow the system’ and that’s what Trump says he’s going to do and that’s what Sanders says he’s going to do,” he said. “You can understand where there might be those commonalities.”
Millennials are also deeply suspicious of corporate power and bureaucracy, in part because many watched their own families suffer during the economic meltdown. That leads to a greater distrust of Clinton, who is seen as part of the establishment; 53 percent of those under 30 say they dislike Clinton, according to the Harvard IOP poll.
“Right now, their disapproval of her is kind of hard to watch in some ways,” said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, which has studied millennial voting patterns in this election. What seems to be missing is party loyalty among young people who are voting, Kawashima-Ginsberg said. “It seems to be a mistake to assume that because there’s a Democratic Party nominee that they will vote for that person.”
That’s already been the case for 28-year-old Newport Beach voter Kevin Morton.
Morton, who is black, voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but then he lost his house to foreclosure during the recession and was unemployed for a year.
Now a self-employed small business owner, Morton said he began to follow politics more closely and studied up on what caused the economic collapse and world politics.
He briefly considered Sanders for his honesty, but ultimately settled on Trump because Sanders is “too hippyish.”
“I’m going to vote Republican this election but that doesn’t mean I’m Republican. … This is a choice we’re making for the next four years.”[Watch Video]
Even some of the youngest millennials who didn’t suffer the brunt of the recession see promise in Trump.
Jeremy Wiggins, 20, is a junior at the University of Missouri and a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
He plans to vote for Trump at the convention although he, too, respects Sanders for his message, he said.
“You have an honesty (with) Sanders or Trump, an honesty with your candidate,” he said. “But for why you’d choose Trump over Sanders, for somebody my age you’re going to be in the job market very soon, starting your first job, getting health insurance and … we want the jobs to be there.”
Trump is still a long way from cementing the support of these voters, who “grew up with this cultural norm of not bullying, being inclusive and with diversity being seen as a strength, not a weakness,” said Thad Kousser, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego.
“Donald Trump has to talk in a different way if he’s going to get these voters. He can’t just be that bully who says we need these jobs back,” he said. “He needs a message for people who are still looking for good jobs and who are more comfortable with the new face of America.”
Ian Smith, a 24-year-old who works with adolescents in drug and mental health rehab, showed up at the same Trump rally in suburban Southern California.
He grew up with a Democratic activist mother but was torn between Trump and Sanders before he was turned off on Trump by what he called the hatefulness of the crowd.
Now, he prefers Sanders, but says Trump might come back into consideration in a potential race with Clinton, who he thinks is an opportunist and a liar.
“To be perfectly honest, I’d flip a coin,” Smith said of a choice between Trump and Clinton. “I don’t like either, but I’m going to vote, no matter what.”
Japanese survivors and other poets give different perspectives on the August 6, 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, which killed about 140,000 people. President Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima.
A major new study provides evidence of a possible link between cellphone exposure and cancer, at least in rats — findings that are likely to spark a fierce new debate about the 21st century’s most ubiquitous tech gadget.
When researchers exposed rats to the radiofrequency radiation emitted by cellphones, they saw higher incidence of two types of cancer: malignant gliomas in the brain and schwannomas in the heart. The increased risk was relatively small, but if the findings translate to humans — still an unknown — it could have a large public health impact, given the widespread use of cellphones worldwide.
The highly anticipated, $25 million study was conducted by the US National Toxicology Program and released late Thursday.
The findings add new urgency to a decades-long debate over whether cellphones can cause cancer.
It comes with major caveats. The statistically significant results were limited to male rats. Dr. Michael Lauer of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Extramural Research, who peer-reviewed the study, concluded “there were no statistically significant differences in rates of glioma or schwannomas in females.”
The male rats exposed to radiation — about 9 hours a day, 7 days a week — lived longer than a control group not exposed to radiation. The authors also noted that it was unusual that no cancers occurred in the control group in this study. The incidence of malignant gliomas in male rats — 2.2 percent to 3.3 percent — was within the range seen in non-exposed rats in previous studies, they said.
Still, the authors said that the brain and heart tumors observed in rats exposed to the radiofrequency radiation are similar to malignancies seen in some epidemiological studies of cellphone use. They say their findings “appear to support” the World Health Organization’s classification of cellphones as a possible carcinogen. (That’s the same classification given to coffee and talcum powder.)
Ron Melnick, who was the lead investigator on the study until he retired in 2009, said that he had seen the study’s data himself.
The data “indicated that there were increased tumor responses in the brain and the heart,” he told STAT in a phone interview before the study was released. Melnick said he was asked for his opinion after the results came in because he had been involved in designing the study.
As recently as Wednesday, the NIH said the study was still under review by unnamed additional experts.
The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report’s release, which followed a Wednesday leak on what researchers had found.
The researchers have more data stockpiled that they haven’t reported. They say the rest of the results from the study will likely trickle out starting in late 2017.
The new study has the potential to start a firestorm. Until now, there have been conflicting results from other research about whether cellphones cause cancer, but the general takeaway from official authorities was that there is no definitive link — as the NIH statement reiterates.
But there have been now a streak of animal studies suggesting a cancer risk, said Dariusz Leszczynski, a Finnish researcher who focuses on radiation and health and reviewed the leaked news reports of the NTP study.
“Such positive results … suggest that human health might be in some danger,” he said in an email. “The human health risk might not only be possible but it might rather be probable.”
The findings could therefore jeopardize the conventional wisdom at a time when the number of Americans who own a cellphone has exceeded 90 percent in recent years.
“None of us expected them to find anything in this study. I’ve been quoted as saying it’s a total waste of money,” said David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany.
The results have been long anticipated. An NIH official told Congress in 2009 that the results would likely be released in 2014, but their release appeared to be prompted only by this week’s leak.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this study, far too long for this study,” said Joel Moskowitz, director and principal investigator at the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley.
Still, he added: “The debate will keep going on, I’m sure. This is not going to be the definitive study.”
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SANTA FE, N.M. — It was a stunning rebuke — even by Donald Trump’s standards — aimed at the nation’s only Latina governor at a political rally in her home state of New Mexico.Trump chastised Republican Gov. Susana Martinez for not doing her job when it came to unemployment, federal food aid and even containing the Syrian refugee crisis while he stumped at a raucous political rally this week in the nation’s most Hispanic state. Martinez, who has not endorsed the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, skipped the event in Albuquerque, citing a busy schedule.
The public spat dampened any lingering speculation that Martinez might be picked as vice president to attract more female and minority voters to the Republican ticket. It also thrust the second-term governor into the company of other prominent Republicans who have withstood attacks as Trump attempts to consolidate support ahead of the final round of primaries that includes New Mexico and California.
Key politicians rushed to Martinez’s defense, including U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whom Martinez endorsed for the presidential nomination in March as his campaign faltered.
“Susana Martinez is a great governor, she turned deficits into surpluses, she cut taxes,” Ryan told reporters this week.
Bush tweeted that Martinez is “the future of our party,” and Walker said Martinez had driven conservative reforms in a state that President Barack Obama won twice.[Watch Video]
At Tuesday’s rally in Albuquerque, where protesters hurled burning T-shirts and overran barricades, Trump described New Mexico as a state beset by unemployment and rising dependence on federal food assistance, placing the blame squarely on Martinez.
“Your governor has got to do a better job,” Trump said. “She’s not doing the job. Hey, maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going.”
Asked about Martinez at a news conference Thursday, Trump acknowledged that she had favored another Republican candidate but added, “I imagine she’ll come over to my side.”
A Martinez spokesman said the governor “will not be bullied into supporting” Trump, describing the accusations as political pot shots. The governor’s office fired back that the billionaire businessman had used economic data dating to 2000 to exaggerate trends while overlooking Martinez’s efforts to tie food benefits to work-related requirements.
Martinez, who is chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association, has resisted endorsing Trump as she crisscrossed the country to speak at GOP conventions and fundraisers. She needs to know more about his plans to support New Mexico’s national weapons laboratories and military bases and ensure other federal funding to the state, a spokesman says.
For Martinez, Trump’s rise has quickly shifted her assured standing in the party. His comments struck at an open political wound, after members of the state Republican Party have assailed the governor and a top political adviser for their handling of the economy amid an oil and gas downturn. Unemployment in the state has fallen gradually to 6.2 percent in April, leaving New Mexico among the five worst states for jobs.
Signs of tensions with Trump emerged last summer when Martinez, whose paternal grandparents came to the U.S. from Mexico in the early 1900s, criticized his comments that Mexican immigrants bring drugs and crime and are rapists. More recently, Martinez said Trump’s plans for a bigger border wall would put trade relations with Mexico and other Latin American countries at risk.
But the governor has taken a hard line on immigration enforcement, including a five-year effort to do away with New Mexico’s policy of issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally.
Those policies and aggressive border enforcement are applauded by Hispanic Republicans including Rowena Baca, an alternate New Mexico delegate to this summer’s Republican National Convention who calls Martinez a friend.
Baca chalked up the standoff with Trump to a personality clash between the brash billionaire and former district attorney from Las Cruces who has dealt firsthand with smuggling cartels at the border.
“They’re both on the same level, the same conservatism,” said Baca, a business owner in San Antonio, New Mexico.
Trump has vowed to return to New Mexico before the general election and win a state where Democrats account for 47 percent of registered voters.
His rhetoric about building a border wall and mass deportations doesn’t necessarily spell political doom in a state were more than 45 percent of residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, outnumbering non-Hispanic whites, Albuquerque pollster Brian Sanderoff said.
Hispanics in New Mexico are less likely to be foreign-born than in Nevada or California, making attitudes unpredictable toward immigration policy and enforcement, Sanderoff said. New Mexico doesn’t track race and ethnicity among registered voters.
“If you’re a New Mexico Hispanic who proudly traces your lineage here to the 1600s, you may not be as sympathetic toward illegal immigrants as some would think,” he said.
Japan’s transport ministry announced Friday that it would also recall an additional seven million vehicles with Takata airbags.
The airbag recall was caused by a
The Takata airbags have caused ten deaths and more than 100 injuries in the U.S., according to a May 4 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Before Friday’s announcement, 28.8 million airbags had been recalled in 24 million vehicles.
The post Automakers recall 12 million cars over Takata airbags appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
ST. LOUIS — Over the months, Hillary Clinton misstated key facts about her use of private email and her own server for her work as secretary of state, the department’s inspector general reported this week.
According to the findings, she claimed approval she didn’t have and declined to be interviewed for the report despite saying “I’m more than ready to talk to anybody anytime.” Scrutiny of her unusual email practices appeared to be unwelcome, despite her contention those practices were well known and “fully above board.”
A look at some of Clinton’s past claims about her unusual email set-up and how they compare with the inspector general’s findings:
CLINTON: “The system we used was set up for President Clinton’s office. And it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.” — March 2015 press conference.
THE REPORT: Evidence emerged of hacking attempts, though it’s unclear whether they were successful.
On Jan. 9, 2011, an adviser to former President Bill Clinton notified the State Department’s deputy chief of staff for operations that he had to shut down the server because he suspected “someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in i didnt (sic) want to let them have the chance to.”
Later that day, he sent another note. “We were attacked again so I shut (the server) down for a few min.”
The following day the deputy chief emailed top Clinton aides and instructed them not to email the secretary “anything sensitive.”
Also in May 2011, Clinton told aides that someone was “hacking into her email,” after she received a message with a suspicious link, the new audit report said.
The Associated Press has previously reported that, according to detailed records compiled in 2012, Clinton’s server was connected to the internet in ways that made it more vulnerable to hackers. It appeared to allow users to connect openly over the internet to control it remotely.
Moreover, it’s unclear what protection her email system might have achieved from having the Secret Service guard the property. Digital security breaches tend to come from computer networks, not over a fence.
CLINTON: “What I did was allowed. It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that.” — AP interview, September.
THE REPORT: “No evidence” that Clinton asked for or received approval to conduct official government business on a personal email account run through a private server in her New York home. According to top State Department officials interviewed for the investigation, the departments that oversee security “did not — and would not — approve” her use of a personal account because of security concerns.
Clinton has changed her account since the report came out. On Thursday, she told CNN “I thought it was allowed. I knew past secretaries of state used personal email.”
Colin Powell was the only secretary of state who used personal email for work, but not to the extent she did, and he did not use a private server.
CLINTON: “It was fully above board. Everybody in the government with whom I emailed knew that I was using a personal email.” — AP interview, September.
CLINTON: “The people in the government knew that I was using a personal account . the people I was emailing to on the dot gov system certainly knew and they would respond to me on my personal email.” — NBC News interview, September.
THE REPORT: According to the findings, it’s unclear how widespread knowledge was about Clinton’s use of a personal account. Though Clinton’s use of a private email was discussed with some in her agency, senior department officials who worked for her, including the undersecretary responsible for security, said they were not asked to approve or review the use of her private server.
The officials also said they were “unaware of the scope or extent” of her email practices, even though they exchanged messages with Clinton on her personal account.
In March 2015, President Barack Obama told CBS News he did not know his secretary of state was using a private account.
CLINTON: “In the fall, I think it was October of last year (2014), the State Department sent a letter to previous secretaries of state asking for help with their record-keeping, in part because of the technical problems that they knew they had to deal with. And they asked that we, all of us, go through our e-mails to determine what was work-related and to provide that for them.” — NBC News, September.
THE REPORT: While it’s true that the State Department requested records from former secretaries of state in November 2014, the report says the department raised concerns about Clinton’s compliance with federal record-keeping laws years earlier, and the attention did not appear welcome.
Two employees in the Office of Information Resources Management discussed concerns about her use of a personal email account in separate 2010 meetings. One of the employees stressed in one of the meetings that the information being transmitted needed to be preserved to satisfy federal records laws.
They were instructed by the director of the department “never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again,” according to the report.
CLINTON: “I think last August I made it clear I’m more than ready to talk to anybody anytime. — CBS News interview in May.
THE REPORT: Clinton declined through her lawyer to be interviewed for the report. Four other secretaries of state participated: John Kerry, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. She now says: “everything I had to say was out there.”
But she has said she will speak to the FBI as part of a separate criminal investigation into possible security breaches related to her private server.
In October, she testified about the issue before the House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Lerer reported from Las Vegas.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: Roughly 70 billion pounds of food is wasted annually in the United States.
The “NewsHour”‘s Lisa Desjardins is back from maternity leave, and she caught up this week with chef Tom Colicchio of TV’s “Top Chef.”
He was on Capitol Hill to bring attention to the issue of how much is wasted in American and to represent the group he co-founded, Food Policy Action.
LISA DESJARDINS: Many folks in the food waste movement say that some 40 percent of our food grown in this country is unused or wasted. That’s kind of a hard number to get your head around.
TOM COLICCHIO, Co-Founder, Food Policy Action: Well, actually, that’s the real number, 40 percent.
In fact, when I heard that number about two years ago, that’s what really brought me to this issue. I was staggered by the amount of food that’s being wasted. When you think about what you purchase at home, you can imagine throwing 40 percent in the garbage, and you think about how hard farmers work, and everything that goes in.
It’s not just the food. It’s all the resources that go into creating the food. So it’s water, it’s energy, it’s people’s work.
LISA DESJARDINS: You know, last year, NPR and “NewsHour” teamed up; we went to the Salinas Valley in California.
And there, we got these extraordinary pictures of dump trucks full of lettuce and spinach, cartons full of broccoli, that the producers were taking to the landfill, not consumers. We also have a food culture in this country that promotes, and to some degree almost worships, beautiful food.
And, in your restaurants, you serve beautiful food. How do you change that culture to show Americans that your food can be imperfect?
TOM COLICCHIO: When people think of wasted food, they think of something that is left on the plate. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about food that is perfectly good.
But I think, if we’re looking at large supermarkets that are throwing food out because it’s slightly wilted or there’s a little blemish on it or it’s slightly bruised, I think the average person looks at that and goes, there’s nothing wrong with that. Why are we throwing this away?
But when you see those truckloads, I think you look at that and go, we have to fix this problem.
LISA DESJARDINS: We saw this week the very first hearing from the House Agriculture Committee on food waste. This is a time when politicians are looking at polls that say the number one concern for voters is the economy. The number two concern is terrorism.
TOM COLICCHIO: When you have 25 percent of recruits showing up to fight our wars that are washing out because of obesity, when you have health care costs rising because of the way we’re — what we’re eating in this country that’s costing us about $200 billion a year.
So it actually does affect the economy and it does affect mission readiness. So you can actually equate food right back to these issues that are important, these issues, economic issues and issues of national security.
LISA DESJARDINS: I think a lot of our viewers would be surprised to know there are almost no clear national guidelines for food labeling and date labeling.
TOM COLICCHIO: Right. Right. And that’s part of the reason why we’re here in Washington today. We are supporting Congresswoman Pingree’s bill, co-sponsored on the Senate side. Richard Blumenthal sponsored it as well.
And it just really focuses on date labeling. Right now, we have sell-by dates. The sell-by date doesn’t mean that a gallon of milk is spoiled. It means that that is when the manufacturer wants you to sell it by.
Typically, it’s fine for a good many days past that, and yet 80 percent of the people will look at that and throw it out by the sell-by date. And so a ton of food is being wasted because things are improperly labeled. And this bill will address that.
LISA DESJARDINS: I’m curious. I always look in the back of the “Top Chef” show. You see these beautiful bins of fruits and vegetables and meats. What happens to the food on the show?
TOM COLICCHIO: We have a very hungry crew that eats well.
TOM COLICCHIO: We really do.
We — without giving too much away, we just had a challenge where there was a lot of really delicious barbecue pig left over, and every bit of it went to our crew.
LISA DESJARDINS: What tips do you have for people who want to change this in their own lives?
TOM COLICCHIO: Yes, so, I think, on the consumer side, try to shop more frequently.
If you’re somebody who goes and shops for your family once a week, you typically overbuy. Don’t ever shop when you’re hungry, because you definitely overpurchase and overbuy food. Also, what I try to do is, on Friday, that’s when I clean out my refrigerator.
So, I go in, I look at all the vegetables, all the scraps, I chop it up and it either goes into a soup or it goes into a pasta. I think it’s something, when you start focusing on it, and you start looking at it and you start — people are so focused, they are so cost-conscious when they’re purchasing food, but yet, when they come home, they don’t look at the price when they are throwing foods in the garbage.
And so I think that, if you do that, that clean-up Friday, where I call it cleanup Friday, I clean out the refrigerator and make something with that, I think that’s one thing that people could do.
LISA DESJARDINS: The New York Times called you a citizen chef.
Tom Colicchio, thank you for joining us.
TOM COLICCHIO: You’re welcome. Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: And now a different look at the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing and a story rarely told.
John Yang has that.
JOHN YANG: Among the thousands killed at Hiroshima were 12 American prisoners of war, the crew of three planes that were shot down on Hiroshima area.
Today, President Obama noted their deaths, as well as the quiet, diligent, four-decades-long effort of one man, Shigeaki Mori, a survivor of the bombing, who wanted to memorialize the 12 Americans. Mori attended Mr. Obama’s speech, and the two men embraced.
Now a new film called “Paper Lanterns” charts Mori’s quest as he sought permission from two of the families of the 12 POWs to register their names for a memorial.
Here is a clip from the film, where Ralph Neal of Kentucky and Susan Brissette Archinski of Massachusetts read the letters Mori sent them seven years ago about their uncles.
SUSAN BRISSETTE ARCHINSKI, Niece of U.S. Veteran: “Dear Mrs. Susan Brissette Archinski.”
RALPH NEAL, Nephew of U.S. Veteran: “Dear Mr. Ralph Neal, I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Shigeaki Mori, a 72-year-old A-bomb survivor and a historian living in Hiroshima, Japan.
“For a long time, I have been reading about American soldiers killed by the atomic bomb. I have erected a memorial dedicated to their unfortunate death. The 64th anniversary of the A-bomb of the city is coming around soon. On this day every year, memorial services are held in the Peace Park under the auspices of the Hiroshima mayor.
“A stone room in the center of the cenotaph, a main structure in the center of the park, contains a list of the domestic and overseas victims of the A-bomb, including those American soldiers who happened to be in the city when the bomb exploded.
SUSAN BRISSETTE ARCHINSKI AND RALPH NEAL: “This is my belief, that names of all victims should be acknowledged equally, regardless of their nationalities.”
SUSAN BRISSETTE ARCHINSKI: “To have one’s name registered, however, an application needs to be filed by a member of the deceased’s family.”
RALPH NEAL: “I have so far contacted the bereaved of nine of the 12 Americans killed by the bomb and submitted the applications to the city on their behalf. And now I am hoping to have the name of Mr. Ralph Neal.”
SUSAN BRISSETTE ARCHINSKI: “Of Mr. Normand Brissette included in the list before this year’s ceremony.”
RALPH NEAL: “I am so happy now that I have finally found you some 20 years after I started in my research. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely yours, Mr. Mori.”
JOHN YANG: We are joined now by the man who made this film Barry Frechette.
Barry, thanks for joining us.
BARRY FRECHETTE, Director, “Paper Lanterns”: Thank you.
JOHN YANG: First of all, I have got to tell you how really moving and powerful this movie is.
Now, this is a story that certainly I wasn’t aware of, and I think a lot of people aren’t aware of. How did it come to you and why did you want to tell this story?
BARRY FRECHETTE: Well, it came to me in a couple ways.
One was, it’s — my great uncle was Normand Brissette’s great, best friend growing up in. And so, in our family, we kind of knew of it. But to be honest, as a kid growing up, it really didn’t have the same impact.
And then through family members, the Brissette family, who are all very close up in Lowell, Massachusetts, made a book just memorializing Normand. And it had some paper — newspaper clippings and other things.
And made its way into my hands three, three-and-a-half years ago now. And it has a picture of Normand on the front, and I was just captured with the idea of a 19-year-old kid in Hiroshima, so far away from home, and witnessing something absolutely terrible. So, I was captured by that.
JOHN YANG: And the movie builds to the final sequence. It takes place in the same park where President Obama spoke this morning.
BARRY FRECHETTE: Right.
JOHN YANG: The ceremony of the paper lanterns, where families of people who died in bombings set off — set lanterns off into the river.
Was this the first time, though, Mr. Mori had gone?
BARRY FRECHETTE: It was.
We went over with Ralph to visit with Mr. Mori during the anniversary of this past year. And I think all of us were kind of assuming he had been there before. But you know what? We were there that morning, and his wife had said he had never gone, and it was really a shocker to us.
And then upon asking him and digging a little deeper, he just didn’t really feel like he had family there, and didn’t have a right the go. But this time, he did. He was with the Neal family, with Ralph Neal. And it was really moving. And it became much more important, I think, for us to sort of share that moment together and actually place lanterns in the water for the airmen and for the memories.
JOHN YANG: I should point out that Mr. Mori was 8 years old, was in Hiroshima, witnessed the attack, spent 40 years researching the American POWs. Why? Why was he doing this?
BARRY FRECHETTE: Well, at first, you know, we thought he’s a historian at heart, so uncovering these facts and bringing them to light, and bringing them to light for a good reason, that was important.
But digging in with him further and after three trips, I think he really opened up to us. And he was supposed to be in a school much, much closer to the epicenter. And for some reason, he was away. He was just moved out of the school.
So, he would have been right where most of the American POWs died. And I think, for him, he felt a connection to them that they were lost and a long way from home, and he felt like they were forgotten. And it was important for him to kind of tell their story, and at the very least make sure the relatives knew what happened to their loved ones, and that put them on this quest and it brought us to this moment this morning.
JOHN YANG: This morning, when President Obama spoke, you were up watching, you told me.
BARRY FRECHETTE: Yes. We — the whole paper lantern family are very well connected, and a lot of tweets and messages and postings going around at the same time.
JOHN YANG: What was going through your mind when you heard first the president mention Mr. Mori, didn’t saw him, but then when you saw the two speak and embrace?
BARRY FRECHETTE: It’s a moment that we never thought would actually happen.
And we have this special place in our heart for him, because he’s done so much, and he’s a very humble man. And when that moment happened, it was really likely like it was the spirits of everyone. The 12 Americans, all of us were there with them, and I think there was a — there was a lot of crying and a lot of emotional moments.
But it’s something none of us will ever forget, seeing that, and I’m so happy it happened.
JOHN YANG: It’s — people see this movie. It’s called “Paper Lanterns.” It’s something people they never forget.
Barry Frechette, thanks for being with us.
BARRY FRECHETTE: Thank you. Thank you very much.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: We return to the president’s visit to Hiroshima with a look at his nuclear legacy and at the ongoing threat from those weapons.
For that we turn to Stephen Rademaker, who was assistant secretary of state for arms control and nonproliferation during the George W. Bush administration, and Rachel Bronson, who is the executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which focuses on nuclear weapons and disarmament.
And we welcome both of you to the program.
So, we did hear President Obama today in Japan repeating the goal that he laid out, he first laid out when he came into office. He said the nations that hold nuclear stockpiles must have the courage to pursue a world without them.
Rachel Bronson, how has the president done on that front?
RACHEL BRONSON, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Well, I think the president started off very strong. Obviously, you mentioned his Prague speech in 2009.
But it’s a strange bookmark to come out at the end of it today, towards the end of his administration. We have had enormous progress in the first part of his administration and much less in more recent years, so some big victories early on, I do think important agreements like New START and the Iran deal, but then slower progress in the last few years.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How would you rate the president’s progress on this, Stephen Rademaker?
STEPHEN RADEMAKER, Former Assistant Secretary of State: Well, I would say the goals that the president set for himself in the Prague speech were completely unrealistic, and so it’s not surprising that, having confronted reality during the course of his administration, he’s had to back down from those unrealistic aims.
Of course, he continues to articulate the abolition of nuclear weapons as a goal, but I think, unlike in 2009, when I think he was sincere and he really thought this was achievable, I think today he wants to abolish nuclear weapons in the same way that other politicians say they want to abolish poverty or eliminate drug addiction.
It’s an aspiration, but not something that we — something we all understand is not going to be achieved anytime soon.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Rachel Bronson, what should the president have done and what do you think his successor should be doing?
RACHEL BRONSON: Well, I think what he likely needs to do at this point is we need, as a country, to kind of take a look at this massive modernization program that the president is undertaking.
So, in an effort to reduce the number of nuclear weapons around the world, he kind of engaged with the Russians and signed an arms deal to help reduce what we had around — exactly what he had set out to do. But to get that, he had to make a deal, which was that he was going to invest in the modernization of our nuclear arsenal, which he has done.
But, looking at that very hard, what it begins to look like is not just modernization, not just keeping those weapons safe, so that we don’t rust our way to disarmament, which would be very dangerous, but it seems like we’re actually building a new fleet. And the kinds of money — the budget has ballooned, and so the next president is really going to have to take a hard look at how do we get back on pace to make sure that not only do we continue to decrease numbers, but that our arsenal isn’t becoming stronger, bigger, you know, more threatening.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Stephen Rademaker, how do you look at what the president should have done differently?
STEPHEN RADEMAKER: Well, if you accept the fantasy that we’re about to abolish nuclear weapons, then, of course, spending a trillion dollars to modernize it is a waste of money.
But the reality is…
JUDY WOODRUFF: You’re coming at this from a very different direction from Ms. Bronson.
STEPHEN RADEMAKER: Of course.
The reality is, as the president has recognized, we’re not about to eliminate nuclear weapons. They’re going to be around for a long time, so it is necessary to make these investments in modernization.
And I know this number, $1 trillion, gets thrown around. If you want to deceptively present any budget number, you won’t give the one-year number, you will give the 30-year number, because it’s a vastly larger number. It basically works out to 5 percent of the defense budget, which, compared to the amount of money that we spent during the Cold War on nuclear weapons, is relatively small.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re not going to resolve what the U.S. should do here.
But let’s broaden this out just quickly. Rachel Bronson, when you compare where the world is today with where we were, say, 25 years ago, at the end of the Cold War, has there been progress made when it comes to nuclear weapons from your perspective or not?
RACHEL BRONSON: Yes, there certainly has been progress.
But just picking up on where Steve was, it is important to note that the military itself is beginning to balk at the price tag associated with this. And they are beginning to look at and say, it’s not going to come out of our budget. It’s got to come out of different pockets.
So they’re balking too. These costs are really escalating. And it seems beyond our ability, A, to afford, or, if we are going to afford it, we’re not going to be able to do other things that the military wants to do.
So, it’s not just kind of where these numbers are. There is a lot of concern at what this is going to cost and at what cost to other kinds of tasks and other weapons that the U.S. might be want to be investing in. So I just think — I wanted to make that point.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
RACHEL BRONSON: But in terms of where we are from the Cold War, we have seen massive reductions and important reductions.
We have also seen progress in beginning to move highly enriched uranium, plutonium out of certain countries. The president has done — has moved the needle positively in directions that have made the world safer, but, you know, this is a new world. And we’re entering a new world where more countries have nuclear weapons, we have to worry about non-state actors who try to get their hands on them.
So in terms of a strategic threat, it’s going down to some extent, but, you know, this is a new world, and we’re in a very dangerous position. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sets the doomsday clock. And we moved it from five to three minutes to midnight two years ago, and we kept it this year at three minutes to midnight, because it’s a very troubling time.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me…
RACHEL BRONSON: We have deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia, and this modernization program is very concerning.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m sorry to interrupt, but I do want to get back to Stephen Rademaker on this.
You can respond to what she said. I don’t think the two of you are going to come together, but in terms of whether the world is safer today than it was at the end of the Cold War, when the U.S. and the then Soviet Union were then armed to the teeth?
STEPHEN RADEMAKER: I think we’re in a better place today than we were at the end of the Cold War, but let’s be clear, there hasn’t been much progress during the Obama administration on the elimination of nuclear weapons.
And I think Rachel would agree with me on that. In fact, actually, Russia deploys 200 more nuclear weapons today than it did when President Obama took office. That’s according to the official data declarations.
China has recently started testing independently targetable reentry vehicles. It’s deploying a mobile ICBM system. It just deployed within the last year its first operationally deployed submarine launch missiles. So, the Chinese nuclear threat is increasing significantly.
This is the basic problem with the agenda outlined by President Obama. He obviously believes in it with all his heart, but the rest of the world doesn’t. He doesn’t have a partner in Moscow willing to join him in this enterprise.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, a lot of big questions, and we wanted to take a look at it today, on this day the president visited Hiroshima.
Stephen Rademaker, we thank you. Rachel Bronson, thank you both.
RACHEL BRONSON: Thank you.
STEPHEN RADEMAKER: Thanks.
The post A look at world’s nuclear reality, 70 years after Hiroshima appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff.
On the “NewsHour” tonight:
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Making history. As the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, President Obama pays tribute to victims, and calls for an end to nuclear weapons.
And it’s Friday. Mark Shields and David Brooks take on a week full of news and politics, as the candidates level new attacks at each other.
Then, courtroom canines: how man’s best friend is helping younger crime victims feel more at ease taking the stand.
PEARL CURIEL, Mother: I couldn’t be right there, where the mom is supposed to be. I couldn’t hold my daughter and rub her back while she talked, you know? But he was. He was able to say, you know what, I’m not going to leave you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: The events at Hiroshima came after major economic powers wrapped up a two-day Group of Seven Summit in Japan. In a warning aimed at China, the leaders opposed unilateral actions in the East and South China Seas. Instead, they called for peaceful resolutions to territorial disputes.
Beijing responded that the G7 should stick to economic matters.
There is word that Iran is honoring all its major obligations under the nuclear deal it signed with world powers last year. The Associated Press obtained the confidential assessment by the U.N.’s Nuclear Agency. It says that Tehran has now corrected a previous violation. Under the deal, Iran won relief from international sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities.
The U.S. presidential campaign was strictly a West Coast affair today. All three candidates campaigned with an eye on the calendar and the date of June 7.
Lisa Desjardins has our report.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: I want to make a big play for California. Should I?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LISA DESJARDINS: One day after clinching the GOP nomination, Donald Trump kept up his push for the Golden State. Outside his Fresno event, protesters kept up their push too. But, elsewhere, Trump gained new, if lukewarm, words of support from a former opponent, Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), Florida: I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president. If there’s something I can do to help that from happening, and it’s helpful to the cause, I would most certainly be honored to be considered for that.
LISA DESJARDINS: Trump, too, is talking about Hillary Clinton.
DONALD TRUMP: The inspector general, who’s a Democrat, did a big, big number on her. I don’t know how she can continue to run, I will be honest with you. How does she continue to run? Do you think Hillary looks presidential in office?
LISA DESJARDINS: Like Trump, the two remaining Democrats spent their campaign day in voter-rich California, with polls showing a much tighter race between them as the June 7 primary nears. Bernie Sanders went big, rallying with union workers on the San Pedro Waterfront.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, Democratic Presidential Candidate: You and I are going to have to tell the billionaire class they cannot get it all, that this economy and government belong to all of us.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: It is an absurdity that you have multibillionaire like Sheldon Adelson contributing large sums of money to another billionaire, like Donald Trump.
LISA DESJARDINS: Hillary Clinton met with community leaders in Oakland, hitting again at Trump’s temperament.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: You know, I like to say, yes, we can use the White House as a bully pulpit. We don’t want a bully in the White House. But we can use the bully pulpit to talk about issues. Let’s begin to cut across all the barriers, the geographic barriers and everything else that stand in the way.
LISA DESJARDINS: For now, what’s standing in Clinton’s way is the number 73, as in the remaining delegates she needs for the nomination.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Eight automakers are recalling more than 12 million vehicles in the U.S. to replace the air bag inflators. The devices made by the Japanese firm Takata can explode with too much force. They have been linked to at least 11 deaths worldwide. The new recalls are part of an expanded campaign announced earlier this month.
The U.N. Refugee Agency is urging Hungary and Serbia to help migrants now camping in desperate conditions. They’re on the Serbian side of the border, blocked from moving north by the fence that Hungary put up last year. U.N. officials say that some 300 migrants are living in tents there. They have no access to toilets or to running water, and have to rely on aid groups for food.
Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers may be back on the job in the Eastern U.S. next week with a new four-year contract. The company and its unions reached a tentative deal today to end a strike. Landline and cable employees walked off the job April 13 in nine Eastern states and the District of Columbia.
In economic news, growth ran at annual rate of eight-tenths of a percent in the first quarter. That is relatively weak, but it’s better than the initial estimate. The Federal Reserve chairwoman, Janet Yellen, also said today that she expects another interest rate hike before long, if growth continues to improve.
And Wall Street capped off its strongest week since March. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 45 points to close at 17873. The Nasdaq rose more than 31, and the S&P 500 added nine points. For the week, the Dow and S&P 500 was up 2 percent. The Nasdaq rose 3 percent.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: a look at the world’s nuclear reality 70 years after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb; one Japanese man’s quest to remember the 12 American POWs killed at Hiroshima; a top chef’s solution to food waste; and much more.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: President Obama went today where none of his predecessors had gone while in office: Hiroshima, Japan. He sought to navigate between honoring the victims, and standing by the U.S. atomic bombings that left 130,000 dead, and led to the end of World War II.
MARGARET WARNER: The nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, changed Japan and the world forever; 70,000 people were killed instantly. By year’s end, another 70,000 were dead from radiation poisoning.
The city was flattened, apart from a one domed building, now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome. It stands as a reminder of the first-ever atomic attack on a human population and as a symbol of peace.
President Obama solemnly paid his respects there today. And with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he laid a wreath at the nearby Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry.
MARGARET WARNER: Three days after Hiroshima, a second atomic bomb killed 70,000 more in Nagasaki. The U.S. did it to bring a quicker end to World War II.
The president offered no apology today, but renewed his call for abolishing nuclear weapons.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them. We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can hold back the possibility of catastrophe.
MARGARET WARNER: In an emotional moment afterward, Mr. Obama greeted survivors of the Hiroshima bombing. Other survivors joined the crowds lining his motorcade route. Fewer than 83,000 are still alive.
WOMAN (through interpreter): I’m very happy to see him visiting here. He has sent out a message for peace in the past, and today he is putting his words into practice.
AKIRA KONDO, Hiroshima Survivor (through interpreter): It would have been much better if a U.S. president could have made the visit earlier. It took 71 years. I think it could have happened earlier.
MARGARET WARNER: A younger generation brought its own perspective to the visit.
WOMAN (through interpreter): His visit to Hiroshima means a lot, because it’s a step forward from all the conciliatory rhetoric we have traded so far.
MARGARET WARNER: But there’ve also been protests in the day’s leading up to the visit and demands for an apology.
MAN (through interpreter): Of course he will not apologize, simply, because, if he does, the U.S. cannot use the nuclear weapon again. I believe he’s not apologizing here to leave the possibility to use nuclear weapons open for the future.
MARGARET WARNER: Even before his election at a 2008 speech in Berlin, Germany, Mr. Obama embraced the opposite goal.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.
MARGARET WARNER: Yet now the Defense Department is in the midst of a sweeping upgrade of its nuclear arsenal. The plan is to spend $1 trillion over the next three decades on new nuclear submarines, bombers and weapons themselves.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Margaret Warner.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We will look at the nuclear threat in the world today after the news summary.
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Memorial Day is a federal holiday that honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. After graduating from West Point in 2002 and serving more than five years on active duty as a field artillery officer, Demetrius Ball decided to teach.
Ball is now a high school social studies teacher in Maryland’s Howard County Public School System. He hopes that by sharing a little about what life was like in the military, his students might further understand the meaning of Memorial Day.
From a pretty young age I knew that I wanted to become a teacher, but without any connection to the military, I never imagined that I’d also become a soldier.
Well, I found out what an academy was — as a football recruit. Once I received my appointment to West Point, I realized that it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
Before entering West Point, I had no idea what Memorial Day or Veterans Day was really all about. It was not until I experienced life on deployment did I truly understand what both represent. Now, as an educator, I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that my students do not leave high school without understanding the meaning of these two important days.
I spent four years at West Point as a cadet and football player and upon graduation was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the field artillery. I entered the academy with the mindset that I could possibly retire from the Army, and all that experience would truly prepare me for school leadership. I served for five years on active duty before pursuing a career in education. I actually saw my role as an officer as a “real world” teacher of sorts.
We have school on Veterans Day, so my first year teaching I decided to put together a presentation titled “A Soldier’s Experience.” I take an entire class period to share my military experience with my students. The last few years I have worn my Dress Blue or Green uniform. I discuss the difficult transition that I had adapting to life as a cadet, like struggling to qualify on the range with an M16 rifle, not feeling prepared for the academic rigor, and even failing my first class ever.
I also share the fun that I had as an Army football player, and unfortunately being on the last team that beat Navy (2001). I barely made it onto the field as a running back. That 2001 game against Navy was my first time touching the football in a game and this may sound strange, but I learned to love my role as a scout team player in practice.
I describe my job as a field artillery officer, and the variety of missions I conducted on deployment in Iraq from January 2004 to February 2005. I take questions throughout the presentation, and without fail, the first question often asked is, “Mr. Ball, did you kill anyone?”
The first time I heard this question I was hesitant to answer, but I knew it would come up again. I always say that our unit was responsible for firing a lot of artillery rounds at “something” and leave it at that.
The second question is usually, “Did anyone you know die?” When that question is asked I am able to tell my students about the brave members of West Point’s Class of 2002 that served our country with distinction and have passed away.
We also patrolled a neighborhood in Baghdad, trained an Iraqi National Guard unit and provided security for a government compound in the city as well. On a couple occasions, we acted as our unit’s Quick Reaction Force, which meant that if there was an incident in our sector and additional support was needed, the force was sent out to help.
On one occasion we got the call that one of our engineer units had been attacked by an improvised explosive device. There was word that there were casualties, but there were no details provided over the radio. When we got there, we found a very chaotic scene.
The explosive had been detonated right next to the engineer’s three-vehicle convoy on a crowded highway overpass, killing two soldiers, injuring several others, destroying one armored vehicle and blowing a hole through the overpass. The injured soldiers had been evacuated, but we had to recover the remains of the soldiers who had passed away. The sights, sounds and smells of that day are etched in my mind to this day.
When we acknowledge Veterans Day, and Memorial Day, especially, I think of all the men and women who served with energy, bravery and commitment, and gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. Including the freedom to teach and learn.
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WASHINGTON — It started with Mexicans being publicly accused by presidential candidate Donald Trump of being criminals and rapists. It escalated to ejections, to sucker punches, to pepper spray. And now violence and strife seems to be a commonplace occurrence out on the campaign trail.As the 2016 presidential campaign turns toward the rapidly diversifying West, it has officially buried any thoughts of a post-racial United States, with racial and ethnic groups at the center of the most public strife seen in the political arena since the height of the civil rights movement.
Much of the violence has revolved around the ascendancy of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, first toward minorities and now by minorities protesting his policies. On Tuesday, protesters in New Mexico opposing Trump threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles and other items at police officers, injuring several, and toppled trash cans and barricades. Police responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd outside the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Karla Molinar, 21, a University of New Mexico student, participated in a planned disruption of Trump’s speech and said she had no choice because Trump is sparking hatred of Mexican immigrants. Trump, among other things, has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and declared that he will build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Trump is causing the hate to get worse,” she said.
Earlier this year, demonstrators against Trump swarmed outside the hotel near San Francisco airport, forcing the candidate Trump to crawl under a fence to enter the hotel where he met with local GOP power brokers. Other protesters tangled with authorities and damaged police cars after a Trump rally in Orange County, California.
Earlier, the violence was aimed toward minorities. For example:
— A black woman was surrounded, cursed and shoved by white onlookers at a Trump rally in Louisville, Kentucky in March.
— Latino demonstrators Ariel Rojas was kicked and dragged by a white Trump supporter at a rally in Miami in October.
— A black male protester, Rakeem Jones, was punched from behind by white Trump supporter John McGraw as Jones was being ejected from a rally by police in North Carolina. McGraw was later arrested.
— Video captured Trump supporters physically assaulting Mercutio Southall Jr., an African-American activist, at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama in November. Southall said afterward he was called several expletives by the crowd and later compared them to a “lynch mob.”
While political violence is not unknown, like the 1968 violence at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago where 119 police and 100 protesters were injured, rarely has it been targeted so specifically at minorities, said Matt Dallak, a professor of political management in the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University.
He also laid much of the responsibility on Trump, who started his political campaign by comparing undocumented immigrants from Mexico to criminals and rapists. The crowds at Trump’s rallies are feeding off him “demonizing particular segments of the population, including racial minorities” he said.
“When you are whipping people up, it contributes to an atmosphere that leads to the potential of political violence. Words matter,” he said.
Trump says he does not encourage violence; the fault, he says, lies with the demonstrators. But the political rhetoric is feeding into misplaced myths about the contributions of minorities to this society, said Sol Trujillo, founder and chair of the Latino Donor Collaborative.
“We’re a country of breaking barriers, not erecting barriers,” he said.
Ken Burns, an Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, said some of Trump’s comments and actions — like forgetting that he had repudiated a Ku Klux Klan leader — “that is the wink-wink dog whistle that signals to our unreconstructed brothers.”
“We’d like to believe in our better selves but in point of fact, a lot of us aren’t that,” said Burns, who explored racial tensions in his documentary, “Jackie Robinson.”
No one has died yet this campaign season. However, violence — including some that has been fatal — has often been suffered by minorities participating in political processes and social protesting.
For example, an estimated 150 blacks and three whites were killed after white Louisianans attempted to take over a courthouse in Colfax, Louisiana on Easter Sunday after losing a statewide election to reconstructionists in 1872, which became known as the Colfax Massacre. And Rev. George Lee was gunned down in Belzoni, Mississippi in May 7, 1954 for his attempts to get blacks to vote. In August 1955, World War II veteran Lamar Smith was shot on the courthouse lawn in Brookhaven, Mississippi, for urging blacks to vote.
Lee had turned down police protection because it was offered only on the condition he stopped his voter registration efforts.
Associated Press writer Russell Contreras in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contributed to this report.
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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas faces a threat that its public schools won’t open for the next school year after the state Supreme Court rejected some education funding changes made by the Republican-dominated Legislature.The Legislature had revised parts of the state’s school finance system but didn’t change the overall aid for most of its 286 local districts. The court said Friday that the remaining flaws make the system unfair to poor districts, violating the state constitution.
Questions and answers about the court’s decision:
Why were legislators making school funding changes?
The Dodge City, Hutchinson, Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas, school districts sued the state over education funding in 2010. That’s prompted a series of court rulings, including one from the Supreme Court in February to make the funding system fairer for poor districts.
The court in February set a deadline of June 30 for lawmakers to fix the problems, or face having schools remain closed afterward. GOP legislators pushed through their changes in March in hopes of averting the threat.
What was at issue in the rulings in February and Friday?
It’s known as “equity,” whether poor districts are getting their fair share of the state’s aid to public schools, which now stands at more than $4 billion a year. The Supreme Court has said that the state constitution requires legislators to finance a suitable education for all children, whether they live in poor or rich neighborhoods.
What was under court scrutiny?
The court’s February ruling focused on two pots of aid meant to help poor districts keep up with their wealthier cousins as they all impose local property taxes to supplement state dollars.
Wealth has been based on property values. With higher values, a district can raise more dollars with a lower levy than a district with lower property values. Each pot is distributed using a complex formula designed to see that the poorest districts are first in line.
One pot helps districts that levy local property taxes for “capital outlay,” or building repairs and equipment. The second and much bigger pot helps districts as they levy local property taxes to supplement state aid for general operations.
What did legislators do in March?
They increased capital outlay aid by $23.5 million for the 2016-17 school year.
To pay for that, they applied the same formula for distributing capital outlay aid to the other, larger pot of aid. The change made the second pot cheaper by nearly $83 million a year.
But they also guaranteed that no district would lose any dollars.
The state saw no net increase in its overall spending.
Attorneys for the four school districts suing the state said lawmakers simply reshuffled existing funds.
Why would lawmakers do that?
They also had to balance the state budget and faced a projected gap of more than $290 million. The state has struggled to stay in the black since Republican legislators slashed personal income taxes at GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s urging in 2012 and 2013 in an effort to stimulate the economy.
He hasn’t backed off his signature cuts, and enough lawmakers haven’t bucked him, so it always was unlikely they would find tens of millions of new dollars for schools.
Legislators also faced strong political pressure not to cut aid to wealthier districts to boost funding to poorer ones.
What did the court do Friday?
It said the Legislature’s political considerations were irrelevant to its review.
It said the changes in capital outlay aid were OK, but it rejected the change in how the second, larger pot of aid is calculated. The court gave lawmakers until June 30 to fix the remaining problems.
Why would schools stay closed?
The court wouldn’t separate the changes it accepted from the ones that it rejected, concluding that all of the changes were necessary parts of one package.
The justices said that without more changes, the entire system remains unconstitutional and “void,” leaving the state without a valid one. Without a valid funding system, the court said, schools “will be unable to operate.”
How do legislators plan to respond?
Republicans who control the Legislature don’t know yet, though they harshly criticized the court’s ruling. Lawmakers are scheduled to meet again Wednesday for a ceremony formally adjourning their annual session.
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