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

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    Retired U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant E-6 Darrell Jones (right). Photo courtesy of Darrell Jones

    Retired U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant E-6 Darrell Jones, right, appears at his retirement ceremony at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, in October 2010. It was the last day Jones wore his uniform. Photo courtesy of Darrell Jones

    Editor’s Note: Memorial Day, a federal holiday, honors soldiers who died while serving in the U.S. military. Educator Darrell Jones, who became a teacher after retiring from 20 years of service in the Air Force, wrote about how he answers a common question from students on Memorial Day: does he know anyone who has died in service?

    Here in the Deep South, we start school in August and end the last week of May. The last couple of days of school, I like to talk about Memorial Day and how it differs from Veterans Day. (Veterans Day is a day of thanks to our servicemen and women, while Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for our fallen heroes.)

    My students are already out of school by Memorial Day, and like most Americans, they look forward to cookouts and family outings and have a pretty cheerful outlook about one of our country’s most somber holidays.teacherslounge

    Many of my students have grandfathers and great-uncles who lost their lives in combat decades before they were born. But since our country has moved away from the draft and toward an all-volunteer force, fewer and fewer people personally know anyone who has lost their life in service to their country.

    As retired USAF, I feel it is my duty to explain to them that since our country was founded, over a million service members have lost their lives at war and countless others during peacetime. My students know that I have been to the desert more than a few times and like to ask if I knew anyone who died over there. I tell them that I was an aircraft mechanic, so my friends and I were not outside the walls in combat.

    Retired U.S. Air Force E-6 Technical Sergeant Darrell Jones

    Retired U.S. Air Force E-6 Technical Sergeant Darrell Jones

    In reality, I have lost many friends who were still on active duty when they died. As a crew chief in the USAF, I was there when bombers crashed during training flights, fighter planes went down at airshows and planes crashed in a war zone.

    Anyone who has ever served is a veteran, and anyone who has served and died whether on active duty or not deserves our thanks on Memorial Day, whether they died in accidents or took their own lives.

    I met Brett at Loring AFB, Maine, my first duty station. He used to give me rides to work in his beat-up VW Bug; we had to push to get the engine to kick over. Brett was always a cheerful and friendly person, a hard worker and gym rat who studied the Bible. He was the one guy who could bring you bad news and make you laugh hearing it.

    “Anyone who has served and died whether on active duty or not deserves our thanks on Memorial Day, whether they died in accidents or took their own lives.” — Ret. Technical Sergeant Darrell Jones
    As we got transferred and moved around, we lost touch, as it goes in the military. While I was deployed to Europe, our commander called a meeting to let us know that Brett had taken his own life. I felt like a failure that day — not because I thought I could stop him, but because I did not even know he was hurting.

    I wish I knew why some men and women in uniform are more prone to take their own lives, but I do not. Many point to the high rate of deployments that come from fighting simultaneous wars on two fronts. What I do say to those who ask is that the military has only recently begun to focus on the suicide problem for veterans with an increased emphasis on mental health help.

    I don’t share these thoughts with my students. Instead, I tell my classes about the history of Memorial Day and how it began as Decoration Day, a time to honor soldiers who died during the Civil War. Some believe the holiday originated in nearby Columbus, Mississippi, with women’s groups leaving flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers in 1866. The fact that the holiday has ties to a place nearby makes it even more relatable for my kids.

    My goal is to show my students the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day, without taking the joy away from the holiday. I want them to remember we can honor those who have given their lives for our country and appreciate what they have done while also cherishing the fact that we get to spend the day with friends and family.

    DJ with kids

    Middle school history teacher Darrell Jones with his students at Armstrong Middle School in Starkville, Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Darrell Jones

    If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

    The post Column: How I answer my students’ tough questions about military service appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats feel a massive disconnect with their political parties and helpless about the presidential election.

    That’s according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which helps explain the rise of outsider candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and suggests challenges ahead for fractured parties that must come together to win this fall.

    “It feels like the state of politics is generally broken,” said Joe Denother, a 37-year-old Oregon voter who typically favors Republicans.

    The divisive primary season has fueled an overall sense of pessimism about the political process that underscores a widening chasm between political parties and the voters they claim to represent. Just 12 percent of Republicans think the GOP is very responsive to ordinary voters, while 25 percent of Democrats say the same of their party.

    Among all Americans, the AP-NORC poll found that just 8 percent consider the Republican Party to be very or extremely responsive to what ordinary voters think. An additional 29 percent consider the GOP moderately responsive and 62 percent say it’s only slightly or not at all responsive.

    The Democratic Party fares only slightly better, with 14 percent saying the party is very or extremely responsive, 38 percent calling it moderately responsive, and 46 percent saying it’s only slightly or not at all responsive.

    Denother, who works in health insurance, says he feels the disconnect with the party he usually supports.

    “The Republicans have gotten away from their core message of fiscal responsibility,” said Denother, who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and is undecided this year. “I feel there’s an identity crisis. And with a lack of identity, it’s hard to have confidence in the party.”

    The survey exposes an extraordinary crisis of confidence in most major political institutions just as both parties intensify efforts to connect with voters heading into the general election.

    In general, only 15 percent of Americans report a great deal of confidence in the Democratic Party compared with just 8 percent who say the same of the GOP. That’s as only 4 percent say they have a great deal of confidence in Congress, 15 percent in the executive branch and 24 percent in the Supreme Court.

    The findings come as Trump assumes the mantle of GOP leader, having won the number of delegates necessary to clinch the Republican presidential nomination. Trump got there with an aggressive anti-establishment message, railing against his party leaders for months.

    Now the New York billionaire appears to be changing course. He recently entered into a high-dollar fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee and plans to rely heavily on the RNC’s staffing and data programs to connect with voters.

    On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton remains locked in a divisive primary battle with Sanders, a self-identified democratic socialist who has inspired a large and loyal following. The Vermont senator has echoed Trump’s charges of an unfair political system that’s stacked against him and ordinary Americans, a criticism that resonates with many voters.

    “It seems that everything was made straight for Hillary Clinton,” said Ron Cserbak, a 63-year-old retired teacher who lives in Cincinnati and usually votes for Democrats.

    The new poll finds that 6 in 10 Americans think the Republican Party is only slightly or not at all open to new ideas or candidates outside the political establishment, and about half say the same of the Democratic Party. About 3 in 10 think each party is only moderately open either to new ideas or outsider candidates.

    The survey also found evidence of overwhelming interest in the presidential contest, although less than a quarter of Americans say they’re excited about it.

    Worse, 55 percent of Americans, including 60 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of Democrats, say they feel helpless about the 2016 election. And two-thirds of Americans under 30 report feeling helpless.

    “I am despondent,” said Cserbak. “I wouldn’t say I feel totally helpless. I do have a vote.”

    In contrast, only 13 percent of respondents said they felt proud about the election; 37 percent said they were hopeful.

    The AP-NORC poll of 1,060 adults was conducted May 12-15 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

    Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

    The post AP poll: Voters feel disconnected, helpless in 2016 appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    President Barack Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

    President Barack Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Barack Obama challenged Americans on Memorial Day to fill the silence from those who died serving their country with love and support for families of the fallen, “not just with words but with our actions.”

    Obama laid a wreath Monday at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor the nation’s war dead. Under mostly sunny skies at Arlington National Cemetery, he bowed his head for a moment, then placed his right hand over his heart as taps was played. Obama in his address commemorated the more than 1 million people in U.S. history who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

    Obama said the markers at Arlington belong mostly to young Americans, those who never lived to be honored as veterans for their service.

    The Americans who rest here, and their families — the best of us, those from whom we asked everything — ask of us today only one thing in return: that we remember them,” Obama said.

    In his remarks, Obama called for Americans to honor the families who lost loved ones and the battle buddies left behind. He said it’s important to ensure veterans get access to good health care and jobs. “We have to do better,” he said. “We have to be there not only when we need them, but when they need us.”

    Special operations forces continue to serve in dangerous missions in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, even as the U.S. military presence in the latter two countries has been greatly reduced under Obama’s watch. Obama acknowledged the continuing threat to service members, singling out for praise three who have died in Iraq in recent months: Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin and Chief Special Warfare Operator Charles Keating IV.

    Obama said Keating joined the Navy SEALs because it was the hardest thing to do. He quoted a platoon mate who told Keating’s parents in a letter soon after their son’s death “please tell everyone Chuck saved a lot of lives today.” On Cardin, Obama said he gave his life while protecting the Marines under his command. “Putting others before himself was what Louis did best.”

    Obama noted that Wheeler was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan 14 times and earned 11 Bronze Stars. He also participated in a mission in October that rescued some 70 hostages. He died before his son, David, could be born, but that son and Wheeler’s widow, Ashley, were at Monday’s ceremony.

    “Today this husband and father rests here in Arlington in Section 60,” Obama said. “And as Americans, we resolve to be better, better people, better citizens because of Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler.”

    Prior to traveling to Arlington, Obama held a breakfast reception at the White House for military leaders, family members of fallen service members and veterans groups.

    The post Obama marks Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    File photo by Media for Medical/UIG via Getty Images

    File photo by Media for Medical/UIG via Getty Images

    The release of a study Friday linking cancer in rats to the type of radiation emitted by cellphones presents some of the strongest implications in more than two decades of research that higher doses of such signals could be linked to tumors in laboratory animals — unsettling news for billions of mobile phone users worldwide. Still missing, however, is a clear understanding of exactly how radiofrequency (RF) radiation used by mobile phones might create cellular-level changes that could lead to cancer.

    The study by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) found that as the thousands of rats studied were exposed to greater intensities of RF radiation, more of them developed rare forms of brain and heart cancer that could not be easily explained away, exhibiting a direct dose-response relationship. NTP acknowledges that the research is not definitive and that more research needs to be done.

    This is familiar territory for Jerry Phillips, a biochemist and director of the Science/Health Science Learning Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Phillips conducted Motorola-funded research into the potential health impacts of cellphones during the 1990s while he was with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Pettis VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif. Phillips and his colleagues looked at the effects of different RF signals on rats, and on cells in a dish. “The most troublesome finding to Motorola at the time is that these radiofrequency signals could interact with living tissues, which is what we saw in the rats,” he says.

    Scientific American spoke with Phillips about the NTP’s announcement, as well as his own experiences trying to understand how RF signals could be causing the DNA damage seen in his lab’s rats.

    An edited transcript of the interview follows.

    How is cellphone radiation different from other forms of radiation?

    Cellphone radiation is non-ionizing radiation. X-rays, for example, are ionizing radiation and contain sufficient energy to break chemical bonds. Non-ionizing radiation associated with radiofrequency fields is very, very low-energy, so there’s insufficient energy to break chemical bonds. It was always assumed that because the power being created by the handsets was low enough, there would be insufficient energy for heat production — and without heat production there would be no biological effects [on users] whatsoever.

    What happens to living cells when they are exposed to RF radiation?

    The signal couples with those cells, although nobody really knows what the nature of that coupling is. Some effects of that reaction can be things like movement of calcium across membranes, the production of free radicals or a change in the expression of genes in the cell. Suddenly important proteins are being expressed at times and places and in amounts that they shouldn’t be, and that has a dramatic effect on the function of the cells. And some of these changes are consistent with what’s seen when cells undergo conversion from normal to malignant. These effects vary depending on the nature of the signal, the length of the exposure and the specifics of the signal itself.

    How does the use of rats impact the validity of a study designed to determine whether cell phones are safe for people?

    We try to find the best model system available based on physiology, genetics and what we know about biochemistry. Rats are really a pretty good model for humans. Of course, the question you’ve asked is now what the [wireless device] industry is going to hit on. Their primary rebuttal is that these are rats and not people.

    NTP studied both Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobile (GSM) modulations, which dictate how signals carry information. Why test more than one modulation in a study like this?

    You test those two modulations because both are in wide use today. I don’t know exactly what [the NTP’s] rationale was, but the rationale we used for our study in the 1990s was to find out if signal modulation had an effect on what we were looking at. Part of the problem studying radiofrequency radiation is that we have not a clue what constitutes a dose. If you have a chemical, you can weigh it out and you know what the dose is. But with radiofrequency radiation there are too many parameters — power intensity, carrier frequency, length of exposure, signal intermittency or some combination — and nobody knows what’s most important.

    What has been the prevailing argument against non-ionizing radiation causing cancer?

    It’s a complicated issue. If you look as something as simple as smoking — for so long people had no clue what was in cigarette smoke that caused cancer. You could see when a smoker died that the lungs were different from those of a non-smoker, but at first it was hard to identify the mechanism causing the change in the lungs. It’s been the same sort of argument here — there’s no plausible explanation that something with such low energy could cause significant biological effects that are adverse to human health and development. Those of us working in the area of gene expression saw those effects, but there had been no way to explain them.

    What should people take away from the NTP’s latest study results?

    All this really does is provide a couple of answers but raise even more questions. My guess is that the needle won’t move much at all in this country. If you look at all of the research being done on this, it’s all from outside this country. People want to believe their technology is safe. I do. I would love to believe it, but I know better.

    How do you reconcile your own cell phone use with the potential health hazards?

    I’ll connect the phone to Bluetooth in my car. Or I’ll text. Or I if I have to make a phone call I put it on speaker. But you have to realize that this issue opens up a much bigger can of worms than cell phones. If this radiation, this form of energy can interact with biological tissue then it’s going to reopen a lot of what were supposedly settled issues regarding the safety of wireless communications. If we’re going to be bathed in a whole new electromagnetic environment, how safe is it?

    This article is reproduced with permission from Scientific American. It was first published on May 27, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post How might cellphone signals cause cancer? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    William Meredith on the wing of his plane in World War II. Photo courtesy the William Meredith Foundation.

    William Meredith on the wing of his plane in World War II. Photo courtesy the William Meredith Foundation.

    Navy Field

    Limped out of the hot sky a hurt plane,
    Held off, held off, whirring pretty pigeon,
    Hit then and scuttled to a crooked stop.
    The stranger pilot who emerged–this was the seashore,
    War came suddenly here–talked to the still mechanics
    Who nodded gravely. Flak had done it, he said,
    From an enemy ship attacked.
    They wheeled it with love
    Into the dark hangar’s mouth and tended it.
    Coffee and cake for the pilot then who sat alone
    In the restaurant, reading the numbered sheets
    That tell about weather.
    After, toward dusk,
    Mended the stranger plane went back to the sky.
    His curly-headed picture, and mother’s and medal’s
    Were all we knew of him after he rose again,
    Those few electric jewels against the moth and
    whining sky.

    Reprinted with permission from the William Meredith Foundation.

    William Meredith was born in New York City on Jan. 9, 1919. He began writing poetry while attending Princeton University and then worked briefly as a reporter for The New York Times.

    In 1942, he served as a carrier pilot for the U.S, Navy in the Pacific Theater during World War II. During his service, Meredith’s first book of poems, “Love Letter from an Impossible Land” (Yale University Press, 1944), was chosen for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. After the war, he taught English at Princeton University but he returned to the Navy as a pilot in the Korean War, achieving the rank of lieutenant commander.

    Following his retirement from the military, Meredith taught writing at Connecticut College for nearly three decades. He served as the poet laureate of the United States and published nearly a dozen collections, winning the Pulitzer Prize for “Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems” (Alfred A. Knopf, 1987).

    In 1983, Meredith suffered a stroke which severely restricted his ability to speak. His resulting collection, “Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems” won the National Book Award. In the foreword to that book, poet Michael Collier wrote: “Trapped, as it were, inside his body, which has profoundly betrayed him, for the past decade and a half Meredith has remained occupied with the poet’s struggle—the struggle to speak.”

    Meredith died on May 30, 2007, at the age of 88, survived by his partner, writer Richard Harteis.

    The post How a WWII pilot explained the quiet moments after an enemy attack appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    File photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    File photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    PHILADELPHIA — Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton by months, even years, in using fast-evolving digital campaigning to win over voters, data specialists working with the GOP say.

    The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has dismissed the science that defines 21st century political campaigns, a tool that President Barack Obama used effectively in winning two terms and the Clinton campaign has worked on for nearly a year.

    And while it is too early to tell whether the late start signals trouble for Trump, it illustrates the difference between Trump’s proudly outsider campaign and the institutional knowledge within Clinton’s.

    “She’s been able to prepare a general election campaign since the beginning,” said Alex Lundry, former senior technology adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 Republican presidential campaign. “That head start in terms of time is extraordinarily valuable.”

    Precision digital-marketing data, a person’s online footprints, have become an electoral science that Democrats have dominated, and Republicans have chased, for a decade. Campaigns used the data at first simply to track supporters. The information now guides a range of decisions, like the types and volume of advertising, where to deploy campaign staff to mobilize voters and where a candidate should visit.

    Trump’s team has been unclear about its use of data in the general election.

    Trump told The Associated Press this month the tool was “overrated” and he planned “limited” data use during the general election, though his campaign has worked with firms and a small in-house staff to track voters during the primaries.

    Later, senior adviser Rick Wiley, who was hired in April, suggested Trump would run a “state of the art” campaign and use data strategically, relying on Trump’s own list of supporters, the Republican National Committee’s voter list and a data service financed largely by the RNC called Data Trust.

    “All of the data points — whatever they are — our ability to harvest that data is invaluable,” said Wiley, the RNC’s former executive director. He has since left the campaign, after what a source close to the matter said were disagreements with Trump loyalists about who should lead campaign efforts in key states. The person spoke on condition of anonymity, lacking authorization to discuss internal campaign matters publicly.

    Given how Republicans have long trailed Democrats in digital campaigning, Trump’s grudging talk and Wiley’s departure hardly signal a rush to catch up.

    Trump spent more than $1 million in April on campaign paraphernalia like caps, T-shirts and signs. Even as he was effectively seizing the nomination, he spent less than a third of that amount on data and related functions such as telemarketing.

    Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign revolutionized the way technology could be used to identify and keep track of supporters who attended his campaign events and gave money to his candidacy.

    In 2012, Obama’s re-election campaign profiled potential voters by monitoring what online, mobile, reading and shopping choices they made. The data helped them project election outcomes based on advertising decisions in specific markets aimed at select voter types.

    Obama’s 2012 re-election was viewed as a breakthrough in the political application of what had been a commercial tool, while Romney’s own data effort started late, was more limited in scope and ultimately crashed.

    Clinton’s campaign has been collecting data since she announced her candidacy 11 months ago. Elan Kriegel, an analytics director for Obama in 2012, now heads Clinton’s analytics team. And, Jeremy Bird, credited with using the data in 2012 for decision-making that preceded the president’s re-election, is advising the Clinton campaign.

    Kriegel said the nearly yearlong preparation has allowed his team to build intricate voter turnout models aimed at predicting voter behavior, especially in potential swing states.

    “If you weren’t doing it several months ago, then you really are starting from scratch,” Kriegel said.

    Trump’s challenge may be even more difficult, said Andy Burkett, the Republican National Committee’s former chief technology officer.

    As the party’s nominee, Trump will have full use of the committee’s data program, in which it has invested heavily in recent years. Still, capitalizing on that resource will require Trump’s campaign to view data as central to its bid — and to put its own money behind it to tailor the data to preferences related to would-be Trump voters.

    The Republican National Committee has recently added data scientists to its staff to assist with the general election. Also, an RNC data specialist first began working directly with the Trump campaign this month. But it takes time to turn raw data into meaningful models, Barkett said.

    “It would take them six months to build and integrate the systems,” said Barkett, who advised Jeb Bush’s GOP primary campaign.

    The election is in five months.

    The post On cutting-edge voter data, Trump critically behind Clinton appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Former Chad President Hissene Habre makes declarations to media as he leaves a court in Dakar, Senegal on Nov. 25, 2005. Photo by Aliou Mbaye/Reuters

    Former Chad President Hissene Habre makes declarations to media as he leaves a court in Dakar, Senegal on Nov. 25, 2005. Photo by Aliou Mbaye/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has welcomed the conviction of former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Kerry says Habre’s conviction is “a landmark in the global fight against impunity for atrocities.”

    Habre was sentenced to life imprisonment for being responsible for thousands of deaths and tortures in prisons during his rule from 1982 to 1990. A 1992 Chadian truth commission accused Habre’s government of systematic torture, saying 40,000 people died during his rule.

    Kerry says the case provides an opportunity for the United States to reflect on and learn from its connection with past events in Chad.

    He says that without the persistence of Habre’s accusers and their demand for justice, the former dictator might never have faced a court of law.

    The post U.S. welcomes conviction of Chad’s ex-dictator appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Spikes intended to discourage trespassers top the fence on the north side of the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 17, 2016. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Spikes intended to discourage trespassers top the fence on the north side of the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 17, 2016. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service says the White House has returned to normal operations after being placed on lockdown early Monday afternoon.

    Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback says someone at about 12:15 p.m. threw a metal object over the north fence along Pennsylvania Avenue and was arrested without incident. Hoback did not identify the person, though a witness saw a woman placed in handcuffs.

    Fire trucks and a hazardous materials response unit were called to the scene. It’s common for officers to sweep the grounds after such incidents to ensure nothing dangerous was thrown over the fence. Hoback says the sweep results were negative.

    The lockdown ensued shortly after President Barack Obama returned from a Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery.

    The post White House lifts lockdown after object thrown over gate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Edward Snowden speaks to The Guardian newspaper. Handout photo from The Guardian

    Edward Snowden speaks to The Guardian newspaper. Handout photo from The Guardian

    WASHINGTON — Edward Snowden performed a “public service” in stoking a national debate about secret domestic surveillance programs, but he should still return to the U.S. to stand trial, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a podcast released on Monday.

    As a National Security Agency contractor, Snowden leaked classified details in 2013 of the U.S. government’s warrantless surveillance of its citizens before fleeing the country. He now lives in Russia and faces U.S. charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years.

    In a podcast interview with CNN political commentator David Axelrod, Holder said that Snowden had grown concerned that the domestic spying programs weren’t providing a “substantial” return of useful intelligence even before even before he revealed the secrets.

    “We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate we engaged in and by the changes that we made,” Holder said. “Now, I would say doing what he did in the way he did it was inappropriate and illegal.”

    Holder, who served as attorney general from 2009 to 2015, said Snowden’s leaks harmed American interests abroad and put intelligence assets at risk.

    “He’s got to make a decision,” Holder said of Snowden. “He’s broken the law. In my view, he needs to get lawyers, come on back and decide what he wants to do — go to trial, try to cut a deal.”

    He said Snowden should have to face consequences for his actions, including prison time.

    “But in deciding what an appropriate sentence should be, a judge could take into account the usefulness of having that national debate,” Holder added.

    Snowden has repeatedly said he would be willing to return to the United States if the federal government would provide him a fair trial. However, Snowden says he is concerned that under federal espionage laws he would not allow him to present a whistleblower defense, arguing in court he acted in the public interest.

    The post Former AG Holder says Snowden served U.S., but should be punished appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

    Boston University economist Larry Kotlikoff answers readers’ Social Security questions. Photo by by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Dear loyal readers of my “Ask Larry” column,

    I’ve been writing my Social Security column for PBS NewsHour for over three and a half years. It has been a great honor to work with PBS, which I deeply respect. I’ve decided, however, to move my Ask Larry column to my company’s website, Maximize My Social Security. Please go to www.maximizemysocialsecurity.com, click “Ask Larry” at the top, and then submit your questions.

    My best,

    Rebecca: I have basically been a stay-at-home mom due to my husband’s disability (100 percent service connected veteran), and I only have 30 credits of work history, although I know it’s more. I was told to contact IRS about my earnings. My husband receives Social Security since his injury many years ago. I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and cannot work now. My husband’s income eliminates my ability to collect Social Security income, but we’ve fallen on hardship. What can I do? I was going to take early retirement to help things along, but now that seems hopeless.

    Larry Kotlikoff: If you can manage to earn $5,040 in each of the next three years, you’ll have your 40 quarters — actually 42 quarters. You don’t have to work all year. Indeed, you could, theoretically, earn that amount in 15 minutes. Social Security doesn’t care how long you worked. But if you earn $5,040 in a given year you get four quarters. The $5,040 will be adjusted for inflation by the way.

    Katherine: I have been receiving my widow’s survivor benefits for the last two years, starting at age 60. I am still working a part-time job (after retiring from my 30-year career), and I find that it is very difficult to live with the earning cap of $15,720 a year. I plan on waiting to collect my full retirement benefits upon reaching my full retirement age, but I’d like to earn more money right now. What I would like to know is if it’s possible to suspend my survivor’s benefits now, so I can earn more money while I’m still able to work. And if I can, are there any drawbacks or consequences, such as having to repay what has already been paid to me?

    Larry Kotlikoff: You can’t suspend your widow’s benefit. You can only suspend a retirement benefit. I think your better move is to earn what you can. Yes, it will reduce your benefits by 50 cents for every dollar you earn above the $15,720. But at full retirement age, your widow’s benefit will be bumped up to account for all the lost benefits due to the earnings test. This won’t help you, however, if you flip onto your own retirement benefit at full retirement age. But if you wait until 70 to take your retirement benefit, you’ll at least get four years of higher widow benefits, which will offset somewhat the loss in benefits between now and full retirement age. At 70, if your own retirement benefit is higher, which I’m assuming is the case, you will just take your retirement benefit.

    Robert – Scottsville, N.Y.: My wife took Social Security at 67. I am planning to retire at 64. I was planning to take spousal benefits for 20 months, then take my own benefit at full retirement age — age 66. Would this be allowed under the new rules?

    READ MORE: Despite decreased benefits, many Americans take Social Security early

    Larry Kotlikoff: No, and it wouldn’t be allowed under the old rules either. If you were 62 before Jan. 2, 2016, you can file just for your spousal benefit at full retirement age and wait until 70 to take your own highest possible retirement benefit. This will maximize the excess widow’s benefit your wife would collect assuming your age 70 benefit exceeds her retirement benefit.

    Patrice – New York, N.Y.: Should I take spousal death benefits? I’m 62 and still employed. I was just informed that I was entitled to 74 percent of my deceased husband’s Social Security benefits since I turned 60 and that it’s six months retroactive. I was also informed that it will not affect my Social Security benefits when I retire. When I called to inquire last year I was told differently. Should I hire a lawyer who specializes in these types of matters? I don’t want to make a wrong decision.

    Larry Kotlikoff: You might need to run expert software to see what to do. There are three things that come into play here. First, when did your deceased spouse take his retirement benefit (if he did take it)? Second, is your own retirement benefit at age 70 higher than your widow’s benefit when it peaks? Third, to what extent are you now subject to the earnings test, and for how long will you be subject to it? The first question matters, because if your husband did take his retirement benefit early, your own widow’s benefit will reach a peak before your full retirement age. The second question matters for whether you should take your widows benefit or your retirement benefit first. The third question will affect how much you receive under different claiming strategies.

    READ MORE: 5 secrets and 5 gotchas to help you navigate Social Security’s new rules

    My guess is there are at least 10,000 filing strategies that expert software needs to consider to find the one that maximizes your lifetime benefits. The software needs to incorporate what’s called the “adjustment of the reduction factor,” which will bump up your widow’s benefits or your retirement benefit based on the amount of benefits you lose to the earnings test. Unless you are earning so much that the earnings test taxes away all your benefits, you should take either your widow’s benefit starting immediately and then wait until 70 to take your own retirement benefit or take your own retirement benefit starting now and take your widows benefit when it peaks, which may be before your full retirement age.

    I think you were misled about getting widow’s benefits retroactive to six months. The Social Security website says, “Retroactive benefits for months prior to attainment of [full retirement age] are not payable to a retired worker, spouse, or widow(er) if this results in a permanent reduction of the monthly benefit amount.” This would be your case. So retroactive benefits aren’t payable to you for widow’s benefits or retirement benefits.

    David – Greensboro, N.C.: I retired a year early in 2015 at age 65 to spend more time with my disabled wife who was only 61. She passed away in February 2016. Would it be beneficial for me to suspend and “reset” my benefits until I’m 70? Would I be able to file for my deceased wife’s benefits when I reach age 66 in November 2016? Are there any better options for me?

    Larry Kotlikoff: Most likely you will want to file just for your widower benefit starting immediately and ask for it retroactive six months if you are six months beyond age 66. At 70, you should take your own retirement benefit. You do not want to file for your retirement benefit and suspend it. That act could cost you every penny of your widow’s benefit.

    Jim: I’ve been getting disability since 2001. I just turned 65. What do I need to do? Will I have to reapply?

    Larry Kotlikoff: Your disability benefit will automatically become your retirement benefit when you turn 66. You can, at that point, suspend it and restart your retirement benefit at 70 at a 32 percent higher value.

    Joel: I have a client that is 67, and his wife is 40. He is collecting his Social Security right now, and she is receiving a benefit as well. His benefit is about $1,695 a month and hers is $895 a month. I should also mention that he has a 7-year-old son who is also receiving $895 a month. The father is not disabled. The wife is from Indonesia. I have searched and searched and cannot find any legitimate information or literature on this, and I would like to educate myself on the post-death consequences, etc.

    READ MORE: How to get what’s yours from Medicare and Social Security

    Larry Kotlikoff: If he dies, his child will collect a child survivor benefit, and his wife will collect a mother’s benefit. This would continue until the child is 19 if still in school, or 18 if out of school. At 60, she can collect a reduced widow’s benefit. If she waits until full retirement age to collect her widows benefits, her widow’s benefit won’t be reduced.

    Phyllis: Bought your book and loved it! Please help… I was married for 33 years and worked 20 years. I was born in October 1954. My husband died four years ago, but before he died, he divorced me. (The cancer spread to brain — neurosis and psychosis — and it was very ugly.) I did not remarry. I’m now 61. I want to claim my Social Security at 62 and then his with my survivor benefit at 66 — my full retirement age. Social Security tells me I cannot do this, and I’ve tried two offices. Please help. I don’t think I am getting the correct information and want to do the best thing. Thank you in advance!

    READ MORE: Can my ex collect Social Security on my work record?

    Larry Kotlikoff: If you are earning too much money, you could lose all your benefits due to the earnings test. It reduces your benefits 50 cents on the dollar for every dollar you earn above $15,720. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why they would tell you this. Even if you lose some but not all your retirement benefits, you should take them at 62 if that’s part of the Social Security maximization strategy. It could be better to take your widow’s benefit now and your own retirement benefit at 70. You need to run expert software that incorporates the earnings test to find out.

    Max – Ariz.: I filed and suspended my benefits a little over a year ago when I reached full retirement age. My original plan was to wait until 70, but now I may need to claim Social Security benefits in order to qualify for a mortgage loan. Will I be able to re-suspend after the loan is approved, or am I limited to only one suspension in my lifetime?

    I am currently 67, single and retired, and I’m living mostly off IRA distributions. I tried asking Social Security about this by email, but they just keep sending me a link to their website, which doesn’t address limits or multiple suspensions.

    Larry Kotlikoff: The answer is yes. Just don’t ask for your suspended benefits in a lump sum in which case they will reset your monthly benefit back to the level at which you suspended it.

    Ellen: I was divorced after 10 years of marriage in 1980. My ex is four years older than I am and began receiving his Social Security at 62. I began collecting on his record when I reached full retirement age (66) for what is called my full benefit, but it’s half of what he was receiving at the time. Last fall, I applied for my benefit on my own record. I began receiving that five months after turning 70, as it took longer than usual to process, and my application kept getting stuck in their system. (I made multiple phone calls including two to the office manager where I live. I also had to correct the information they had for the county and state of my divorce, but I digress.)

    On to my question. At various intervals since I turned 60, I have visited my Social Security office to ask if I could go back to receiving benefits on his full amount if he passes before I do. The answers I receive are vague. I’ve been told, “You are not locked in,” or “You asked in the wrong way. You will receive your benefit plus the difference between yours and his.” Does this statement about the difference between the amount I receive and his benefit amount come out the same as the amount he receives at his passing if he predeceases me? My ex is older than I am and so I wanted to make sure I was applying in the correct order so as to avoid being one of your horror stories. My ex earned the top amount for maximum benefits (if he had waited to start drawing until full retirement). I had gaps in my earnings due to raising two children and was by far the lower earner.

    READ MORE: Should you file for your Social Security benefits online, over the phone or in person?

    I have not read your book, but I have read your columns since PBS NewsHour first began to run them online. I read the Forbes article on Social Security Horror stories today.

    Thank you very much for considering my question. I would like any answer I receive to help others in some way, as it’s too late to change my decisions.

    Larry Kotlikoff: When your ex passes, you’ll receive his check (that is, his retirement benefit) and nothing more. It will, however, be described as the sum of your own full retirement benefit plus your excess divorced widow benefit. The excess divorced widow benefit will just equal his check less your full retirement benefit. So it does amount to the same amount under either description.

    Rich: My wife started taking her full benefit based on her own earnings starting in December 2015 when she turned 66. I will be 66 in May of 2017 and am taking no benefits. Can I collect a spousal benefit at age 66 until I turn 70? And is this the best strategy? Her spousal benefit when I turn 70 will be about the same as her present benefit.

    Larry Kotlikoff: You can file just for a spousal benefit when you turn 66, provided that your wife continues to collect her retirement benefit. She has the option to suspend it and restart it at a higher level at 70. Had she suspended it before April 30, her retirement benefit would be in suspension now and grow through age 70 when she would restart it. In this case, you would still be able to collect just a spousal benefit when you turn 66 and take your own retirement benefit at 70. However, it sounds like she did not suspend before April 30. And were she to suspend now, she could not provide you any benefits while her own retirement benefit remained in suspension. Yes, Social Security is treating people who did x before April 30 very differently from those who do x after April 29. The difference in treatment can amount to as much as $60,000. If this sounds extremely unfair, we’re on the same page.

    Given the new law and given what you folks have and haven’t done, I think you need to run a very precise Social Security benefit maximization program to see if it’s best for your wife to suspend for a couple of years even if that means you’re not collecting a spousal benefit for that period of time.

    The post I’ve fallen on hardship. Should I take Social Security early? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in observance of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, U.S., May 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas  - RTX2EV36

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JOHN YANG: Good evening. I’m John Yang. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff are away.

    On the “NewsHour” tonight: In a Memorial Day tradition, President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honor fallen service members.

    Then: The Iraqi army, backed by the U.S., battle Islamic State forces in the key city of Fallujah, trying to take back the Iraqi city seized by the terror group two years ago.

    Also ahead: Following the twists and turns of the campaign trail, our politics Monday Team breaks down the most recent developments in the presidential election.

    Plus, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Balakian grapples with his family’s dark past as survivors of the Armenian genocide.

    PETER BALAKIAN, Winner, 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: One of the reasons for my writing “Black Dog of Fate” was to try to make sense of growing up in a family in which a traumatic history was really repressed.

    JOHN YANG: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”


    JOHN YANG: The battle to recapture the Islamic State’s last major stronghold in Western Iraq has been joined in earnest. Government troops began pushing into Fallujah today, after seizing most of the city’s outskirts in the last week. An Iraqi commander says the fighting was fierce. We will have a full report on the battle after the news summary.

    In the day’s other news: Officials in Afghanistan reported more than 50 police killed in a string of Taliban attacks, the first since the group named a new leader last week. The militants hit checkpoints in Eastern Helmand Province, killing 33 officers on Sunday, and up to 24 others today. Residents in the provincial capital said artillery and machine gun fire could be heard close to the city.

    On this Memorial Day, President Obama made special mention of the Americans who died in the past year in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was the last time this commander in chief will lead the nation’s observances on a day of time-honored traditions.

    William Brangham has our report.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Every day, there are American families who pray for the sound of a familiar voice when the phone rings. Instead, a car pulled up to the house, and there was a knock on the front door, and the sound of “Taps” floated through a cemetery’s trees.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Thousands of headstones bore mute witness at Arlington National Cemetery today, as the president first laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and then spoke of the sacrifice they represent.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If you look closely at the white markers that grace these hills, one thing you will notice is that so many of years, dates of birth and dates of death, are so close together.

    They belong to young Americans, those who never lived to be honored as veterans for their service, men who battled their own brothers in civil war, those who fought as a band of brothers an ocean away, men and women who redefined heroism for a new generation.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: More than two dozen American service members have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since last Memorial Day.

    The president today singled out three of them, all special forces troops killed by Islamic State fighters in Iraq, Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV, Marine Staff Sergeant Louis Cardin, and Army Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler.

    President Obama also said Americans, and the government, must do more for those who do return home.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We have to make sure our veterans get everything that they have earned, from good health care to a good job, and we have to do better. Our work is never done. We have to be there not only when we need them, but when they need us.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Amid the ceremonies in Washington, police locked down parts of the White House complex for a time, when someone threw a suspicious package over a fence. A woman was later taken into custody.

    Elsewhere, annual parades and tributes played out across the country. In New Castle, Delaware, Vice President Biden took part in ceremonies naming the state National Guard headquarters for his son, Beau Biden, who died last year of brain cancer.

    And Memorial Day also brought thousands of travelers to airports. There were still long security lines in some places, but, for the most part, delays appeared shorter than before.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham.

    JOHN YANG: About 320 rescued migrants and refugees arrived at a port in Sicily today.

    And something has happened in Sweden that had not happened since they started keeping records in 1749. The country now has more men than women. The Swedish government’s new count is a rare (AUDIO GAP)

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: Iraqi forces advance on the ISIS-held city of Fallujah; our Politics Monday duo breaks down the state of the presidential race; a tech mogul’s fight against Gawker generates a fierce debate over a free press; and much more.

    The post News Wrap: ‘We have to do better’ by our vets, Obama says at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Republican presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump arrives at a rally held at the Trump Tower in New York City on April 26. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    Republican presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump arrives at a rally held at the Trump Tower in New York City on April 26. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Peter Costanzo is the man who helped turn Donald Trump into @RealDonaldTrump.

    That, of course, is Trump’s Twitter account — a high-octane portal for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to pump out insults, political attacks and self-promotion to more than 8 million followers. But the billionaire’s foray into the world of social media began with a much simpler purpose, yet one that’s still distinctively Trump: making money.

    Costanzo crossed paths with Trump in 2009 when he was working as online marketing director for the publishing company putting out the businessman’s book, “Think Like a Champion.” Twitter was still in its infancy at the time. But Costanzo saw the 140-character-per-message platform as a new tool that the real estate mogul could use to boost sales and reach a broader audience.

    He was given seven minutes to make his pitch to Trump — “Not five minutes, not 10,” Constanzo said — in a boardroom at Trump Tower in Manhattan that appeared to be the same one used on Trump’s reality television show.

    Trump liked what he heard.

    “I said, ‘Let’s call you @RealDonaldTrump — you’re the real Donald Trump,'” Costanzo said. “He thought about it for a minute and said, ‘I like it. Let’s do it.'”

    Costanzo would spend the next several months helping coordinate Trump’s Twitter account, as well as his official Facebook page, often sending out messages for his famous client. He credited Trump with being an early adopter of the service and says he believes Trump understood its potential.

    “He seemed very excited about the idea of being able to reach people so directly,” Costanzo said. “I think he immediately got it.”

    Trump’s office confirmed the outlines of Costanzo’s account. Costanzo — a 51-year-old who goes by @PeterCostanzo on Twitter — now works as digital and archival publishing manager for The Associated Press, a position that is separate from the news department.

    While Costanzo’s moniker for Trump on Twitter may have survived, the early days of the businessman’s account bear little resemblance to the current iteration, which frequently drives news in the White House race.

    During the roughly eight months when Costanzo was in charge of the burgeoning Trump Twitter account, each missive was carefully crafted by the publishing company or the businessman’s office. Trump got final approval before Costanzo pressed “Tweet.”

    Most of the messages were quotations from the book, a collection of Trump lessons on life and business. “My persona will never be that of a wallflower — I’d rather build walls than cling to them,” read one early tweet.

    Sometimes Trump would send word through an associate that he wanted to offer a holiday greeting. His retweets were rare then.

    Now, Trump starts firing off messages early in the morning and often continues past midnight. He’ll shout out tweets for aides to type during the day and take over himself at night. Spelling and grammar are sometimes amiss, and exclamation points are plentiful.

    Trump frequently retweets messages from other people’s accounts, something he’s admitted “gets me in trouble.” He faced particular criticism for retweeting an unflattering photo of former rival Ted Cruz’s wife and has since said he wished he hadn’t done that.

    Costanzo, who no longer has any role with Trump’s Twitter account or books, says he’s marveled at the following his most famous client has built on social media. Asked whether he had any Twitter advice for Trump now, Costanzo said, “He seems to be doing just fine without me.”

    The post Inside the origins of Trump’s high-octane Twitter account appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her phone while sitting next to South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan (right) at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan on Nov. 30, 2011. Photo by Saul Loeb/Pool via Reuters

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her phone while sitting next to South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan (right) at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan on Nov. 30, 2011. Photo by Saul Loeb/Pool via Reuters

    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 month.

    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, (asterisk)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 did.,nt (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 Clinton exchanged hundreds of thousands of messages with people in government from her personal 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 emails 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.


    Associated Press writer Lisa Lerer reported from Las Vegas.

    The post AP Fact Check: Some Clinton email misstatements appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Photo by Klaus Vedfelt/Riser via Getty Images.

    When you’re called to an interview, make your own requirements clear before you go. Photo by Klaus Vedfelt/Riser via Getty Images.

    Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community over the past decade.

    In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.

    Many employers behave badly during the hiring process because job applicants let them. The psychology is simple: Employers control the jobs, so job applicants take any abuse heaped on them, for the chance to get a job. When job applicants behave like beggars, they’re treated with disrespect.

    The irony is, any company that hires you after this kind of experience is going to make you miserable once you’re working there — and you’ll just have to do it all over again shortly. So don’t let them treat you disrespectfully.

    READ MORE: The do’s and don’ts for a job interview at a bar

    In last week’s column, we covered some do’s and don’ts for employers (“Employers, respect job applicants. Your company’s reputation depends on it.”) But I know most people who read Ask The Headhunter are job hunters, so let’s discuss what you can do to improve the hiring process — and to get the respect you deserve.

    When job applicants behave like beggars, they’re treated with disrespect.
    How do you, as a candidate, goose an employer into showing you appropriate respect? It’s actually simple — if not easy. You refuse to accept less.

    When you’re called to an interview, make your own requirements clear before you go.

    Insist on meeting or talking with the hiring manager first.

    Your time is valuable, and every hour you take off from your current job — or from your job search — is easily wasted. So, when a personnel jockey wants to interview you first, don’t be shy about saying, “Take me to your leader. I interview only with hiring managers, until we establish there’s mutual interest in working together. After that, I’d be happy to meet with HR.”

    If HR insists on screening you first, don’t fall for it. Either the manager doesn’t even know you’re being screened, or he asked a clerk who has little expertise in the work you do to assess you first.

    What does HR know about marketing analytics? About signal-to-noise ratios? About php or Ruby on Rails? About logistics? Are you really going to let yourself be judged by HR at the first cut? You might as well buy a lottery ticket. And before you complain to me that “I have no choice!” — add up the number of times you’ve agreed to meet HR first, only to be rejected out of hand or ignored after your meeting. Please admit to yourself that “HR first” almost always means an incongruous rejection. Then consider taking a firm stance. Behave like your time is valuable, and like it’s worth the hiring manager’s time to meet you first.

    State your expectations.

    Ask for an agenda for your meeting, and for the name of the interviewer.

    “I’d like to prepare, so the meeting will be profitable to us both. I’d also like to look up the manager on LinkedIn prior to our meeting, so I’m familiar with her credentials and experience.”

    Behave like your time is valuable, and like it’s worth the hiring manager’s time to meet you.
    How can you possibly demonstrate your value to an employer if you don’t know who they are and what they want to discuss with you? Any meetings you take with unknown interviewers will not be to your advantage.

    In the absence of a written agenda, talk with the manager on the phone before you meet so you can set one. Your goal is to know what the manager needs help with — so you can be ready to discuss how you’ll do the job.

    Emphasize that your time is valuable.

    Agree to an exact time to meet. Be a little early. If the manager is late and there’s no explanation, leave after 15 minutes. If no one calls to apologize profusely, ignore the company; they don’t respect you. Then tell your friends about your experience. Your professional community deserves to know. Move on to your next opportunity.

    Expect respect.

    If the manager doesn’t greet you personally, think hard before accepting another invitation from that company. Yes, the manager is busy. But you deserve respect. It’s also called courtesy. They expect you to display it. Expect the same from them.

    Keep your standards high, and in turn you’ll raise employers’ standards.
    Employers won’t get smart about recruiting and hiring on their own — not unless you show them that how they treat you matters. If you think “playing along” with bad behavior is going to get you a good job, wise up. It won’t.

    I know this is frustrating. I know you feel you should not be the one to make demands of employers. But I’ll repeat what I said before: You already know the odds of getting a job by accepting unacceptable behavior from employers are about zero. So, buck up and raise your standards for interviews, if you want employers to raise theirs.

    Your success in the job hunt turns on your expectations, and on your willingness to act on them. Keep your standards high, and in turn you’ll raise employers’ standards. Elicit their respect. If you don’t get it, walk. If you do, relax. You’ll find yourself in good company. (See “Smart Hiring: A manager who respects applicants (Part 1).”)

    Dear Readers: Do you do what HR tells you when you apply for a job? Or do you have your own rules?

    Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

    Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

    Copyright © 2016 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

    The post Ask the Headhunter: How to get the respect you deserve in a job interview appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Watch the full press conference on Donald Trump’s veteran contributions.

    NEW YORK — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump provided details Tuesday of the charities that received millions of dollars from a veterans’ fundraiser he held earlier this year following sustained pressure from media outlets trying to account for the promised funds.

    Trump told reporters at a news conference in New York that his fundraiser, held in boycott of a Fox News presidential debate, raised $5.6 million, responding to questions about the amount raised and how those funds were directed.

    “The money’s all been sent,” Trump said at a press conference at Trump Tower Tuesday morning, where he criticized the press for making the money an issue.

    Trump had claimed that he raised $6 million through a combination of pledges from wealthy friends, the public and $1 million from himself after a splashy telethon-style fundraiser he held in Iowa in January in place of the Fox debate.

    But his campaign refused to disclose which charities had received the money for months, leading some to speculate that the money raised was less than he had claimed.

    “It was very unfair that the press treated us so badly,” Trump complained.

    Local New York Veteran affiliated with the group “the #VetsVsHate” are planning a protest outside Trump Tower to complain that Trump “has used veterans as political props.”

    “Trump has been evasive and dishonest about this money, and only after being confronted for attempting to defraud vets was he shamed into accounting for the missing funds,” the group said in a release.

    Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski had originally told the Washington Post that the event had raised about $4.5 million — less than the $6 million originally announced by Trump — because some who’d pledged contributions had backed out. He’d also said all the money had been given out.

    Trump contradicted those comments when he told the paper that the total raised was higher and that his team had been busy vetting the groups.

    The post Watch Video: Trump details fundraising for veterans’ charities appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    File photo of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by Charles Mostoller/Reuters

    File photo of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by Charles Mostoller/Reuters

    LOS ANGELES — California Gov. Jerry Brown is endorsing Hillary Clinton just a week before the state’s June 7 primary.

    In an open letter tweeted Tuesday, Brown writes that Clinton has the best shot at stopping Republican Donald Trump, whose candidacy he calls “dangerous.”

    The governor says that while he’s impressed with how well Bernie Sanders has done, he believes a Clinton candidacy is the only path forward for Democrats to win the presidency.

    Brown says Clinton’s lead over Sanders is insurmountable. He points out that voters have given her about 3 million more votes and hundreds more delegates.

    Brown says that with Clinton’s long experience, especially as secretary of state, she has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead on day one.

    The post California Gov. Jerry Brown endorses Clinton before primary appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    File photo of the Supreme Court by Al Drago/CQ Roll Call

    File photo of the Supreme Court by Al Drago/CQ Roll Call

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is making it easier for landowners to bring a court challenge when federal regulators try to restrict property development due to concerns about water pollution.

    The justices ruled unanimously Tuesday that a Minnesota company could file a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the agency’s determination that its land is off limits to peat mining under the Clean Water Act.

    The ruling is a win for property rights and business groups that said it was unfair for government agencies to decide what land is subject to complex environmental laws without a court ever deciding whether the agency is right.

    It was the second time in four years that the high court sided with property owners against the government in a dispute over the right to challenge a designation of protected wetlands.

    The Obama administration argued that the Hawkes Company could only contest the finding by seeking a permit, an expensive process that could take years to resolve. The company said it should be able to challenge the order immediately in federal court without having to spend more than $100,000 on a permit or risk hefty fines.

    Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the Corps’ decision was the kind of final decision that carries a risk of major criminal and civil penalties if landowners don’t go along. He said property owners shouldn’t have to wait for the agency to “drop the hammer in order to have their day in court.”

    In a separate opinion, three of the court’s conservative justices renewed concerns about “the reach and systemic consequences” of the Clean Water Act.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy called the law’s reach “notoriously unclear” and said it “continues to raise troubling questions regarding the government’s power to cast doubt on the full use and enjoyment of private property throughout the nation.” He was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

    Some landowners contend that the government has gone too far using the Clean Water Act to regulate isolated ponds or marshes with no direct connection to navigable waterways. Previous lawsuits led to rulings by the Supreme Court in 2001 and 2006 that limited regulators’ reach but left many questions unanswered.

    The Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule last year to clarify which smaller waterways fall under federal protection, but Republicans have accused the Obama administration of regulatory overreach. It is on hold as federal courts consider legal challenges by states and groups representing farmers and other businesses.

    The latest case began when the East Grand Forks, Minnesota, company planned to expand its peat processing operations and asked the Corps for guidance. The agency issued a determination that the property was governed by the Clean Water Act because it affected the Red River of the North about 120 miles away.

    The Obama administration said the Corps’ determination was more like informal agency guidance that had no legal effect. Justice Department lawyers warned that allowing court challenges before trying to get a permit from the agency would open the floodgates to “piecemeal litigation” over thousands of similar decisions.

    A federal appeals court said the company could take its challenge to court without having to seek a permit from the agency.

    “Today’s ruling marks a long-awaited victory for individual liberty, property rights, and the rule of law,” said Reed Hopper, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation who argued the case for Hawkes. He said Kennedy’s dissent “does not bode well” for the EPA’s new rule.

    A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

    The high court’s decision is similar to a 2012 case in which the Supreme Court unanimously sided with property orders in a dispute with the Environmental Protection Agency. The justices said landowners could bring an immediate court challenge to an EPA order that halted construction on property designated as protected wetlands.

    SUBSCRIBE: Get the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks delivered to your inbox every week.

    The post High court sides with property owners in wetlands case appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    A U.S. Air Force and Vietnam war veteran participates in a Veterans Day ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Nov. 11, 2014. File photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    A U.S. Air Force and Vietnam war veteran participates in a Veterans Day ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Nov. 11, 2014. File photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Donald Trump listed on Tuesday more than 40 veteran groups to which he has raised or contributed his own money, after mounting questions from the media.

    The contributions, which total $5.6 million, are:

    Team 22 Kill — $200,000

    Achilles International — $200,000

    American Hero Adventures — $100,000

    Americans for Equal Living — $100,000

    America’s Vet Dogs, the Veteran K-9 Corps Inc. — $75,000

    AMVETS — $75,000

    The Armed Services YMCA — $75,000

    Bob Woodruff Family Foundation Inc. — $75,000

    Central Iowa Shelter and Services — $100,000

    Connected Warriors, Inc — $75,000

    Disabled American Veterans Charitable Trust — $115,000

    Fisher House Foundation — $115,000

    Folds of Honor Foundation — $200,000

    Foundation for American Veterans — $75,000

    Freedom Alliance — $75,000

    Green Beret Foundation — $350,000

    Hire Heroes USA — $75,000

    Homes for Our Troops — $50,000

    Honoring America’s Warriors — $100,000

    Hope for the Warriors — $65,000

    Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund — $175,000

    K-9s for Warriors — $50,000

    Liberty House — $100,000

    Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation — $1.1 million (Trump said he donated $1 million of his own money to this group.)

    Navy Seal Foundation — $465,000

    Navy Marine Corps Relief Society — $75,000

    New England Wounded Veterans Inc. — $75,000

    Operation Home Front — $65,000

    Partners for Patriots — $100,000

    Projects for Patriots — $100,000 (Trump clarified that this group is still being vetted.)

    Puppy Jake Foundation — $100,000

    Racing for Heroes, Inc. — $200,000

    Support Siouxland Soldiers — $100,000

    Task Force Dagger Foundation — $50,000

    The Mission Continues — $75,000

    The National Military Family Association — $75,000

    Veterans Airlift Command — $100,000

    Veterans Count — $25,000

    Veterans in Command, Inc. — $150,000

    Vietnam Veterans Workshop Inc. — $75,000

    Warriors for Freedom Foundation — $50,000

    The post Which veteran groups got Donald Trump’s dollars? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    Airplanes line up at Los Angeles International Airport on June 20, 2001 in California. File photo by David McNew/via Getty Images

    Airplanes line up at Los Angeles International Airport on June 20, 2001 in California. File photo by David McNew/via Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — The State Department is warning Americans visiting Europe this summer about the potential for terrorist attacks.

    Tuesday’s travel alert says major sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and shopping centers are possible targets.

    France is hosting soccer’s European Championship and cycling’s Tour de France, while under an extended state of emergency. Two-and-a-half million visitors are expected in Krakow, Poland, for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day in late July.

    The department tells U.S. citizens to be vigilant in public places or when using mass transportation. They also should be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.

    The warning expires Aug. 31.

    The post U.S. warns summer’s Europe-bound Americans about terror risks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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    XSTAT wound device

    The sponges in XSTAT expand to 15 times their size when they come in contact with blood. Photo by NewsHour

    A device designed to staunch bleeding from combat wounds — when traditional methods are too slow or insufficient — was successful in its first documented use in the field, according to a press release by its creator, RevMedx. The recent invention, XSTAT, was used on a coalition soldier who was wounded by a gunshot to the left thigh.

    XSTAT works by pumping tiny sponges into a wound via syringe. The sponges expand to 15 times their size when they come in contact with blood. XSTAT is designed to be effective for wound locations that are harder to treat, such as the groin area.

    The patient’s bleeding was initially stopped by a tourniquet, according to a report by the military. But there was residual bleeding during a nearly seven-hour operation by a U.S. military forward surgical team. “Eventually, the FST team opted to use XSTAT and applied a single XSTAT device…resulting in nearly immediate hemostasis.”

    The innovative device was profiled by the NewsHour in 2014. RevMedx’s John Steinbaugh, a former Special Forces medic who served for more than 20 years in the Army, explained its impetus.

    “Back in 2006-2007, at the height of the [Iraq] war, medics were getting fed up with the standard gauze….the way the medics described the device they wanted was fix-a-flat,” as in a flat tire, Steinbaugh said to the NewsHour. “You inject the fix-a-flat into your tire, it finds the escaping air, it plugs it, and done.”

    Steinbaugh and his colleagues — a team of experts from the military and private sector — considered other ideas before pursuing the one that succeeded. “We literally went to Williams-Sonoma, brought compressed sponges out of a kitchen store, loaded them in homemade syringes that we made, and put them in a model, and they expanded and worked,” Steinbaugh said.

    Aided by a a $5 million grant from the U.S. Army, they spent three years developing the idea. XSTAT received FDA approval in 2014.

    Responding to its success in helping its first documented patient, Andrew Barofsky, president and CEO of RevMedx, said he hoped for “further adoption of XSTAT as a standard of care for severe hemorrhage in pre-hospital settings.”

    The post This innovative, wound-filling sponge just saved its first soldier appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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