Articles on this Page
- 06/19/16--07:52: _Oil bust leaves sta...
- 06/19/16--09:08: _Led Zeppelin faces ...
- 06/19/16--09:34: _Obama says climate ...
- 06/19/16--11:12: _As new investigatio...
- 06/19/16--11:22: _Thousands of Minnes...
- 06/19/16--13:13: _What we know one we...
- 06/19/16--13:38: _Solar plane leaving...
- 06/19/16--13:42: _What’s your surpris...
- 06/19/16--14:21: _Two planes undertak...
- 06/19/16--14:47: _GOP has nominated a...
- 06/19/16--15:19: _Britain debates mem...
- 06/19/16--15:27: _The unique trauma o...
- 06/20/16--09:27: _Gun control votes m...
- 06/20/16--10:15: _World needs ‘spirit...
- 06/20/16--10:41: _After the Orlando t...
- 06/20/16--12:01: _Orlando shooting sh...
- 06/20/16--14:17: _The science behind ...
- 06/20/16--14:57: _Gay Beiruti musicia...
- 06/20/16--15:25: _A new wing at Tate ...
- 06/20/16--15:27: _Cavaliers win Cleve...
- 06/19/16--07:52: Oil bust leaves states with massive well cleanup
- 06/19/16--09:08: Led Zeppelin faces copyright case for ‘Stairway to Heaven’
- 06/19/16--09:34: Obama says climate change already damaging national parks
- 06/19/16--11:22: Thousands of Minnesota nurses launch week-long strike
- 06/19/16--13:13: What we know one week after the Orlando massacre
- 06/19/16--13:38: Solar plane leaving U.S. for Europe after yearlong stay
- 06/19/16--13:42: What’s your surprise medical bill story?
- 06/19/16--14:21: Two planes undertake dangerous South Pole rescue mission
- 06/19/16--14:47: GOP has nominated an ‘outsider’ for president before
- 06/19/16--15:19: Britain debates membership in EU before Brexit vote
- 06/19/16--15:27: The unique trauma of mass shootings — and how hospitals can prepare
- 06/20/16--14:57: Gay Beiruti musician: Islamophobia harms the LGBT community
- 06/20/16--15:25: A new wing at Tate Modern, more space for underrepresented artists
- 06/20/16--15:27: Cavaliers win Cleveland its first sports title in 52 years
BIGFOOT, Texas — The worst oil bust since the 1980s is putting Texas and other oil producing states on the hook for thousands of newly abandoned drilling sites at a time when they have little money to plug wells and seal off environmental hazards.
As U.S. rig counts plunge to historic lows, and with at least 60 oil producers declaring bankruptcy since 2014, energy-producing states are confronting both holes in their budgets and potentially leaking ones in the ground. In Texas alone, the roughly $165 million price tag of plugging nearly 10,000 abandoned wells is double the entire budget of the agency that regulates the industry.
The problem is forcing states to get creative: Texas regulators now want taxpayers to cover more of the clean-up, supplementing industry payments. Wyoming and Louisiana are riling drillers with steeper fees. Oklahoma is reshuffling money among agencies in the face of a $1.1 billion state budget shortfall, while regulators also grapple with earthquakes linked to oil and gas activities.
“As downtown turns go, this one happened faster and accelerated. It moved downward faster than the big downturn we had in the ’80s,” said John Graves, a Houston oil consultant. “For some people in our industry, it’s been more intense.” Crude prices that peaked above $100 a barrel in 2014 plunged by 60 percent in just six months.
But these responses — if they even wind up working — are still years from meeting the growing backlog of untended wells. Texas officials predict the number of orphaned wells could soar to 12,000, which would be nearly 25 percent more than what regulators can’t keep up with now. Landowners, meanwhile, are growing restless with abandoned pump jacks and damage while drillers warn that crackdowns would only put them out of business faster at a time when oil has finally crept from below $30 a barrel to about $50.
“It’s the magnitude because this bust is so deep. In Wyoming they had a single operator walk away, and instead of it being 5, 10, 20 wells, it was 150,” said Bruce Baizel, who monitors oil and gas regulators for the environmental group Earthworks. “It’s not the small, marginal operators. You’re starting to get into some medium-sized independents walking away from things.”
Orphaned wells are potential environmental hazards below ground as well as rusted-out eyesores above. A 2011 report by the multistate Ground Water Protection Council found at least 30 cases of groundwater contamination in Texas caused by orphan wells between 1993 and 2008.
In the Bigfoot Field south of San Antonio, tall stalks of weedy thistle surround dormant wellheads, some stained with crude or leaking fluids. State regulators place a higher priority on bigger hazards.
The problem is not new. Energy-rich state had thousands of orphaned wells on the books for decades, particularly in Texas, where the backlog exceeded 25,000 in the early 2000s before landowners pressured lawmakers to light a fire under state regulators. Landowners are getting antsy again, as the state’s Republican comptroller, Glenn Hegar, has predicted that a third of oil producers in Texas will go bankrupt this summer.
“These landowners are chained to a corpse,” said Trey Scott, a managing partner of Trinity Mineral Management, which represents landowners who own thousands of acres in the Texas oil patch. With the state facing an average cost of $17,000 per well, Scott said, “If you have those wells, your chances of getting them plugged are slim to none.”
Such expenses are normally covered by fees paid by producers, a reliance that Texas regulators say is no longer sufficient as they appeal for more taxpayer funding. Texas hasn’t raised the price of required bonds on drillers since 1991, which are as low as $25,000 for smaller operators. Last year, Texas collected $4 million from drillers who abandoned more than 1,500 wells — about a fifth of the cost of plugging all of them. Texas lawmakers won’t decide whether to give regulators more money until 2017, while a critical report by the state’s Sunset Commission in April urged finally hiking bonding rates “to protect both the environment and public safety.”
Last winter, Louisiana started requiring producers to put up a new bond of $7 for every foot drilled in an attempt to deal with the state’s roughly 3,000 abandoned wells. After drillers revolted, however, Louisiana’s Office of Conservation in April suspended the new bonding until August.
“The state’s broke and they’re trying to raise funds however they can,” said Dempsey Oil Company owner Jimmy Dempsey, an operator in northwest Louisiana. “It doesn’t take a genius to fill a well with concrete.”
In Oklahoma, budget cuts to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission have led to fewer well-plugging contracts. Nearly $400,000 in emergency funding that Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin sought for the agency this year was used instead for technology upgrades and earthquake monitoring.
“We’re not going to have that same luxury next year,” Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Director of Finance Cleve Pierce said of the state’s well-plugging dollars.
Associated Press writer Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.
Read the full transcript below:
HARI SREENIVASAN: In surveys of the greatest rock ‘n roll songs of all time, Led Zeppelin’s 1971 recording of “Stairway to Heaven” is usually near the top.
But this week, in Los Angeles federal court, a jury began hearing evidence and testimony about whether the band may have lifted part of the song from a more obscure group.
The Newshour’s Phil Hirschkorn has more.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: The opening, acoustic guitar chords to “Stairway to Heaven” are instantly recognizable to classic rock fans.
Representatives of the band “Spirit” allege the genesis of that passage is this instrumental, called “Taurus,” released three years earlier.
At stake in the trial is the reputation of one of rock’s seminal bands…and millions of dollars.
The estate of spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe, who died in 1997, is seeking songwriting credit and royalties.
The plaintiffs say Led Zeppelin may have heard “Taurus” when they played at the same concerts with spirit in the late 1960s.
But Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page testified though he owned spirit albums, he never heard the song until two years ago, when the suit was filed.
FRANCIS ALEXANDER MALOFIY, Attorney for plaintiffs: Well look, it is frustrating.
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: The jury is not expected to hear either band’s actual recordings of the songs but only a musician playing copyrighted sheet music.
ROBERT PLANT: I used to be better looking than this…
PHIL HIRSCHKORN: Led Zeppelin has been accused before of copyright infringement for other big hits like “Dazed and Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love,” settling those cases by sharing songwriting credit and paying royalties.
With continued radio play, streaming, and sales, a plaintiff’s expert testified royalties from “Stairway to Heaven” in the past three years alone were 60 million dollars.
The post Led Zeppelin faces copyright case for ‘Stairway to Heaven’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — President Barack Obama said Saturday that climate change is already damaging America’s national parks, with rising temperatures causing Yosemite’s meadows to dry out and raising the prospect of a glacier preserve without its glaciers someday.
“Make no mistake. Climate change is no longer just a threat. It’s already a reality,” Obama said from a podium, with Yosemite Falls, one of the world’s tallest at 2,425 feet, as a backdrop.
At the California park, where Obama was spending the weekend with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha, the president also talked about how a rabbit-like animal known as a pika is being forced further upslope at Yosemite to escape the heat.
“Rising temperatures could mean no more glaciers at Glacier National Park. No more Joshua trees at Joshua Tree National Park,” he said, adding that a changing climate could destroy vital ecosystems in the Everglades and threaten such landmarks as Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.[Watch Video]
Obama spoke near Yosemite’s Sentinel Bridge, where views of Half Dome, a well-known rock formation in the park, and Yosemite Falls created a picturesque background behind him under a sunny, blue sky.
After a night with his family in a rented cabin in the popular park, Obama stuck to his usual routine by rising early Saturday and heading to a recreation center on the grounds for his daily gym workout.
Obama’s weekend in the great outdoors was planned to encourage more people to appreciate and visit many of the nation’s parks. The National Park Services manages more than 400 sites around the country and celebrates its centennial in August.
The post Obama says climate change already damaging national parks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
As family and friends begin the painful task of laying their loved ones to rest one week after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history last Sunday at an Orlando nightclub, those who came in contact with the lone gunman and survived are just beginning to process the carnage he left behind.
Funerals for the victims are scheduled for the next two weeks in Orlando, Puerto Rico and across the country, with some services beginning on Friday. On Sunday, thousands are expected to attend a vigil at an Orlando park held to remember the victims of the shooting.
Omar Mateen, 29, opened fire at popular gay nightclub Pulse, killing 49 people and injuring 53 more, just as hundreds were winding down a night of revelry.
The rampage stretched on for hours before police used an armored vehicle to plow through a wall of the establishment, killing Mateen in a gunfight near the dead and wounded who were holed up inside the bloodied bathroom of the club.
By about 5 a.m., the siege had ended. But for those who survived the massacre, the healing process is just beginning.
“Some days I can get through without crying at all,” said one survivor, Patience Carter, in an interview with the NewsHour. “This stone-cold face. I’m just recounting the event over and over and over in my head.”
Carter, 20, was on the second day of a week-long vacation. She was traveling from Philadelphia with her friend, Tiara Parker, and Parker’s family, when they found an advertisement online describing Pulse as the hottest nightclub in Orlando.
“We decided to go out for some fun,” she said.
Reaching the club around midnight, they duo met up with Parker’s 18-year-old cousin, Akyra Murray, a student-athlete who recently graduated near the top of her class at a Philadelphia high school and was preparing for her freshman year at college.
The trip was supposed to be a celebration of her achievements. A few hours later, after a night of dancing, all three women had been shot. Murray was dead.
“We were living it up,” Carter told the NewsHour by phone from an Orlando hospital. “It was like the best experience. It was my first time being at a club in Orlando. Everyone was so open and welcoming.”
But the club that many described as a safe haven for the LGBTQ community will now stand as a memorial to the dead.
The Orlando Regional Medical Center said in a statement released on Sunday that 18 people remain hospitalized as they recover from their wounds. Carter is among them.
The New York University student, who is about to enter her junior year, was shot in both legs, leaving a femur bone shattered. She will have to re-learn how to walk.
“I would have never thought in a million years that this would be the outcome,” she said.
As federal investigators search for clues on Mateen’s motivations for the mass killing, one person who said he suspected that his former coworker could be capable of a massacre was Daniel Gilroy.
The one-time police officer worked in security with Mateen for about a year at a Port St. Lucie, Florida, gated community.
He said Mateen, who was a police academy cadet, seemed fascinated with Gilroy’s background as an officer.
But Gilroy told the NewsHour this week he had repeatedly warned his superiors that Mateen was a ticking time bomb who sometimes mentioned wanting to kill black people. He said Mateen used racial slurs and made misogynistic comments as the two talked between shifts inside a security booth.
After a year of complaints, a racially charged comment made by Mateen and directed at Gilroy’s African-American friend was the tipping point.
“I went home I slept on it,” Gilroy said. “I came back, I told him, ‘We’re no longer friends. We don’t talk, we don’t send me emails. Don’t send me text messages.'”
Instead, over days, Mateen sent him a flurry of text messages and phone calls. Gilroy said he feared for his girlfriend’s life and tried again to approach his superiors before finally quitting in March 2015.
“These text message were like ‘You betrayed me,’ ‘I thought you were my friend,’ ‘I feel stabbed in the back,’ ‘I thought you were an upstanding guy,’ Gilroy recalled. “Some people have good days and bad — he just had bad days.”
Carter and other witnesses inside the club, along with investigators, say Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State while speaking with 911 dispatchers during the assault. He also posted the same vow on Facebook, according to Sen. Ron Johnson, who chairs the Homeland Security committee.
Former classmates, friends and coworkers who knew Mateen said they remember a stout and awkward child growing up who never spoke of his Muslim faith but had a penchant for trouble and aggression.
Mateen was often bullied and was suspended dozens of times in elementary school before obtaining a general education degree at the age of 16. He moved from job to job before settling into the fields of law enforcement and security and learned how to shoot a gun. The once-portly child now worked out obsessively and often seemed distressed. A short marriage to his first wife ended abruptly after accusations that he beat her in fits of rage.
“He acted hot and cold and weird,” Gilroy recalled.
As the investigation continues, Carter is just beginning to grapple with the extent of her injuries.
Doctors told her it will be four two six months before she recovers from her injuries. She is still uncertain of when she will be released from the hospital.
“Right now my goal is to focus on getting better, making sure I can get up and get around without needing a walker,” she said. “My leg is messed up pretty bad.”
She said despite the grisly memories she will carry with her, one bright spot this week was a meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, both of whom she called “sincere.”
“It was amazing,” she said. “President Obama really took the time to speak to each and every family. Every individual in the room got a chance to say what they needed to say to him. They got a chance to hug him.”
Carter said she expects it will take a long time to heal, but said the outpouring of support has helped her and others as she looks toward recovery.
“Knowing that people all over the world are coming together, sending us all their love — that’s what we need,” she said. “That’s what the families who lost their children need.”
The post As new investigation details emerge, Orlando survivor recalls night of terror appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Approximately 4,800 nurses at five Minnesota hospitals began a week-long strike on Sunday morning in protest of changes to their employee healthcare coverage.
The affected hospitals, all in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, are operated by Allina Health, a not-for-profit network of hospitals. Allina and the union behind the strike, the Minnesota Nurses Association, entered contract negotiations four months ago.
Under the disputed Allina proposal, nurses will be transferred to a plan that covers thousands of other Allina employees, which comes with lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs. The switch — which nurses expect to cost them considerably more — would save the company $10 million a year.
Nurses expressed additional frustration over what they say are unsafe working conditions and meager nurse-to-patient ratios. These shortcomings end up hurting patients, nurse Angela Becchetti said.
“If you have a loved one coming to the hospital, they might not get the best care, because if your nurses are dealing with another patient, or aren’t able to attend to your loved one because we don’t have enough resources on the floor, that’s concerning,” she told Public News Service, a news organization based in Colorado.
For Valerie Johnson, a children’s psychiatric nurse, choosing to strike was a difficult decision.
“It is heartbreaking, it is absolutely heartbreaking to leave those kids, those kids that I know,” she told local station KSTP. “I know what works and what doesn’t work.”
Allina has recruited 1,400 temporary nurses from different states to staff the hospitals during the strike. Dr. Penny Wheeler, CEO of Allina, has said she is prepared to negotiate, as long as both parties are “willing to engage in meaningful dialogue that addresses the health plan transition and issues that are important to the nurses.”
The last time nurses in Minnesota walked out was in 2010, when nearly 12,000 nurses went on strike over workplace safety. That strike lasted one day.
This time, union leaders expect the extended strike to send the message that nurses need to receive good care in order to provide good care.
“We take care of our patients,” Becchetti told the Minnesota Star Tribute. “We also need to be able to to take care of ourselves.”
The post Thousands of Minnesota nurses launch week-long strike appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Read the full transcript below:
HARI SREENIVASAN: Today in Orlando, at churches and memorial services, a city marked one week since a self-radicalized ISIS sympathizer named Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people with a semiautomatic rifle at a gay nightclub.
Tomorrow in Washington, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on gun control measures intended to lessen the odds of such a massacre happening again. Democrats propose to expand background checks to cover purchases at gun shows and ban gun sales to anyone on a government terrorist watch list.
Republicans propose the FBI be alerted when someone on a watch list buys a gun from a licensed firearm dealer, and letting the government delay a gun sale to someone on a watch list for three days while seeking a court order to stop it.
Today, the National Rifle Association said it supports only the Republican bill with that due process provision.
CHRIS COX, Executive Director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action: This notion that more gun control is going to prevent some jihadist who thinks that he’s going to obtain martyrdom by murdering innocent people really gets away from the serious nature of the problem that we’re facing.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Attorney General Loretta Lynch said today the ability to block a gun sale is an important tool, but three days may not be enough time to produce the evidence.
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. Attorney General: What we think is more appropriate is the one that gives us the most flexibility, the ability to stop that sale at the beginning and the ability, again, if it’s challenged, to protect sensitive and classified information.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Today at 2:00 a.m., the time last week’s rampage at the Pulse nightclub began, an LGBT club down the street held a moment of silence for the victims. Eighteen of 53 people who survived gunshot wounds remain hospitalized.
Joining me now from Orlando for more on the investigation and mood of the city is Orlando Sentinel reporter Paul Brinkmann.
Paul, one of the things that your paper has done has — is to put together this timeline of exactly what happened in those three hours, according to all of the witnesses, all the survivors that were in there.
One of the questions that people often have is, what took the police so long? Why did it take them three hours? But what you point out is that they were there relatively quickly.
PAUL BRINKMANN, The Orlando Sentinel: Yes.
There was actually an Orlando police officer on the scene as an off-duty security guard. And he exchanged gunfire pretty quickly with the shooter. But he realized he was outgunned, and he had to retreat and call for backup.
Two other officers arrived. And then they had — experienced pretty much the same thing, and the shooter retreated into the back of the bar. So, we were working on that for a period of days before we posted that, because, obviously, you know, it took a little while to piece it all together.
HARI SREENIVASAN: This is also now a weekend where we start to see the beginning or the continuation of funerals of the victims.
PAUL BRINKMANN: Yes.
You know, right away, one of our first tasks in the newsroom was to — to cover every victim, find out who they were. And then we have kept up with that database, with — when vigils are held for them, when their funerals are — they are happening now, several every day.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Paul, sadly, this is not the first time one of these events have occurred. And now there is almost an infrastructure of support that exists from people who have survived other mass shootings.
Who are those people, and what are they planning on to help Orlando?
PAUL BRINKMANN: It’s not a formal group. They don’t even have a formal name.
But it is a network of family members of victims of other mass shootings. But they’re — they try to stay in touch with each other and provide whatever support they can. They are scheduled to fly here. Actually, tonight, some of them will be arriving. And then they will be here for two days.
And they’re — they’re looking for opportunities to connect with victims and their families. And they are going to be working with Equality Florida and some of the other LGBT organizations here.
One of their causes that they’re most passionate about is the fund-raising, because many of them have actually seen millions of dollars raised in some of these other shootings, where victims and their families who are affected by them are still struggling to pay their bills and haven’t gotten any money.
You know, there are some things that they — they can say. You know, watch out for fractured fund-raising. Watch out for groups that are trying to raise money for other groups.
The problem is that the need for victims and their families is urgent in many cases. There are people who, they’re not able to pay their rent. They’re not able to go to work. And they need help.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Paul Brinkmann of The Orlando Sentinel, thanks so much.
PAUL BRINKMANN: Thank you.
After a yearlong stay in the U.S., Solar Impulse 2, a Swiss solar-powered plane circling the world is set to depart from New York early Monday morning to cross the Atlantic Ocean to head for Spain.
The plane landed in Hawaii from Japan nearly one year ago, on July 3. Since then, Solar Impulse 2 has flown across the country, making stops in California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania. On June 11, it made a 4-hour and 41-minute flight from Pennsylvania to New York, its last stop in the U.S.. The plane is scheduled to make its exit from John F. Kennedy International Airport at 2 a.m.
Bertrand Piccard, who alternates flying the single-seat plane with Andre Borschberg, is piloting the next leg to Seville, Spain, in the mission’s fifteenth flight. The two pilots and explorers founded the project in hopes to create the world’s largest solar plane and promote sustainable energy. With a wingspan of 72 meters, it’s as many as 12 meters wider than a Boeing 747 and holds 17,248 solar cells that power its propellers and charge its batteries, enabling uninterrupted multi-day flights.
Video edited by Andi Wang.
The pair began their journey across the globe on March 9, 2015, flying from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to Muscat, Oman. When they flew from Japan to Hawaii, the plane was on its eighth leg and the flight lasted nearly five days, but its batteries sustained heat damage. After undergoing repairs and waiting in Oahu for almost 10 months, the plane resumed flight on April 21, 2016.
Despite the delay, its completion represented a historic moment: during the trip, Borschberg broke the record for the longest solo flight, also setting records for distance and duration of travel by a solar plane.
Before Borschberg’s next departure, Piccard noted the gravity of the moment.
“You carry the dreams that we have been building together,” he said at Solar Impulse’s Mission Control Center in Monaco. “You are taking this dream of an airplane that’s going to fly day and night, with no fuel at all, showing to the world what is possible to do with clean technologies.”
Throughout the plane’s flight, Piccard has used social media and interviews to promote its potential.
“Today, liberty is about finding and promoting renewable sources of power,” Piccard told the Associated Press after flying into New York with a sweeping view of the Statue of Liberty.
The project’s origins date back to 1999, when Piccard and a partner became the first to fly a balloon around the world. In 2010, the Solar Impulse team achieved a milestone when Borschberg successfully completed the first solar night flight.
After reuniting in Seville and analyzing weather conditions, the pilots will continue their voyage back to Abu Dhabi, where they can celebrate the completion of their journey.
The post Solar plane leaving U.S. for Europe after yearlong stay appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Andrew Heymann was helping a neighbor move a large glass table two years ago when it shattered and sliced his ankle, causing a serious injury. He was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center, where a plastic surgeon stitched up the wound.
Heymann told the NewsHour that Hackensack University Medical Center is in-network in his Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plan. But the surgeon was not. The procedure cost $6,000, and Heymann owed $5,000 — a cost that shocked him. “I’m thinking there’s no way I’m going to pay this. This is insane,” he said.
This is not an uncommon story. Patients all over the country face “surprise medical bills,” which come when their health plans pay less than they expect. A 2015 Consumer Reports study found that 30 percent of survey participants have received a surprise medical bill, most in the last two years. Of those, 23 percent received a bill from a doctor they did not expect, and 14 percent paid out-of-network rates for a doctor they thought was in-network.
Sometimes, like in Heymann’s case, these costs happen because patients see an out-of-network doctor at an in-network hospital. Even when doctors are in-network, some with high deductibles are surprised by what they owe.
We’re asking: Have you or has someone close to you been affected by a surprise medical bill? The PBS NewsHour reporting team is gathering personal stories from Americans who have faced unexpected costs for medical treatment.
Two planes are en route to conduct a medical rescue operation for one of the 48 workers at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
Both planes will fly into Rothera Research Station, on Adelaide Island, but only one will continue for 1,500 more miles to the Amundsen-Scott station to evacuate the worker, a man employed by contractor Lockheed Martin. A second person may also be evacuated, according to Kelly Falkner, the director of polar programs for the National Science Foundation.
If the primary rescue plane crashes, the second aircraft will assist in search-and-rescue efforts.
The National Science Foundation, which runs the station, declined to provide more information about the condition of the man receiving the airlift, the Washington Post reported.
The sun set in March at the research station, and it will not reappear until August, forcing the pilots to navigate in complete darkness.
Kenn Borek, the Canadian firm contracted by the the National Science Foundation to carry out the rare rescue mission, operates the Twin Otter that will attempt the evacuation. The plane is uniquely prepared to travel in harsh conditions, with an ability to fly in temperatures as low as -75 degrees Celsius. This type of aircraft has been used in all three evacuation attempts, including the ongoing effort.
In addition to Kenn Borek, a number of other agencies and organizations are helping the effort for the rescue mission.
“The evacuation will require contributions from multiple entities involved in the U.S. Antarctic Program including weather forecasts from the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR) Center Atlantic; expertise from the University of Texas Medical Branch; and various contributions from ASC, NSF’s Colorado-based Antarctic logistics contractor as well as assistance from other nations,” the National Science Foundation said.
But rescues remain dangerous, even with thorough planning, according to Sean Louitt, who piloted the 2001 mission. “You’re the only plane flying on an entire continent,” he told the Washington Post. “You have to be prepared to be totally self-reliant if something goes wrong.”
To avoid medical evacuation, workers on the research station sometimes take extreme measures to treat themselves. In 1999, after Jerri Nielsen diagnosed herself with breast cancer, she administered her own chemotherapy for almost six months while continuing to serve as the station’s doctor.
The plane departed from Calgary on June 14, with the trip down South America to the research center expected to take at least five days.
The post Two planes undertake dangerous South Pole rescue mission appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
This week, in the final presidential primaries, former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton claimed enough delegates to capture the Democratic presidential nomination — so at the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia next month, she’ll become the first woman to ever lead a major party ticket.
On the Republican side, presuming New York businessman Donald Trump is nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, also next month, he won’t be the first outsider to lead a major party in the Fall. As Special Correspondent Jeff Greenfield reports — that first happened 75 years ago.
Read the full transcript below:
JEFF GREENFIELD: Our Presidential nominees have come from many places.
They’ve been Governors- both Roosevelts, Carter, Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney. They’ve been Senators-Warren Harding, JFK, Bob Dole, Kerry, McCain, Obama. And they’ve been Generals-Washington, both Harrisons, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Grant, and Eisenhower.
ANNOUNCER: The 22nd convention of the Republican Party will now come to order!
JEFF GREENFIELD: But until now, for more than 200 years, only one genuine outsider has ever won a major party Presidential nomination: Republican Wendell Willkie, in 1940.
WENDELL WILLKIE: I pledge myself to you and I ask each of you to join with me in this great crusade.
JEFF GREENFIELD: Willkie’s success offers some lessons for 2016.
Willkie was a child of heartland America. Born and raised in small town Indiana. His blend of intelligence and discipline brought him to the peak of business success as president of a major public utility holding company, where he gained fame as a sharp critic of FDR’s New Deal regulations and as an advocate for social reform. That proved an appealing package for what was then a dominant wing of the Republican Party.
The Republican Party of 1940 was very different from today’s version. Its power center was here in the East and especially in New York, where the financial and media powers embraced more moderate and liberal ideas than their Midwestern conservative rivals. They also were much more inclined to help European nations besieged by Hitler’s Germany — in contrast to the powerful isolationist Republicans. More and more, these power brokers saw Willkie as their ideal candidate.
TIME magazine, the widely-read New York-based newsweekly, put him on the cover in 1939. FORTUNE, LIFE and other mass magazines followed.
And while there was no Twitter or Instagram for Willkie to polish his own image, his witty appearance on the popular radio quiz show “Information Please” dramatically raised his public profile.
ANNOUNCER: Mr. Willkie. He entered World War I as a private and how did you come out Mr. Willkie?
WENDELL WILLKIE: Well, I was a first lieutenant throughout the war. I was recommended for a promotion at the end, when they knew I was through.
JEFF GREENFIELD: As the 1940 campaign approached, three Republicans appeared be the leading choices for President. The Senior Republican in the U.S. Senate, Arthur Vandenberg, of Michigan. Senator Robert Taft, of Ohio, the symbol of Midwest conservatism and son of a former President, and the 37-year-old organized crime-busting District Attorney of Manhattan, Tom Dewey. All three espoused isolationism and avoiding any U-S involvement in brewing European conflicts.
But that view became increasingly hard to sustain by the spring of 1940, as Hitler’s armies had conquered Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, and France.
As the convention began, Willkie was the only Republican presidential hopeful embracing the idea of American aid to Europe. The Eastern media redoubled its support for Willkie as the convention balloting drew near. Its semi-official voice, “The New York Herald Tribune,” ran a front page editorial urging his nomination, the first in its history.
The galleries, packed with Willkie supporters, filled Philadelphia’s convention hall with a chant that dominated the proceedings.
CROWD: We Want Willkie!
JEFF GREENFIELD: A united opposition might have prevailed over Willkie, but just as in this year’s Republican race, that opposition did not unite. On the sixth ballot, Willkie won.
CHAIRMAN: Anyone in favor of making the nomination of Wendell Willkie unanimous, kindly say aye.
JEFF GREENFIELD: Willkie couldn’t stop FDR from winning an unprecedented third term that November. More importantly, Willkie supported the President on two critical policies. The first peacetime military draft in U.S. history and leasing war equipment to Britain. A more partisan Republican nominee would never have done that. After the election, Willkie became one of Roosevelt’s strongest allies in mobilizing the country for the war that was to come.
Now, three quarters of a century later, another outside appears to have captured the Republican nomination. But unlike Willkie, Trump’s victory came not from riding the forces of the Republican establishment, but by vanquishing them.
Special thanks to Indiana University Bloomington Lilly Library, Indiana University Bloomington Office of University Archives & Records Management, the New York Public Library, Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Judith E. (McKee) BurnsHistory & Genealogy Judith E. (McKee) Burns; © 1990-2016 and Charles Peters, author of “5 Days in Philadelphia.”
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Read the full Transcript below:
PATRICIA SAGBA: At the Cap ‘n’ Gown pub in Worcestershire, England, pints go hand in hand with politics. On tap tonight – the upcoming referendum when British voters will decide whether to stay in or leave the European Union.
PATRICIA SAGBA: Which way are you thinking of voting?
SASKIA: I’m not sure yet. I’m waiting to be educated.
BECKY: I’m thinking in, but I still need to get more education on it.
PATRICIA SAGBA: Famous for the Lea and Perrins sauce that bears its name, the county of Worcestershire, 136 miles west of London, has been at the epicenter of defining moments in British history – like the 1651 Battle of Worcester that ended the English Civil War.
Still largely rural, its cathedral and cricket clubs are quintessentially British. With 92 percent of its roughly 600,000 residents White, it is more ethnically homogenous than the national average.
PATRICIA SABGA: In the battle over Britain’s future ties to the European Union, the county of Worcestershire is a bellwether. And right now voters here are pretty evenly divided between those who want to stay in the EU and those who feel Britain would be better off going it alone.
To woo the undecided, both sides have unleashed a media blitz.
BRITAIN STRONGER IN EUROPE AD: If we left, independent experts estimate 950-thousand jobs would be lost.
VOTE LEAVE AD: The Euro is broke, and the EU plans to let in another five countries.
PATRICIA SAGBA: So Cap ‘n’ Gown owner Ted Marshall is trying to cut through the noise. He’s organized seven debates in the run-up to the referendum.
TED MARSHALL: I would ask the people don’t heckle too much.
PATRICIA SAGBA: This gathering tackled perhaps the most divisive issue: the “freedom of movement” rule that allows citizens of the EU’s 27 other member states to move to Britain, work here, and receive generous government benefits, including free health care for themselves and their families.
TED MARSHALL: Donald Trump has talked a lot about migration — you call it immigration — and that’s the biggest issue here for this EU referendum, no question at all.
Man: This house believes…
PATRICIA SAGBA: Since 2004, when the EU expanded to include countries in Eastern Europe, the number of non-British, EU-born citizens working in the UK has quadrupled from around half a million to nearly two million. An influx that’s pushed 21-year-old Worcestershire native Ellis Tustin to the leave camp.
ELLIS TUSTIN: Interested in leaving the union?
PATRICIA SAGBA: The first person in his family to go to university, Tustin says EU membership has fueled immigration that’s harmed working class communities like his.
ELLIS TUSTIN: The entire culture of the town is totally shifted, into you know, it’s almost for many people in this town they feel it’s an Eastern European town now.
PATRICIA SAGBA: That’s one reason why Tustin joined the eEro-skeptic UKIP — the UK independence party. Described by critics as far right, Tustin says the party has been derided for a platform many Brits are too afraid to voice.
ELLIS TUSTIN: People are afraid of saying I’m tired of, you know, doctor’s appointments becoming longer, I’m worried about my children not getting that place in school. Because as soon as someone says something like this in this country, they are immediately cast as racist or xenophobic.
PATRICIA SAGBA: Tustin is not afraid to argue EU membership has hurt British workers, because, he says, immigrants willing to work for less poach jobs.
ELLIS TUSTIN: A lot of the work that people are doing is low paid jobs, and those are the jobs where the value is being undercut. Those are the jobs where people will say to the employers, ‘I will happily work for five pounds less than him and still do the same job.’
PATRICIA SAGBA: On the other side of the debate is 23-year-old Worcestershire-born Richard Fulloway, a member of the youth wing of Britain’s conservative party, Fulloway is applying to become a royal naval officer – a career goal that informs his views.
RICHARD FULLOWAY: What I’m looking at is the sort of bigger picture around Britain’s influence in the world where Britain stands in the world.
PATRICIA SAGBA: For Fulloway, that means not swimming away from Europe.
RICHARD FULLOWAY: The world is joining into power blocks, so you’ve got China, you’ve got Russia pushing its weight around over in the Ukraine, You’ve got China is the South China Sea. You’ve got Japan looking to rearm. You’ve got the U.S. trying to find its place in the world. I think as a country we are much better off as a group of 500 million people than we are on our own as 67 million people.”
PATRICIA SAGBA: It’s a group that’s given Britain access to the world’s largest trade barrier-free single market without having to adopt Europe’s troubled single currency, the Euro, or bailout struggling euro-economies like Greece.
RICHARD FULLOWAY: We are in such a special position. If we left, you’d start paying import fees, you start paying export fees, you start, trade barriers start going up. Those jobs then start to become harder to pay for, and businesses start to let people go.
PATRICIA SAGBA: A chorus of voices is warning that leaving the EU would harm Britain’s economy, and that negotiating a new trade deal with Europe could be difficult.
But some small business owners have found life under the EU too difficult.
MIKE HUMM: I heard it described recently as a stitch up between big global corporations and the big banks. And it’s beginning to show like that.
PATRICIA SAGBA: Mike Humm owns the Holywell Water company, which bottles and sells water from the Holywell spring nestled in Worcestershire’s Malvern hills.
PATRICIA SAGBA: How long has this spring been going?
MIKE HUMM: Oh, I don’t know. (laughs) It first came into history in 1558.
Patricia Sagba: But according to EU rules, Humm couldn’t label his water “spring” water, because he passes it through ultraviolet light to kill off potential viruses or bacteria.
MIKE HUMM: It goes through the UV filter, which is that stainless steel tube with the red end.”
PATRICIA SAGBA: That’s the one that’s causing all the problems with the EU?
MIKE HUMM: Yes.
PATRICIA SAGBA: Because Humm sells his product only in Britain, the UK government allows him to call it “spring water.” Still, he spent months fighting an EU regulation, he says, was based on guidelines drafted by big corporations.
MIKE HUMM: Danon, Coca Cola, Nestle. What they’re doing is protecting their market, and the inference is that Malvern water is not as good as theirs. That it’s not a fine water. And that’s rubbish.
PATRICIA SAGBA: But some British small business owners have thrived in the EU.
RICHARD BOORN: I passionately want to stay. It’s very important to our business.”
PATRICIA SAGBA: Richard Boorn owns Bondtech, which manufactures specialty adhesives for bonding metal and horse hooves.
PATRICIA SAGBA: How does being a part of the EU facilitate your business?
RICHARD BOORN: It enables us to bring goods in without trade barriers.
PATRICIA SAGBA: …which means Boorn doesn’t pay import taxes on the raw materials he sources from other European countries. But if Britain were to leave the EU…
RICHARD BOORN: We will pay more for our goods, because there will be important tariffs. This belief that we can stand alone — that boat sailed many years ago. We need to be part of the biggest trading group in the world.
PATRICIA SABGA: Many of the issues at play in the British referendum will resonate with American voters. Like the impact of immigration on jobs and the economy, or isolationism versus internationalism. And like the U.S. Presidential election, the politics of identity are shaping voter attitudes on this side of the pond.
ELLIS TUSTIN: My grandfather he has stories going back 80, 70 years on this street. Now he did not stand as a kid in the center of the street there, looking at German bombers going over the top of us, for then 70 years later to have his sovereignty dictated by the same country that then tried to do it then
PATRICIA SAGBA: For Leave campaigner Ellis Tustin, that identity includes a Britain which emerged from the ashes of World War II to remain a world power.
ELLIS TUSTIN: We are the fifth largest economy in the world. We have the fourth largest military budget. We hold a seat on the Security Council. We are a member-founder of the G-8. We are worth more than a star on somebody else’s map.
PATRICIA SAGBA: But Stay campaigner Richard Fulloway believes the nation should take pride in its EU standing.
RICHARD FULLOWAY: When I you know see our Prime Minister sit at the table as equal with every other European nation, I don’t understand why you would not feel proud to be at that table. I don’t know why standing outside that room would make you more proud to be British.
PATRICIA SAGBA: At the Cap ‘n’ Gown, the stay camp won this debate by a show of hand, but the arguments rage on.
MAN: Why can’t we see my doctor then?
MAN: This country…
MAN: Let’s move on, please!
PATRICIA SAGBA: If Britain votes to leave, it will start a two year clock to officially exit the EU. And if it votes to stay…
TED MARSHALL: If we stay, let’s get in there. Let’s make Europe great as well as Great Britain. If we leave, we’ve got a lot of work to do, we’ve got a lot work to do. But, we are Great Britain.
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Dr. Christopher Hunter was working the overnight shift at an emergency room north of Orlando on June 12 when he received a text message around 2 a.m. There had been a shooting with up to 20 patients.
“I was convinced they had typed it in wrong,” Hunter, the associate medical director for Orange County EMS, said. But when he called dispatch to check, he learned there had been no mistake. “They said, ‘It’s real — we’re sending a dozen or more units. It’s an active shooter.’”
As a lone gunman sprayed bullets in the crowded gay nightclub Pulse, killing and wounding dozens, Hunter placed Orlando Regional Medical Center, the region’s only major trauma care hospital region, under “status black.”
This emergency code meant nearly all incoming patients unrelated to the shooting would be diverted to other hospitals, allowing personnel to focus on the influx of severely wounded people from Pulse who were in need of urgent care.
As Hunter coordinated between EMS personnel, law enforcement and staff at the hospital, he said he felt a pull toward the nightclub, where he knew many lives were at stake.
“I felt like a caged animal,” he said. “I wanted so badly to be at the scene where I felt like I belonged.”
By the time the carnage ceased, the reality would be even more grim than the text Hunter read in initial disbelief. Forty-nine people were dead and at least 53 were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
It was a scenario on a scale Hunter said he and his colleagues could not have imagined. But as he recalled a night of challenging firsts — How to set up a victim telephone hotline? Where to put the onslaught of panicked family members who descended on the hospital, desperate for answers? — he says lives were saved because the hospital was prepared.
Four years earlier, after 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Hunter and his team drilled for what might happen in a mass shooter scenario.
Among many observations made, the simulation revealed EMS personnel were hindered by “unwieldy equipment.” The team realized “there was no way they were going to be able to get everyone out in time,” he said.
“We said, ‘We have to approach active shooters in a different way,’” Hunter said. Rather than have EMS workers follow their usual protocol — which includes checking an individual’s vitals and setting up an intravenous line — personnel would tend only to the most severe injuries, including life-threatening hemorrhages, and then rush the patient to the hospital.
Emergency workers switched into this “emergency mode” when responding to the bloodshed at Pulse, transporting patients to nearby Orlando Medical as quickly as they could, Hunter said.
Amid the chaos, hospital workers worked fast to treat victims with a range of critical injuries. One patient had 11 gunshot wounds. Others suffered head trauma. Many appeared to have been struck by the gunman at close range, the trauma center’s director told the Los Angeles Times.
The kind of preparedness Hunter attributes to having saved lives in Orlando is being advocated on the national level by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
The group’s president, Dr. Jay A. Kaplan, told the NewsHour that with active-shooter events happening more frequently, hospitals should establish clear guidelines to address trauma care specific to mass shootings. Those incidents leave victims injured differently than a highway accident or natural disaster, he said.
Following the attacks in Paris, in which gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in a coordinated assault on the French capital, Kaplan convened a “High Threat Task Force” in January to look at these questions in depth.
“My feeling then was, it was not a matter of if it was going to happen in the U.S., but when it was going to happen,” he said.
The task force has a number of goals, including developing a repository for data on wounding patterns and causes of death for victims of mass violence as well as testing best practices for trauma care in a mass shooting.
Kaplan also established a working group to assess what hospitals can learn from military emergency medicine and “translate that to the civilian setting.”
“The battlefield has been brought to our community,” he said.
In April, ACEP and other organizations representing health care, public health, scientific organizations and research universities across the country sent a letter to Congress urging an end to the “chilling effect of the current rider language restricting gun violence research” and calling for funding for such study at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Medical professionals and our communities work to address the devastating and long-lasting physical and emotional effects of gun violence on victims, their families and their friends, but are hampered by the insufficient body of evidence-based research to use to point communities toward proven gun violence prevention and programs,” the letter read.
Speaking at the NewsHour’s town hall on June 2, President Barack Obama said the nation’s approach to researching gun violence should mirror what the government has done to combat automobile fatalities.
“We studied what is causing these fatalities using science and data and evidence, and then we slowly treated it like the public health problem it was, and it got reduced,” he said. “We are not allowed to do any of that when it comes to guns because if you propose anything, it is suggested that we’re trying to wipe away gun rights and impose tyranny and martial law.”
The administration has requested $10 million to support research into the causes and prevention of gun violence from a public health perspective, according to the CDC.
But Linda Degutis, director of the Avielle Foundation, an anti-violence non-profit organization, told the public radio program Science Friday that the funds have not been appropriated.
“If we did adequately fund the research, we could have some evidence-based solutions to the problem,” Degutis said.
Kaplan said better research could help medical professionals understand more about why people die from injuries sustained in mass shootings, including how more lives could potentially be saved.
“As an individual, I want to challenge our legislators and say to them — what are you really worried about? Are you worried we’re going to show something that’s somehow negative to Americans’ ability to carry guns?” Kaplan said. “What do we do in a court of law? People present evidence. But we don’t have the evidence to present because Congress has effectively prevented us from doing that.”
In a statement to Science Friday, the National Rifle Association spoke out against the “vast majority of gun-related research” for what it called a “routine failure of investigators to make any attempt to incorporate or account for the positive outcomes associated with firearm ownership.”
This “flaw in design research” results in “findings that are biased toward the conclusion sought — more gun control at the local, state or federal levels,” the NRA said.
On Monday, the Senate is expected to vote on legislation on a variety of measures related to gun control. Democrats have proposed expanded background checks to cover purchases at gun shows and ban gun sales to anyone on a government terror watch list.
Republicans voted down similar measures following the mass shooting in San Bernardino on Dec. 2 of last year, when a married couple killed 14 people and injured 22, according to the New York Times.
Kaplan fears similar congressional reluctance may stymie progress on the research front, even in light of the Orlando massacre.
“If Gabby Giffords gets shot and Congress can’t do something about this, then I don’t know,” he said. “It’s a public health issue, so let’s deal with it as a public health issue.”
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WASHINGTON — Democrats get their long-sought votes on gun control a week after the massacre in Orlando, Florida, but election-year politics and the powerful National Rifle Association dim any prospects for changes in the nation’s laws.
The Senate will vote Monday night on four measures — two sponsored by Republicans, two by Democrats. All are expected to fail in a bitterly divided Congress.
Gun control remains at a stalemate as few lawmakers are willing to challenge the NRA and no mass shooting the past five years — from Phoenix; to Aurora, Colorado; to Newtown, Connecticut; to Charleston, South Carolina; to San Bernardino, California — has led to new laws. Polls show large numbers of Americans agree with the need for at least some limited gun measures such as background checks. But Democrats have been unable to translate that into legislation because the NRA is able to mobilize and energize voters who will threaten to vote lawmakers out on the gun issue alone.
“Laws didn’t stop them in Boston. Laws didn’t stop them in San Bernardino, where you had every type of gun control law that you could have. And they didn’t stop them in Paris, where people can’t even own guns,” NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
The four votes on Monday night are the result of a deal after Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., filibustered for almost 15 hours seeking action in response to the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed 49 people and injured 53. Democrats are expected to block two Republican amendments, arguing that they fall short in controlling the sales of guns. Republicans are expected to block two Democratic amendments, contending that they threaten the constitutional rights of gun owners.
The Senate will vote on a measure by Murphy to expand gun background checks and one by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to keep people on a government terrorism watch list or other suspected terrorists from buying guns. The Justice Department has endorsed Feinstein’s legislation.
As a counter, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is pushing a measure that would allow the government to delay a gun sale to a suspected terrorist for 72 hours, but require prosecutors to go to court to show probable cause to block the sale permanently. The NRA backs the legislation, but gun control advocates and Democrats say that bar is too high.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley’s measure would boost funds for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and ensure that the correct records are uploaded into the system in a timely manner. It would also clarify language surrounding mental health issues that would disqualify someone from buying a gun. Democrats say that language in the bill would actually roll back some current protections.
The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, was added to a government watch list of individuals known or suspected of being involved in terrorist activities in 2013, when he was investigated for inflammatory statements to co-workers. But he was pulled from that database when that investigation was closed 10 months later.
The Feinstein, Cornyn and Grassley amendments would try to ensure that individuals like Mateen who had been a subject of a terrorism investigation within the last five years are flagged in some way if they try to purchase a gun.
In a separate effort, moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is working with other Republicans, as well as talking to Democrats, on a bill that would prevent people on the no-fly list — a smaller universe than targeted by Democrats — from getting guns. But her bill had not been blessed by GOP leaders and it was unclear if it would get a vote.
Last week, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted that he would meet with the NRA about “not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.” Exactly what he would support was unclear.
This past week, the NRA made robo-calls in Pennsylvania urging people to contact their senators and “express their strong opposition to any new gun control laws.” The call said anti-gun groups and Senate Democrats are “actively working to blame you for the recent terrorist attack in Orlando.”
In the GOP-controlled House, Republicans had no plans to act on guns, and Democrats were unable to force any action, given House rules less favorable to the minority party than in the Senate.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is also declining to act on the guns issue. The justices rejected challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York on Monday, leaving in place a lower court ruling that upheld laws that were passed in response to another mass shooting involving a semi-automatic weapon, the elementary school attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
Associated Press writer Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania contributed to this report.
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The number of displaced people worldwide hit a record high in 2015, according to a UN refugee agency report released Monday. The agency estimates 65.3 million individuals were forced from their homes last year — nearly 6 million more people than in 2014. The UN numbers include, but is not limited to refugees.
“We are facing the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. “Above all, this is not just a crisis of numbers. It is also a crisis of solidarity.”
According to the report, which was released on the UN World Refugee Day, about half of all refugees were children at the end of 2015. The total number of unaccompanied or separated children who applied for asylum worldwide almost tripled, from 34,300 in 2014 to 98,400 in 2015.
The UN blames ongoing civil war in countries including Syria and Sudan, as well as the rise of the Islamic State, for the sharp increase of displaced individuals.
“More people are being displaced by war and persecution, and that’s worrying in itself, but the factors that endanger refugees are multiplying, too,” Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement.
Grandi also urged the international community to put refugees and asylum seekers before politics.
“The willingness of nations to work together not just for refugees but for the collective human interest is what’s being tested today, and it’s this spirit of unity that badly needs to prevail,” he said.
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Poet Joe Jimenez said he first started hearing about the Orlando nightclub shooting when he and his partner were themselves sitting across from many of the gay nightclubs in San Antonio, Texas, in the early hours of that Sunday morning. “I saw some posts on Twitter and I thought it couldn’t possibly be true.”
He said he still had trouble believing it later that day when the news was confirmed. As a gay, Latino man who enjoys a comfortable middle class life, he says he feels very safe in his community. “But when something like this happens, you realize that no place is safe.”
Jimenez grew up in a small town in Texas, the son of Mexican immigrants. He began writing for fun when he was in junior high school “I would write about being a mutant, which of course seems like a precursor to what I write about now— being an outsider, being different.”
He attended Pomona College in California and returned to Texas to teach high school English. But he wanted to hone the craft of his poetry and enrolled in a low residency MFA program at Antioch University in Los Angeles. He says he was attracted to Antioch’s emphasis on community engagement and the pursuit of social justice.
“I resisted becoming a poet with a capital P. I wanted to become a poem ‘maker.’ I really do see it as making something for my community.”
Just after completing that program, Jimenez says he exited a violent relationship and spent time on the Texas Gulf Coast trying to make sense of things.
“I love going out in the wild alone, being around plants and birds. It’s where I am most reflective. I don’t feel judged.” The poems he wrote during that time are filled with images of nature and became the basis his first published book, “The Possibilities of Mud.”
In the days following the Orlando shooting, Jimenez found himself again turning to poetry to try to process the events.
“The Orlando shooting saddens and enrages me. And I wonder to what extent I’ve been complicit in the violence by remaining silent? I haven’t spoken up when transgendered people have been murdered. Why am I now motivated to speak out because the victims of this tragedy happen to look like me?”
His poem “Smutgrass” — written in direct response to the Orlando tragedy— is a poem about being unwanted. But Jimenez says, it is also about hope.
“These are plants that aren’t wanted. People will do everything in their power to destroy them and yet they thrive. It’s true that the pleasure of survival is the most resistant act of all.”
Growth is the hardest place for harm to lay its hair.
Of troublesome seed, we invasive bunches,
all narrow spike, fungus smut—the seedhead tells it all.
Despair, Self-Loathing running hands
through my beard.
& God out back having His heels washed
in water you & I use for drink—.
By our roots Old Words will echo: You don’t need
much moisture to seed now. Papi, cut us down only opens
the body to spread its beads.
Improvise, I tell myself. Let the shit go.
All of it means this: not everyone has a phoenix
inside. Some of us growing beside
roads, among beer cans & ditch weeds, waste & trees
smothered with hunger, sightlessness, maladies.
but What if there is nothing glamorous inside?
Can I make a good bed out of tallboys & plastic bags?
If nothing in the world calls your name, mouth wide, teeth gleaming,
If the back & arms you carry riddle with black
spots & marks made by birds who don’t want us here—
I will remind you: There are people who did this before us,
brown & black-spotted, yellow, with rattails,
born from what others did not want & loathed & aimed
to never let belong, & so, we are here today—
the field is wide. We make saliva from root & light.
Our spikelets grow, & do you feel the wind?
Joe Jiménez is the author of “The Possibilities of Mud” (Kórima 2014) and “Bloodline”, a young adult novel (Arte Público 2016). Jiménez is the recipient of the 2016 Letras Latinas/ Red Hen Press Poetry Prize and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. The short film “El Abuelo”, based on Jiménez’s poem, has been screened in Belgium, the Netherlands, Mexico, France, Argentina, Ireland, England, and the US. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is a member of the Macondo Workshops.
The post After the Orlando tragedy, putting the defiant act of survival into poetry appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Fernandez. Guerrero. Martinez. As the names of the victims in the Orlando shooting were announced, it quickly became clear that the traumatic event had disproportionately affected the city’s Latino community. Nearly all 49 victims killed at the Pulse gay nightclub, were Latino. Of those, 23 were Puerto Rican.
“With Latinos, the fact that my neighbor’s younger brother from another mother, the fact that this happened to them hurts me just as much,” said Nancy Rosado, 59, vice president of the nonprofit group Misión Boricua. “We grieve very passionately. It’s almost like primal scream therapy in some cases,” she said.
As the victims’ families navigate a heavy burden of paperwork and funerals in the aftermath of the June 12 massacre, local Latino leaders are concerned about how the trauma will manifest in the tight-knit Latino community weeks, months, even years from now.
Topping the concerns is this: The infrastructure for such long-term treatments in Florida just isn’t there. Florida ranks 49th in the nation for mental health funding, according to the Orlando Sentinel. And disparities in access make it difficult for Latinos to receive whatever treatments do exist in the state.
Zoe Colon, director of the Hispanic Federation’s Florida chapter, said among the barriers to this access is cost. One-third of Latinos in the nation do not have insurance, according to a 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation report. Florida has the third-largest proportion of Latinos who are uninsured, at 36 percent.
Rosado, a 9/11 survivor, knows firsthand how trauma can creep back years later. She was at the foot of the twin towers when a pair of coordinated terrorist attacks brought them down 15 years ago. Rosado had been conducting a support group for police officers nearby when the first plane hit the towers. She ran back to NYPD headquarters to put on her uniform, before heading back down to the site of the terrorist attacks, where she helped move civilians in the danger zone to safety.
Today, the former New York City police sergeant, who moved to Orlando after retirement, continues to rely on programs like the World Trade Center Health Registry to receive treatments that help manage her post traumatic stress disorder.
“There are times when I’m standing, talking to someone and suddenly the twin towers are in a shot from an old movie,” she said. “The tears start streaming, and I can’t stop them … I didn’t even give a thought; it just happens. These are the little symptoms of PTSD still living with me.”
Eric Welch, an executive consultant for the National Alliance of Mental Illness, said people need mental health services following a mass shooting.
Welch said that proximity to any traumatic event can trigger the onset of mental illness. People who were doing well in recovery begin to backslide. PTSD becomes a real concern. Those in the LGBT community on the cusp of coming out may be more likely to delay the decision.
“It’s not just grief counseling, it’s an entire community counseling,” Welch said.
Kate Mattias, executive director of NAMI Connecticut, said that following the 2012 Newtown shooting, in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, there’s was an increase in people needing mental health services.
“Our state mental health agency had a significant presence in Newtown for almost two months after the incident in order to help family members and others, including first responders — many of whom were hard hit by the event,” she said in an email.
As for Orlando, “I do think the mental health system will be taxed significantly into the future,” Mattias said.
To help chip away at barriers to access in the Latino community, Colon and other Latino leaders formed a group called Somos Orlando, or “We Are Orlando,” within hours of the shooting. The group’s mission: to offer services tailored to the Latino community. The services range from transportation and grief counseling with a bilingual staff to helping families of undocumented victims affected by the shooting.
Counselors in the organization have made home visits to some of the survivors and families of the shooting victims who were afraid or unwilling to leave the house.
“We’ve never been the target or the victims at this scale. We’ve never seen that many Latinos’ faces be victims of this type of crime,” Colon said. “There will be some trauma around that.”
Rosado, whose organization Misión Boricua is a part of Somos Orlando, also said the attack had reverberations back on the island.
“There are people in Puerto Rico calling right now, ‘How do we get counseling, how do we get grief counseling here in Puerto Rico,'” she said.
A week since the shooting, the number of Latino-led organizations that have joined Somos Orlando’s network ballooned to 40 to help the under-resourced community. The cadre of medical professionals, volunteers and community leaders have based their operations at the Hispanic Family Counseling Center, located in a plaza building in south Orlando.
The owner of the building opened up an entire floor to the center’s efforts, but it remains to be seen whether Somos Orlando receives the necessary private funding to keep operations afloat, long enough to help those who surface over the next month with mental health needs.
And in Florida, the number of Puerto Ricans is rising.
According to the Pew Research Center, Florida’s Puerto Rican population has more than doubled since 2000, topping more than one million in 2015. No doubt the marked uptick in Florida is partly an effect of Puerto Rico’s harsh economic times.
But the Latino community’s growing presence in Orlando hasn’t translated to an increase in what Colon and other Somos Orlando volunteers described as “cultural competency.”
The language barrier alone is enough to make the transfer of information with a doctor difficult. Rosado said she recently heard Antonia C. Novello, former U.S. surgeon general, recount a story of how, after 9/11, a Latino would go to a hospital and say, “Me duele mi alma,” which means, “It hurts me to my soul doing this.”
“The little bit of Spanish that people had translated that to, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got to do an EKG,'” Rosado said.
Rosado said she and other Latina leaders saw a similar disconnect in the initial crisis response in Orlando. In this case, it took the form of a lack of trained interpreters or counselors to help the Latino community cope with the fallout from the shooting.
“Announcements were being made in English, and it was almost an afterthought to do them in Spanish,” she said.
Complicating the outreach is a perception among Latinos that mental health counselors are for “locos,” or crazy people, said Jessica Heredia, a clinical supervisor at the counseling center. Heredia also said she hoped that more survivors and victims’ families are encouraged to seek professionals in the coming weeks to help process their grief. For those who have sought the center’s services, many have expressed a collective shock.
“If you understand the Hispanic culture, we are all family. We are one. And if you hit my neighbor, you’re hurting me too,” Heredia said.
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Editor’s Note: For a recent Making Sen$e segment, economics correspondent Paul Solman spoke with Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley known for his research on power. His new book is “The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence.” In a previous post, Keltner and Paul discussed how people gain power and esteem in the eyes of their peers. Today, Keltner explains the paradox part — why once we gain power, we lose the very skills that got us there and take more than our fair share. You can watch the full report below.
— Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor
Dacher Keltner: Power, new studies in economics have shown, comes from sharing resources and bringing out the welfare of others. Power comes from a kind of humble language. There are actually new studies showing if you are humble and respectful, people respect you more. So that’s the rise to power. Here’s the problem: When we feel powerful, we have these surges of dopamine going through our brain. We feel like we could accomplish just about anything. That’s where the power paradox begins, which is that very sense of ourselves when feeling powerful leads to our demise, leads to the abuse of power.
Paul Solman: That’s Paul Piff’s experiment that I participated in playing Monopoly. I was simply designated the more powerful person, and I began to behave in relatively anti-social ways.
Dacher Keltner: You’re a special case, Paul…
Paul Solman: But it was true. He was calling me on it, saying, “Look how you’re talking.” I had a sense of that I was going to win the game and that I was stronger than he, all because I got $200 when I passed “Go” and he got $100. It absolutely affected my mood.
Dacher Keltner: This is what’s striking when you bring people into the lab, and you randomly give them power. You say, “You’re in charge,” or in that case with the monopoly game, “You have more money,” or perhaps you get to evaluate other people and allocate rewards. Just the random assignment of power, and all kinds of mischief ensues, and people will become impulsive. They eat more resources than is their fair share. They take more money. People become more unethical. They think unethical behavior is okay if they engage in it. People are more likely to stereotype. They’re more likely to stop attending to other people carefully. It’s just this paradoxical quality of power, which is the good in human nature gets us power, and then power leads to the bad in human nature.
Paul Solman: So power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?
Dacher Keltner: Well, I think Lord Acton was on to something which is that there are dozens of studies showing who’s more likely to speak rudely within an organization? High power people or low power people? High power people. Who’s more likely to have sexual affairs? High power people or low power people? High power people. Who’s more likely to take more resources that aren’t theirs? High power people. You go down the list. It kind of looks like an absolute story.
Paul Solman: What kinds of studies show that people with more power take a lion’s share of the resources?
Dacher Keltner: That’s where I really began my studies of power, Paul. People have this deep sense of fairness. They really have a preference if people have roughly the same amount. And if you look out in the world, you can’t help but notice that people with power seem to be enjoying more resources right? Wealthy nations eat more of the world’s protein. A lot of people are really concerned about executive compensation. Why should this person make 10 million bucks a year and I make 12 bucks an hour?
And I was thinking about how we demonstrate this in the lab, and so we did this crazy study that gained a lot of traction and has come to be known as the “Cookie Monster Study.” We bring three people to the lab, and we randomly assign one person to the role of leader. We say you’re in charge, and then over the course of the experiment, these three students have to write policies for the university. They bring together facts, they write policies, they submit them, and we gather these written products. Half-way into the experiment, we bring a plate of five delicious chocolate chip cookies. We put them down and that’s actually where the experiment really begins. So everybody takes a cookie. They eat very happily and are grateful for it. All groups leave one cookie on the plate because they don’t like to take that last cookie, because you don’t want to be the person who takes the last piece of food. So the key question is who takes that fourth cookie, and indeed, it’s our person in the position of power who reaches out and grabs the cookie and says that’s mine.
Paul Solman: Is it every time that it’s the leader?
Dacher Keltner: Most of the time. Two-thirds of the time it’s our person in the position of power who unconsciously feels entitled to take more of the sweets. One of my grad student came to me and said, “You know, I’m convinced that they’re eating differently.” So we spent several months coding the videotapes of people eating, and we found our person in power is more likely to eat with their mouths open, limps smacking, crumbs falling down on their sweaters. And that set in motion this whole exploration. And it’s so fundamental. Humans are this balance of impulse and our ego, our sense of morality and our sense of what other people think of us, and power shifts this balance. Suddenly when I feel powerful, I can eat the cookies however I want to. I can swear at my colleagues. I can touch people in a way that feels good to me, but not necessarily worry about how it feels to them. That really set in motion this idea that power leads people to feel entitled to take more resources.
Paul Solman: Are there other examples?
Dacher Keltner: One really interesting area of research is work in organizations. We know you create a better team if as a leader you speak in a respectful way. You compliment. You bring out the best, you praise people. You ask good questions. And so researchers have been asking who is more likely to swear in a rude fashion at their work colleagues. And three out of the four acts of rudeness come from people in positions of power in organizations in different sectors. If you’re going to be told you’re an idiot, it’s going to probably come from people in positions of power.
Here’s one of my favorites. I could not believe this finding. Investigators were interested in who’s more likely to shoplift. Shoplifting costs America over $10 billion a year. So the question is who is likely to walk into the store and pocket something that they don’t pay for, and indeed, it is high power, wealthier people who are more likely to shoplift. There are famous car studies with Paul Piff that look at who’s more likely to blaze through a pedestrian zone on the road and think that their time is more important than the safety of the pedestrian? It’s people driving more high power, wealthier cars.
Everywhere you turn, you see this finding that power makes us feel entitled to more.
Watch the viral Making Sen$e report on Paul Piff’s famous car study above.
Paul Solman: So what do you do about it?
Dacher Keltner: I think that that’s the great question of societies. Studies are finding — and it’s very intuitive — that if you make people feel accountable, and you say, “Paul, a committee is evaluating how you allocate these resources,” and you’re in a position of power and now allocate the resources, you become more ethical in how you allocate resources.
Paul Solman: If I think somebody’s watching.
Dacher Keltner: Yeah, and the sense of accountability or the sense of being scrutinized is so powerful. All you have to do in studies now is actually place a geometric arrangement of dots, with two dots at the top and the little dot at the bottom, that kind of resembles the human face. If I am have sense of being watched, I become less greedy and less entitled in taking resources in positions of power. Accountability is really important.
Paul Solman: So if you’re the designated leader in some experiment and you’re beginning to lord it over the others, and there’s a picture that has four dots kind of in the array of a face in the room, you’re less likely to do so?
Dacher Keltner: Yes. Let’s say that I’m in an experiment and I have an opportunity to use resources to my benefit to the cost of other people. If I’m simply aware that other people are going to know of my actions, I act in a much more ethical fashion. I avoid the abuses of power. There are studies that show if I have a chance to take resources, and there’s this geometric arrangement of dots that looks like a human face, I take fewer of the resources for myself. I leave more for the public good. It’s very powerful.
There’s a concern right now that the wealthiest in our society are beyond scrutiny. No one even knows who they are, these people making $300 million a year. We don’t know where they live. We don’t know how their wealth generates, and that basic social condition spells trouble, and it spells a greater likelihood for the abuse of power.
As we think about inequality in the United States, one of the really interesting developments is the efforts that have sprung up to scrutinize the people with the most power. The journalist Michael Massing just wrote this nice essay about why there should be journalism about the one percent and what they’re really doing so that we as a country know what they’re doing with the resources and what we can make of it.
Paul Solman: So your belief is that to the extent that there’s journalism about the top 1 percent and how they behave, it will modify their behavior?
Dacher Keltner: Yes. This really interesting new literature shows that when I’m aware of what other people think of me, when I’m aware of my reputation, I cooperate more in economic gains. I am more likely to sign up for environmentally efficient services. I am more likely to pay taxes. Just this sense that my actions are being scrutinized and my reputation is at stake produces better behavior for the public good or the greater good. And I think that one of the ironies is that if we build up more awareness of the most powerful and the sense that their reputations are at stake, they’ll actually engage in more noble actions. They’ll be more giving to society. They’ll feel better about it. There’s a rich literature behind that, and so there are benefits for them as well.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: a room with a view, a very large view of modern art. And it just got even bigger.
Jeffrey Brown has our report from London.
NARRATOR: Then Her Majesty saw the adjoining Bankside Power Station, which supplies the city and a large area of North London.
JEFFREY BROWN: London, 1962, Queen Elizabeth II visits the Bankside Power Station on the south bank of the River Thames.
Fifty-four years later, the queen just celebrated her 90th birthday. And the former power station, now better known as Tate Modern, is celebrating its remarkable transformation into the world’s most visited modern art museum, with the opening of a new 10-story extension.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan spoke at the press conference.
MAYOR SADIQ KHAN, London: The Tate Modern is such a success story. You have continually found new ways of supporting artists and reaching new audiences.
JEFFREY BROWN: Afterward, I talked to Nicholas Serota, the man who helped conceive Tate Modern and has overseen it since it opened in 2000.
NICHOLAS SEROTA, Director, Tate Art Museums and Galleries: I think that maybe we helped to open up the idea of what a museum could be, that the experience of visiting a museum should be a learning experience. It should be a personal aesthetic experience ,but it should also be a social experience.
JEFFREY BROWN: A social experience in a free public space. Tate Modern quickly made itself a game-changer for contemporary art in Britain and beyond.
NICHOLAS SEROTA: It meant a place where you could literally hang out and meet people and have conversations and debates and discussions and seminars and listen to lectures and genuinely engage with the issues that artists raise.
JEFFREY BROWN: Works by modern masters, from Picasso to Warhol, were part of the draw. But even more was the way the repurposed power station had been turned into large inviting gallery spaces, most of all the 35,000 square foot Turbine Hall, the largest gallery anyone had ever seen.
It became the site of enormous exhibitions by leading international artists, including Anish Kapoor’s Marsyas in 2002, Olafur Eliasson’s Weather Project in 2004, Ai Weiwei’s Sunflowers in 2010, and others that became happenings for locals and tourists alike. A museum that had expected to draw around two million visitors a year instead attracted more than five.
Financial Times architecture critic Edwin Heathcote:
EDWIN HEATHCOTE, Financial Times: Turbine Hall is the best new public space in an interior, I think, possibly in the world. We’re used to interiors now malls, huge hotel lobbies, airports. So, actually, here, we have a space of culture, a genuinely public space, which is an indoor plaza.
JACQUES HERZOG, Architect: We hoped for that. But we couldn’t know, because never before a museum had such a space. And sometimes it’s a small gap between something great and something that is a failure.
JEFFREY BROWN: The original design was by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, then little-known, now major figures with buildings around the world.
And it was they who were given the rare opportunity to come back 16 years later to finish the job by creating a new wing, this time facing a problem partially of their own making, for Tate Modern, along with the recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, had helped transform the Bankside area of London into a bustling, highly desirable neighborhood of apartment and office buildings.
How do you make a building that stands out, when there’s so much around it now?
JACQUES HERZOG: First, we had glass, obvious choice for a new museum, but everything is glass today, and especially in the neighborhood. So going back to brick, but make this kind of special lattice, which is the perforated brick walls, which brings light in and out, so it almost breathes, was a good decision, I think. So, it’s closer to the original building, but nevertheless different.
JEFFREY BROWN: The result, called the Switch House, is a kind of twisted pyramid, and its effect is subtle, not showy.
JACQUES HERZOG: Sometimes, you try to be bigger, bigger, bigger and more, more flashy and iconic. You can’t do this endlessly. It’s ridiculous. And, sometimes, you have to think of what architecture can do for people, which is not being bigger, bigger, bigger, but really for the people and have a central quality also through its physicality.
JEFFREY BROWN: Inside are angled walls and galleries of concrete and wood, offering curators 60 percent more exhibition space for art of all kinds, including video, installations, and live performance.
On opening day, this group recreated famous works of art, here Matisse’s Dance.
Tate Modern director Frances Morris says past gaps will be addressed, one in particular.
FRANCES MORRIS, Director, Tate Modern: The lack of attention to the great work made across the world by women now. They’re poorly represented in the marketplace. They’re poorly represented in exhibition program at institutions in the U.K. and the United States.
So, we’re trying to short-circuit that by creating a sense of visibility and, frankly, celebration for some of those great voices in art.
JEFFREY BROWN: Another feature of the new building will no doubt make for one of London’s best new public spaces, the 10th floor, 360-degree view of the city.
Early reviews in London’s famously critical newspapers were good. Now the public, many marching over the Millennium Bridge toward the museum, will have its say.
From London, I’m Jeffrey Brown for the “PBS NewsHour.”
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JOHN YANG: A large span of cheering crowds turned out at the airport today to welcome the team home, a moment for Ohio fans to savor.
And now we some perspective on all of this from Greg Swartz. Greg Swartz writes about the Cleveland Cavaliers for The Bleacher Report. He joins us from Toledo, Ohio. And Kevin Blackistone is a sports writer for The Washington Post. He’s also a regular contributor at ESPN and teaches sports journalism at the University of Maryland.
Greg, Kevin, thank you both for joining us.
Greg, let me start with you with may be a simple question, but how big a deal is this in Cleveland?
GREG SWARTZ, Bleacher Report: I think this is a bigger deal than anybody could have imagined.
You look at our history as a sports community, everybody knows it’s been 52 years, but really, for the Cavaliers, 46 seasons. They have own been to the NBA Finals — this is now the third time, obviously the first time that they have won it.
This is a big deal not just for Cleveland, but for Akron, for Northeast Ohio, for all of Ohio just to finally, finally say, hey, we got one, we’re champions. It is something that hasn’t been done in a very long time, and it’s a tremendous feeling right now in Northern Ohio.
JOHN YANG: Kevin, you have been watching sports and writing about sports for a long time.
KEVIN BLACKISTONE, The Washington Post: Yes.
JOHN YANG: How many droughts are there like this? Compare this to previous droughts? And what droughts are left for big sports cities?
KEVIN BLACKISTONE: Well, obviously, you have the Chicago Cubs. That’s probably the longest drought going. The Boston Red Sox got over their drought at the turn of the millennium.
Even if you didn’t have the entire history of Cleveland, just what LeBron James was able to do transform the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise into a championship team, what he’s done there just in the past two years since arriving is amazing in and of itself.
So, this is a huge deal, not just in Cleveland, but nationally. This is an amazing sports story.
JOHN YANG: Greg, Kevin just talked about the LeBron James departure and then the return. Six years ago, he was the most hated man in Cleveland, I would imagine. Can you have imagined back then this happening now?
GREG SWARTZ: No, no. I will remember that night forever in 2010, when he made his decision.
That was — man, that was your girlfriend breaking up with you. That was somebody stealing your dog. That was every, like, bad thing that could happen to you, your heart being ripped out. And at that time, nobody could have thought he was going to come back, just four years later, still in his prime, and really did deliver a championship here in year two.
I think it’s just phenomenal, because you look at it, his last two years in Cleveland, they won 66 and 60 games. The four years that he was gone, they had the worst record in the entire NBA. And now the two years that he’s back, two finals trips, one championship.
And you can make the argument he’s still arguably playing the best basketball of his career after that finals performance. So you’re not only happy about the present, but you look at the next couple of years, and they look pretty good as well.
JOHN YANG: Well, Kevin, let’s look at that.
Two years since he’s back, he takes them to the title.
KEVIN BLACKISTONE: Right.
JOHN YANG: Takes them to the championship series twice, takes them to the title.
Where does this put LeBron James now in the game of basketball against Michael Jordan, against all the others?
KEVIN BLACKISTONE: Sure.
Well, Magic Johnson tweeted out last night that it puts him in the category of the top five players all time in the NBA. And I would say that is absolutely the case. Let’s forget about the fact that he led in every category in this finals, points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocked shots, of all the players that were playing.
And let’s forget that two games he scored 82 points games combined to force this game seven. But let’s just look at the fact that he carried a rookie head coach in Tyronn Lue to this championship.
A year ago, he took David Blatt, another rookie NBA head coach, to this championship. When he was with Miami, he won championships with Erik Spoelstra as a head coach, who, when he got there, had just been a head coach for a couple of years in this league and was vastly unknown.
And when he was originally in Cleveland, most of the time, he was there, he had Mike Brown, who, when Mike Brown arrived there, was a rookie head coach in the NBA. That’s just how dynamic it is a talent it is that you have in LeBron James, not only as a player, but also as a leader.
And you’re talking about someone who has developed these leadership skills despite his upbringing, coming up in a single-parent household, as everyone knows the story, socioeconomic problems, shoving them here and there in Akron where he grew up. And he’s such a mature individual, one of the most mature, well-spoken, smartly spoken athletes that we have in pro sports today.
JOHN YANG: And, Greg, you say it’s not just Cleveland. It’s the whole region. Talk about the region’s attachment. And his high school games in Akron would be on ESPN.
GREG SWARTZ: He is fully immersed in the region. I attended the University of Akron. He was on campus all the time in the summer. I would go to the rec center. He would be working out with his trainer. I would go past the James A. Rhodes Arena, he would be in there playing pickup basketball with Chris Paul.
He would be sitting there talking to some of his buddies. And you just would walk by him on your way to class. He doesn’t just talk about Akron and Cleveland and profess his love in words. He’s there, he’s involved, he’s hands-on. He still lives just right outside of Akron. He still loves the community very, very much.
JOHN YANG: Greg Swartz and Kevin Blackistone, thanks for being with us.
KEVIN BLACKISTONE: Thank you, John.
GREG SWARTZ: Thank you.
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