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

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    Coal trains approach Norfolk Southern's Williamson rail yard in Williamson, West Virginia at the border of Pike County, Kentucky May 13, 2015. Picture taken May 13, 2015. For use with Insight COAL-USA/KENTUCKY REUTERS/Valerie Volcovici - RTX1F315

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Hard times are hitting the energy sector in America’s West. Oil and gas production are down, and in Wyoming’s coal industry, three of the state’s four largest producers are now in bankruptcy, leading to hundreds of layoffs.

    From Public Media’s Inside Energy, Leigh Paterson reports from Gillette, Wyoming, on how the state’s energy booms and busts are affecting almost everyone.

    LEIGH PATERSON: Gail Japp’s horses have helped her through hard times, like when she was getting divorced.

    GAIL JAPP, Former Peabody Energy Employee: When you have had a bad day, you just come out and they just make life worth going on.

    LEIGH PATERSON: Especially this one, named Money.

    GAIL JAPP: He’s very trusting and he’s very loving.

    LEIGH PATERSON: Recently, things have been tough again. Japp was one of the nearly 500 Wyoming coal miners laid off recently. And to pay her mortgage, she will have to sell a lot of her things, including her beloved horses.

    GAIL JAPP: So, I have no choice. I just — I have got to downsize. And there’s a lot of stuff I’m going to have to sell.

    LEIGH PATERSON: Japp worked for Peabody Energy for over a decade, mostly massive haul trucks. After cutting jobs, including hers, in March, the coal giant declared bankruptcy in April.

    GAIL JAPP: Those were so fun. Them things were just awesome.

    LEIGH PATERSON: She misses it, and is worried about getting a new job.

    GAIL JAPP: Yes, I can’t leave Gillette, which is really going to make it hard for me to find something, because my dad is 90 years old, and then I got two grandkids here in town that try to stay with me as much as they can. So it’s just — I don’t know. It’s been devastating.

    LEIGH PATERSON: That’s because prices for coal, oil, and gas are all way down, all at the same time. Revenue from those industries accounts for around 70 percent of the state’s budget.

    Fossil fuels employ around 10 percent of Wyoming’s private sector work force, so, an energy bust hits towns like Gillette particularly hard, because this region is rich in all three, coal, oil, and gas. Gillette even calls itself the energy capital of the nation.

    But over the past year, unemployment claims in the county have more than doubled. Businesses are closing, homes are up for sale, rail traffic is way down, and people all of the sudden are in need of basics like food.

    A line formed at this church-run food bank before the doors even opened.

    WOMAN: Oh, well, this should help out a little bit.

    WOMAN: Yes.

    LEIGH PATERSON: Volunteers served 110 families that day.

    Dennis Rehder is the pastor at Project I:61 Ministries. After the layoffs at the coal mines, Rehder has been expecting to see those workers at the food bank. But he says they have actually been serving a lot of people in other industries, such as oil field workers and hotel employees who have already been out of work for months.

    DENNIS REHDER: What that does, it creates us to be aware that, in three months from today, those people that are living off savings or they have exhausted all their means of financial help or other community things, now they really, really need it. So it’s kind of like we’re a last resort.

    LEIGH PATERSON: People all over the region are looking ahead to try and figure out what’s next, like many at this meeting put on by a coal advocacy group called Friends of Coal.

    JONATHAN DOWNING, Executive Director, Wyoming Mining Association: I believe in our great state. And I know that, if anybody can come through this, its going to be coal miners.

    LEIGH PATERSON: But that won’t be easy. For decades, Gillette has had a strong economy and a low unemployment rate, fueled by energy dollars and plentiful, well-paying jobs.

    The average coal miner in Wyoming makes around $83,000 a year. The average American worker makes just over half that.

    Stacey Moeller has been mining since her 20s. She says, for her, it’s more than just a job.

    STACEY MOELLER, Peabody Energy Employee: You know, you work at something for a long time, and it becomes such a part of you.

    LEIGH PATERSON: Losing that identity is scary. And Moeller isn’t sure anything could replace coal mining in Gillette.

    STACEY MOELLER: At this time, you just can’t. There just isn’t anything for them to go to that’s comparable. What would it be? And how do we start that? And how do we get there? I don’t know.

    LEIGH PATERSON: Everywhere you go in Gillette, people are thinking about these kinds of questions, like Valerie Debeau and Barbi Hays, the manager and owner of a local BAR.

    VALERIE DEBEAU, Jake’s Tavern: Jake’s Tavern is the working man’s bar.

    BARBI HAYS, Jake’s Tavern: Its like a neighborhood bar.

    VALERIE DEBEAU: It’s a neighborhood.

    BARBI HAYS: It’s like a Cheers, yes.

    LEIGH PATERSON: Recently, they have cut back on hours and stopped offering insurance to their employees.

    VALERIE DEBEAU: We don’t want to have to lay off anybody. So we just continue on.

    BARBI HAYS: Try to cut our costs.

    VALERIE DEBEAU: As much as we can.

    LEIGH PATERSON: Debeau and Hays have seen slowdowns before, having lived in Gillette for almost 40 years. So when I asked what they’re hoping for, they went back to what’s always happened.

    BARBI HAYS: Another boom. We want that boom.

    VALERIE DEBEAU: Yes. Yes.

    LEIGH PATERSON: But another coal boom is unlikely anytime soon. Coal production this year is expected to drop 16 percent, which could mean more trouble for towns like Gillette all across the country.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Leigh Paterson in Gillette, Wyoming.

    The post Tough times for U.S. towns powered by fossil fuel energy jobs appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    GWEN IFILL: But, first, we turn to today’s campaign news, and what the summer solstice shakeup at the Trump campaign reveals about the candidate’s strategy as he heads into the general election, while at the same time, Hillary Clinton launches a pre-convention spending spree.

    It’s Politics Monday, and we turn, as always, to Tamara Keith of NPR and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report, who joins us tonight from Pittsburgh.

    Tam, we know that Corey Lewandowski, as Trump’s longtime right-hand man, who he fiercely defended over cases that — questions that he roughed up reporters, that he didn’t tell the truth, that he had continual fights with other members of the campaign, today, he’s out. What happened?

    TAMARA KEITH, NPR: Well, it depends on who you ask.

    Depending on which Trump campaign source you ask — and my colleagues at NPR have been asking many of them — he was either ousted, fired or it was a mutually agreed parting of the ways.

    It seems quite clear that he was in fact fired, that the internal conflict, he came out on the wrong side of the internal conflict. And the reality is, the Trump campaign is in a really weird place. He has been the presumptive nominee essentially for six weeks, and he hasn’t really used that time and his campaign hasn’t used that time to gain any sort of an advantage.

    GWEN IFILL: Amy, our friend Dana Bash at CNN interviewed Lewandowski at length today, and he said there was absolutely nothing wrong, in fact, that when Donald Trump called him and said the words you’re fired, which reminds us all of a certain reality television show, he thought that was fine.

    How unusual is it to have shakeups like this, and in big campaigns at this stage?

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: That’s an excellent question.

    And so I went back and looked. And so many campaigns have had shakeups. The most recent, of course, in memory was the John McCain shakeup. He shook his campaign up both before the primary and then over the summer of the election year.

    We have had — I sent there and looked. John Kerry had a campaign shakeup. Hillary Clinton had a campaign shakeup. John Kerry, as I said, had a campaign shakeup. There’s one thing that all of them — Al Gore as well.

    There’s one thing all of them have one in common. None of them won the election for president. None were elected president of the United States. Look, there are two reasons to go through a campaign shakeup. Either, one, you need to assure your donors or activists or insiders that things are changing, because they don’t like the direction that things are going, or, two, there’s actual — something going on in the campaign where different advisers and the candidate have different opinions about where the campaign is going to go.

    The challenge it seems to me for Donald Trump and the Trump campaign is, it’s not so much about strategy. It is the fact that the candidate himself doesn’t seem to be able to control himself. Donald Trump can’t fire himself. And Donald Trump is the campaign manager and the ad person and the pollster and the policy director.

    And he is running this campaign. And unless or until he starts listening to people who are telling him to run a better, more focused, more disciplined campaign, I don’t think any of this is going to matter.

    GWEN IFILL: Let’s talk about the conventional measures we keep applying to this campaign, which isn’t unreasonable, except that he keeps winning by unconventional measures, and he says that’s how I’m going to win the general election.

    Let’s talk about money. We talked about donors being a little freaked out. Donald Trump is actually going places, and doing fund-raisers, and trying to raise money, he says, for the party.

    But take a look at what he needs to raise. We have compared here what Hillary Clinton is apparently going to be spending in the next several months, or already has started spending in key states, key states that she needs to win in the fall, $23 million on ads. This is June. Let’s compare to how much Donald Trump is spending.

    Nothing, absolutely nothing. Now, in Hillary Clinton’s case, we’re talking about super PACs, as well as her own campaign money. But how do you not spend any money on ads?

    TAMARA KEITH: It seems that it would be a challenge.

    Donald Trump’s theory here is that he can do like he did in the primary, dominate free media. Cable will run his stump speeches live and he will just keep on having big crowds and keep on winning.

    It’s an interesting theory, but it’s not really clear how well that’s going to hold up. In 2012, Mitt Romney ran ads in June. He didn’t run nearly as much. He didn’t spend nearly as President Obama and his allies spent. He was vastly outspent in June.

    And, as a result, the Obama campaign and his allies were really able to lock in a narrative that Mitt Romney was never able to shake. Well, Donald Trump has essentially ceded the airwaves for this month. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s allies, Priorities USA, her super PAC, has already booked more than $100 million in ad buys through November in eight key states.

    GWEN IFILL: Wow.

    OK. So, Amy, let’s talk about how one does that. Another conventional measure is having people who agree with you.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    GWEN IFILL: So I saw a story in The Texas Tribune this weekend that Donald Trump goes to Texas to raise money and the guy who introduces him at the event, the Texas banker, starts to disagree with him on NAFTA, starts to disagree with him on immigration, and this is a guy writing a check to the campaign.

    AMY WALTER: Right.

    GWEN IFILL: Now, compare that with Hillary Clinton. Today, we saw Joe Biden come out and speak and attack Trump on her behalf. We have seen Elizabeth Warren.

    For a change, it’s the Democrats who appear to be in lockstep and the Republicans who are not.

    AMY WALTER: Right.

    This idea about a unity party has eluded Donald Trump now for weeks. As Tam pointed out, he has had six weeks as the presumptive nominee. And every week, the story has been about something dysfunctional going on either with Donald Trump or the Donald Trump campaign.

    The other thing I want to point out about this map that I think is really interesting, where both Hillary Clinton and the super PAC supporting her are spending their money, they are all in swing states, yes, indeed, but these are offensive. This is an offensive strategy, rather than a defensive strategy.

    She is not playing and the outside group is not playing ads in this state, Pennsylvania, which has long gone Democratic, but a lot of people see as the kind of place where Donald Trump can break through, or Wisconsin, another Rust Belt state, and of course Michigan, another state that Donald Trump says he is going to be able to compete in with his appeal to white working-class voters.

    The fact that the campaign and the super PAC are not playing in those states suggests to me that they feel more confident in their defense and now they get to play all offense all the time. Remember, if Hillary Clinton holds every single state that John Kerry carried, plus Florida and New Mexico, it’s over. She doesn’t need to win any of those other states that are in that map.

    GWEN IFILL: I have one more question for both of you. We only have a minute, less than a minute left.

    But there has been talk of a delegate insurgency in the Republican Party, people who are going to find a way to stop Trump at the convention.

    Amy?

    AMY WALTER: I’m beyond skeptical that this is going to happen. We have heard this for a long time.

    If I have learned anything from this primary, it’s that the insiders are not driving this train. It’s the grassroots. This would go over very badly with the grassroots, with the base, number one. Number two, there is no other candidate. I don’t see that there’s an alternative.

    And, most important, do you think that if Trump gets ousted in a coup at the convention, he is just going to go quietly away and make things easy for the Republicans? He’s going to be back on Twitter and back on cable making life miserable for them.

    GWEN IFILL: Tam?

    TAMARA KEITH: What Amy said.

    (LAUGHTER)

    GWEN IFILL: She said it so well.

    TAMARA KEITH: I feel like this bubble floats up every four or five days, and then it bursts and comes back down, and then we do it all over again.

    GWEN IFILL: OK, big party in Cleveland last night. Maybe we will have another upheaval in Cleveland this fall, this summer.

    Tamara Keith of NPR, Amy Walker of The Cook Political Report, thank you, as always.

    TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

    AMY WALTER: You’re welcome.

    The post What a Trump staff shake-up means for his election strategy appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Iraqi soldiers help civilians, who fled from Falluja because of Islamic State violence, during a dust storm on the outskirts of Falluja, Iraq, June 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer - RTX2H08I

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we turn to Iraq.

    The offensive to retake the city of Fallujah, held by ISIS for more than two years, is proceeding much more quickly than anticipated. But tens of thousands of its residents have been forced by the fighting into the desert, as temperatures soar, without services, or even water in many cases.

    We turn to special correspondent Jane Arraf. She’s in Baghdad now, where she is on assignment for The Christian Science Monitor.

    Jane, you were just in Fallujah yesterday. And is it the case this operation has been going much faster than expected?

    JANE ARRAF: Well, Judy, it has been going faster certainly than some of the previous operations, including the battle for the provincial capital Anbar.

    But I think we have to remember that Fallujah is a different case. Fallujah had up to 100,000 people in it. And it was where ISIS first came into, where they tried to persuade Iraqis that they were a better alternative than the Iraqi government.

    They didn’t lay the land mines, they didn’t lay the improvised explosives the same way that they riddled other cities with. It was actually faster for the special forces that we were with to actually go through there and fight.

    Having said that, they have not in fact liberated Fallujah, in the sense that the Iraqi government likes to say that they have. Now, Iraqi special forces, including the commander, who we spoke with, says that they have now cleared 75 percent of the city.

    American military sources say they think that’s closer to 25 percent. And they say that the effort is continuing. But as it’s continuing, as you pointed out, there is absolute tragedy on the outskirts of Fallujah with all these civilians trying to flee.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, tell us about that. Who stayed in Fallujah when ISIS had control, and what’s happening to those people?

    JANE ARRAF: A lot of people did leave at the beginning, but then a lot of people stayed for a variety of reasons.

    And when it got to two years in, essentially, they weren’t allowed to leave. So, the people that I was speaking with, mostly women and children, because they were separated from their husbands and their brothers as the Iraqi security forces tried to weed out suspected ISIS fighters from civilians fleeing, were telling us, were telling me that they had been without real food for weeks on end.

    Now, as the siege of Fallujah intensified, ISIS itself started running out of food, and it started giving food only to those tribes, those families that were loyal to it. So, groups of women who I spoke with said that they had been living on the only thing they could afford, which was basically dried dates that were meant for animal feed.

    They weren’t allowed to leave the city. If they could leave the city, it was through bribery. And at this point, people just don’t have the money. So, they basically stayed, Judy, because they had to stay. It is when ISIS was driven back and the floodgates opened and up to 80,000 people fled over the past three days, just last week, that things got really dire.

    Some people were actually killed trying to leave. I met a man with the remainder of his family in an ambulance in Fallujah being evacuated by Iraqi security forces who has lost three of his daughters and his wife. As they were leaving, they were hit by either a mortar or a rocket.

    He ended up burying two of his daughters in the grounds in the hospital. And then he couldn’t leave until Iraqi security forces rescued him. There are other people who drowned trying to leave.

    But even those who survive, Judy, are living in dire circumstances. There is no water. There is no consistent water supply. There is not even shelter. I have met pregnant women who are lying on the ground without even a piece of shade.

    And it’s doubly puzzling, because this was expected, this exodus of civilians from Fallujah.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You’re saying a lot of people are still there, but there’s just been little or no provisions made for those who have been able to get out?

    JANE ARRAF: There are very people believed left in the city.

    Now, if you talk to aid organizations, and there are very few of them on ground, that is the other problem, they will tell you that up to 80,000 people actually fled over three days.

    So, all of those people are in areas surrounding Fallujah. And it in places that aren’t really equipped to hold large numbers of people. The other problem is that they are essentially trapped between Fallujah and the fighting that is still going on there.

    And on this side, Baghdad. Baghdad will not let them in, because it believes that many of them are ISIS supporters and it isn’t able to screen them.

    So, the most poignant scenes are just across a bridge that leads from the outskirts of Baghdad to Anbar province. There are thousands of people, most of them women and children, massed up against that bridge waiting for approval to cross. They’re out there in temperatures that are more than 100 degrees in the shade.

    They’re scrambling for even a little bit of water. There are no toilets. There are no tents. And it is a sign really that the international community as well as the Iraqi government has failed them. Everyone is scrambling to get aid in there, but at this point there are people suffering, and reports coming out that some people may actually be dying.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It sounds just horrible.

    Jane Arraf reporting for us right now in Baghdad — yesterday, you were in Fallujah — thank you.

    JANE ARRAF: Thank you, Judy.

    The post Dire circumstances for Iraqis fleeing Fallujah fighting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    NRA gun enthusiasts view Sig Sauer rifles at the National Rifle Association's annual meetings & exhibits show in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. May 21, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II/File Photo - RTX2H0CU

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    GWEN IFILL: In the wake of the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting, the debate over gun violence faced a series of votes on Capitol Hill.

    Lisa Desjardins reports.

    LISA DESJARDINS: From courtrooms, to Congress, the often theoretical debate over guns touched ground today, eight days after the massacre in Orlando.

    In Washington, a showdown on the Senate floor over four different gun control measures, from background checks to banning sales to those on the no-fly list. It was a classic partisan duel.

    SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: Republicans say hey, look, we tried. And all the time, they’re cheerleaders for bosses at the NRA.

    SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), Texas: Our colleagues want to make this about gun control. My colleagues many ways want to fight the symptoms without fighting the disease.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Lots of debate, but no expected changes, when all was said and done.

    Across the street, Supreme Court justices decided not to hear an appeal of semiautomatic weapons bans in Connecticut and New York. That means the bans stay in place. They were enacted after the school shooting in 2012, at Newtown, Connecticut.

    Families of the Newtown victims were also watching this courtroom in Bridgeport, where a state judge heard arguments about whether they can sue a gun manufacturer. James Vogts represents Remington Arms, which made the semiautomatic rifle used in the Newtown shooting.

    JAMES VOGTS, Attorney for Remington Arms: It’s really not the role of this court, or perhaps a jury, to decide whether civilians, as a class, broad class of people, are not appropriate to own these class of firearms.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Joshua Koskoff represents the families who are suing.

    JOSHUA KOSKOFF, Attorney for Newtown Victims’ Families: It was an AR-15 rifle, a weapon, Judge, that was designed to be used in combat by our military to assault and kill enemies of war. It was Remington’s choice to entrust the most notorious American military killing machine to the public.

    LISA DESJARDINS: Recent polls show Americans generally support gun restrictions. In a Reuters/Ipsos survey last week, about 71 percent approved of strong or moderate gun restrictions, while about 16 percent want basic limits and just 6 percent said firearms should have no or few restrictions.

    But, as debate continues, so does the violence. In Chicago yesterday, police reported something rare, an apparent gang-related shooting using not a handgun, but a semiautomatic assault rifle.

    WOMAN: When does it stop? What’s going to — how do we get help with this? What do we do?

    LISA DESJARDINS: The Chicago victim was 17 years old.

    GWEN IFILL: For more on the recurring debate over gun laws and gun ownership, we turn now to Marcia Coyle, “NewsHour” regular and chief Washington correspondent for “The National Law Journal,” Evan Osnos, whose extensive report on concealed-carry laws appears in this week’s “New Yorker” magazine, and, as you just heard, “NewsHour” correspondent Lisa Desjardins, who’s been following the action on Capitol Hill.

    As of now, this time 6:00 p.m. Eastern time tonight, do we have any — is there any possibility that any of the four gun bills that were up for a vote today might pass?

    LISA DESJARDINS: Realistically, no. And we already know that one has failed, something that seems innocuous, increasing funding for background checks on the federal level. That has not received 60 votes.

    It was Republican amendment. That didn’t clear. We do not expect the other three to clear there that 60-vote bar either.

    GWEN IFILL: In spite of what we just saw in terms of public opinion?

    LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right.

    And when you look at public opinion here, there’s a real disconnect. You see overwhelmingly, not just Americans as a whole, Gwen, supporting things like background checks, some moderate restrictions, you could say, but Republicans as a group.

    Recently, Pew and many other groups have polled Republicans and they find 80-some percent sometimes support background checks, but yet Republicans on Capitol Hill are going the exact opposite directions.

    GWEN IFILL: Today at the Supreme Court, Marcia, we saw that the court decided not to take up a challenge to two assault weapons bans in New York and Connecticut.

    Now, we know that when the court doesn’t do something, that doesn’t necessarily mean a lot. But there’s a record here. There’s a pattern.

    MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal: Well there is, the court not wanting to get back into this Second Amendment arena.

    The court’s had a number of petitions come before them in recent years. Even this year, there was another assault weapon-type ban out of Highland Park, Illinois. The challenge came there to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court didn’t want to take it

    up. It’s not unusual for the court to allow certain questions to percolate in the lower courts after it’s made a major ruling. And the major ruling, though, here came in 2008 in the so-called Heller decision involving the District of Columbia’s handgun ban.

    But they’re just — you need four votes to take a case in the Supreme Court, and they just aren’t there, despite some rather strong dissents from the denial of a review by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and the late Antonin Scalia.

    GWEN IFILL: And those dissents are about the right to gun ownership, or what are they?

    MARCIA COYLE: They’re really about how the lower courts have been dealing with applying that 2008 landmark decision.

    Those three justices have said at various times that they feel the lower courts aren’t giving the right recognized by the Second Amendment the due that it should have, and that they are all over the map in how they examine restrictions on guns. And it’s time, they feel, for the court to step back into this area.

    GWEN IFILL: OK, Evan, let’s take a step from these two branches of government and talk more specifically about the business branch of government, as it were.

    There is a business incentive which has very little to do with the laws about why guns continue to be sold.

    EVAN OSNOS, The New Yorker: Well, this is the thing I think that is sort of a paradox, is at this very moment when we look at the effects that guns has had on the country in the last two weeks, the gun business is actually doing better than ever.

    Smith & Wesson, the largest U.S. gun manufacturer, their stock price increased 10 percent by the time the market opened the day after Orlando. What’s going on? The answer is that the industry occupies a very unique place in American culture. It’s almost insulated from business pressures because of a law that was passed in Congress in 2005, meaning that if somebody wanted to bring a lawsuit, they couldn’t do it now.

    It’s very hard to do it. One of the things we heard in the segment was about this lawsuit in Connecticut, and that lawsuit is enormously important, because what it’s going to try to do is to figure out if the gun industry today, which has basically been able to profit in the period in which mass shootings have elevated the fear, have elevated people’s desire to own a gun for self-defense, whether in fact the kinds of civil cases that have in the past have shaped industry’s behavior, whether we’re talking about BP, for instance, with oil, or whether we’re talking about tobacco and how they market, whether in fact they will be shaped by their role in these kinds of national tragedies.

    GWEN IFILL: Lisa, just as we have been talking, a second effort at gun control in the Senate this afternoon has failed. Now, here is my question about that, though.

    As Evan just said, there’s a distinct difference between an argument about gun control and self-defense. Self-defense seems like something everybody can get behind. Is that the argument that is playing out on the floor of the Senate or is it something more arcane?

    LISA DESJARDINS: It’s both.

    The biggest argument to pay attention to I think for the endgame right now is the argument about the no-fly or terror watch list. And I say this because, while today’s votes, we do not expect to be meaningful, there is a compromise effort under way led by Susan Collins of Maine just trying to pass something.

    And we have seen even Donald Trump express interest in somehow preventing more people on the no-fly list from being able to get guns.

    GWEN IFILL: That’s something we have heard the president talk about too.

    LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right.

    And the president, Democrats, they all talk sort of similar. But the difference there in is in the specifics. And it’s about Republicans’ mistrust of government having a list of Americans that it can block from having a gun.

    The list is not public, you don’t know when you’re on the list, and Republicans say that’s a problem. Now, they err on the side of let’s not — let’s err on the side of allowing more people the ability to buy guns. Democrats say no. Let’s err on the side of preventing people who we think are dangerous from having guns. That’s what they’re working out right now.

    GWEN IFILL: So, at the Supreme Court or in the courts in general, is there a long line of gun debates headed for the high court or does it pretty much stop at appeals courts? Does it pretty much stop farther down the line, so the court waits for conflict?

    MARCIA COYLE: The court will wait for a conflict.

    And they may get one involving Maryland’s ban on assault weapons. That right now is in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and was argued in May, so a decision could come any day. But there’s another factor too, Gwen, that I think comes into play here. And that is, the New York case that the Supreme Court didn’t take today wasn’t the major challenge.

    The federal appellate court that ruled in the Connecticut case also had the New York — another New York challenge at the same time and uphold New York’s ban back in October. In March, the largest gun rights group in New York decided not to go to the Supreme Court on the advice of their lawyers, for two reasons. One, Justice Scalia was no longer on the bench, the champion of the Second Amendment individual right.

    And, two, we now have an eight-justice court and the possibility of a 4-4 split would mean that the lower court’s opinion upholding both bans would stand in place. And they didn’t want that precedent set.

    GWEN IFILL: Fascinating.

    Evan, in your piece in “The New Yorker,” you talk about concealed-carry laws, which, among other things, has driven up the number of guns that have been sold, as has multiple gun ownership. One person can buy, can own eight guns. And that’s happening more and more.

    EVAN OSNOS: Right.

    This is the thing we don’t often talk about, which is that the biggest change that’s gone on in the culture of guns and the business of guns over the last generation is that you can now legally carry them in all kinds of places you simply couldn’t before.

    Two decades ago, you simply couldn’t leave your house in many states, 22 states. It was either illegal or restricted regulated to go outside with a gun. It’s now legal in all 50 states. And this is really the beginning, I think, not the end, of a kind of national political conversation about whether or not we are ready for that, whether or not people accept that and where they accept that.

    One of the reasons I think why the court has been reluctant to weigh in to what everybody agrees is probably the next great frontier in Second Amendment law, which is where can you carry and why, is because you see these radical differences in place to place.

    And so far, what has happened is that the courts have basically said we’re going to leave it to these local governments, state governments and lower governments to decide who can carry a gun and why.

    GWEN IFILL: Lisa, final thought?

    LISA DESJARDINS: And I think here’s why we see the difference in politics between the American landscape. We see, as a percentage, fewer gun owners, but they are owning more guns. Just like we see in so many issues, it’s becoming concentrated in very vocal minorities, but they’re controlling the debate.

    Lisa Desjardins, Evan Osnos at “The New Yorker” and Marcia Coyle of “The National Law Journal,” thank you all very much.

    MARCIA COYLE: Pleasure.

    EVAN OSNOS: Thanks, Gwen.

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    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a conference of the Center for New American Security think tank in Washington U.S., June 20, 2016.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTX2H89M

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    GWEN IFILL: Good evening. I’m Gwen Ifill.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And I’m Judy Woodruff.

    GWEN IFILL: On the “NewsHour” tonight: As the Justice Department releases a transcript of the Orlando shooter’s 911 call, the Senate takes up gun control, and the Supreme Court upholds assault weapons bans in two states.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Also ahead, a report on the ground in Fallujah, where Iraqi government forces are closing in on ISIS militants holed up in the key city.

    GWEN IFILL: Plus, a big Trump campaign staff shakeup, as Democrats take a summer lead in polling and fund-raising. It’s Politics Monday.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And the world’s most popular modern art museum, London’s Tate Modern, builds upon its pioneering history with a new 10-story wing.

    NICHOLAS SEROTA, Director, Tate Art Galleries and Museums: 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, but it should also be a social experience.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.”

    (BREAK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The FBI today released transcripts of the 911 calls made by the gunman in Orlando. In them, Omar Mateen pledges allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group, and says the U.S. should stop bombing Iraq and Syria.

    Initially, this morning, officials released partial transcripts, without the references to ISIS.

    RONALD HOPPER, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI: Part of the redacting is meant to not give credence to individuals who have done terrorist acts in the past.

    We’re not going to propagate their rhetoric, their violent rhetoric. And we see no value in putting those individuals’ names back out there. We’re trying to prevent future acts from happening again. And for cowards like this one, people like that influence them, so we’re not going to continue to put their names out front.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Republicans criticized the decision, and, hours later, the Justice Department put out more complete transcripts.

    GWEN IFILL: In the presidential campaign, Vice President Joe Biden went after Donald Trump today over his calls for action against Muslims.

    In a Washington speech, the vice president didn’t directly name the Republican nominee-to-be, but his target was clear.

    VIE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: Wielding the politics of fear and intolerance, like the proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, profiling Muslim Americans, slandering entire religious communities as complicit in terrorism, calls into question America’s status as the greatest democracy in the history of the world.

    GWEN IFILL: Also today, Trump fired his longtime campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. The campaign gave no reason, and Lewandowski did not report that he’d alienated members of Trump’s family. Asked on CNN why he was let go, he said, “I don’t know the answer to that.” We will dig deeper on Politics Monday.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A searing heat wave peaked today in the Southwestern U.S., with temperatures expected to hit 120 degrees in some places. The triple digits are breaking 50-year-old records and at least two deaths in Arizona are blamed on the heat. Conditions are also making it even tougher to control wildfires across the region.

    GWEN IFILL: There will be no federal criminal charges in the case of a Georgia teenager who suffocated inside a rolled-up gym mat. Kendrick Johnson died at his Valdosta high school in January 2013. Local officials ruled he got stuck trying to reach a gym shoe. That prompted rallies and marches, but, today, the Justice Department said there’s not enough evidence to prove a crime.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The British Parliament convened in special session today to pay tribute one of its own, Jo Cox. The Labour Party member was shot and stabbed to death last week in her home district. Lawmakers recalled Cox’s life and work, and placed two roses, one white for her home county of Yorkshire and one red for the Labour Party, at her now-vacant seat.

    RACHEL REEVES, Labour MP: Jo was struck down much too soon, so it now falls on all of our shoulders, the woman I met in the coffee shop in Batley, Jo’s friends, MPs, all of us, to carry on Jo’s work, to combat and guard against hatred, intolerance, and injustice, to serve others with dignity and with love. And that is the best way that we can remember Jo and all that she stood for.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: After a three-day halt, campaigning resumed today on whether Britain should stay in the European Union. The referendum will be held Thursday.

    GWEN IFILL: Wall Street surged today, on optimism that Britain will vote to stay in the E.U. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 129 points to close near 17805. The Nasdaq rose almost 37 points, and the S&P 500 added 12.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A record 65 million people were forced from their homes worldwide last year, largely by war. That’s roughly equal to the entire population of Great Britain. The U.N.’s refugee agency reports more than half were fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. And while millions escaped to other nations, many more are on the run within their own countries.

    GWEN IFILL: Iran says it has broken up one of the largest terror plots ever on its soil. State TV today reported police arrested several suspects and seized bombs and ammunition.

    It suggested the Islamic State or other Sunni militants may be to blame. Iran is supporting the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And China leads the world in supercomputers for the seventh year in a row. An annual ranking out today also finds that, for the first time, China has more machines than the U.S. on the list. One is five times faster than the fastest U.S. supercomputer.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the gun debate continues in Congress and in court; a humanitarian crisis unveiled as Iraqi forces retake Fallujah; a major shakeup in the Donald Trump campaign; and much more.

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    Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — A divided Senate blocked rival election-year plans to curb guns on Monday, eight days after the horror of Orlando’s mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway — even over restricting firearms for terrorists.

    In largely party-line votes, rejected were one proposal from each side to keep extremists from acquiring guns and another shoring up the government’s existing system of required background checks for many firearms purchases.

    With the chamber’s visitors’ galleries unusually crowded for a Monday evening — including people wearing orange T-shirts saying #ENOUGH gun violence — each measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to progress. Democrats called the GOP proposals unacceptably weak while Republicans said the Democratic plans were overly restrictive.

    The stalemate underscored the pressure on each party to give little ground on the emotional gun issue going into November’s presidential and congressional elections. It also highlighted the potency of the National Rifle Association, which urged its huge and fiercely loyal membership to lobby senators to oppose the Democratic bills.

    “Republicans say, ‘Hey look, we tried,'” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “And all the time, their cheerleaders, the bosses at the NRA, are cheering them.”

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Orlando shootings — in which the FBI says the American-born gunman swore allegiance to a leader of the Islamic State group — show the best way to prevent attacks by extremists is to defeat such groups overseas.

    “Look, no one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns or explosives,” McConnell said. He suggested that Democrats were using the day’s votes “as an opportunity to push a partisan agenda or craft the next 30-second campaign ad,” while Republicans wanted “real solutions.”

    That Monday’s four roll-call votes occurred at all was testament to the political currents buffeting lawmakers after gunman Omar Mateen’s June 12 attack on a gay nightclub. The 49 victims who died made it the largest mass shooting in recent U.S. history, topping the string of such incidents that have punctuated recent years.

    The FBI said Matteen — a focus of two terror investigations that were dropped — described himself as an Islamic soldier in a 911 call during the shootings. That let gun control advocates add national security and the specter of terrorism to their arguments for firearms curbs, while relatives of victims of past mass shootings and others visiting lawmakers and watching debate from the visitors’ galleries.

    GOP senators facing re-election this fall from swing states were under extraordinary pressure.

    One, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., voted Monday for the Democratic measure to block gun sales to terrorists, a switch from when she joined most Republicans in killing a similar plan last December. She said that vote — plus her support for a rival GOP measure — would help move lawmakers toward approving a narrower bipartisan plan, like one being crafted by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

    Monday’s votes came after Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., led a near 15-hour filibuster last week demanding a Senate response to the Orlando killings. Murphy entered the Senate shortly after the December 2012 massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, but that slaughter and others have failed to spur Congress to tighten gun curbs. The last were enacted in 2007, when the background check system was strengthened after that year’s mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

    With Mateen’s self-professed loyalty to extremist groups and his 10-month inclusion on a federal terrorism watch list, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., proposed letting the government block many gun sales to known or suspected terrorists. People buying firearms from federally licensed gun dealers can currently be denied for several reasons, chiefly for serious crimes or mental problems, but there is no specific prohibition for those on the terrorist watch list.

    That list currently contains around 1 million people — including fewer than 5,000 Americans or legal permanent residents, according to the latest government figures.

    No background checks are required for anyone buying guns privately online or at gun shows.

    The GOP response to Feinstein was an NRA-backed plan by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. It would let the government deny a sale to a known or suspected terrorist — but only if prosecutors could convince a judge within three days that the would-be buyer was involved in terrorism.

    The Feinstein and Cornyn amendments would require notification of law enforcement officials if people, like Mateen, who’d been under a terrorism investigation within the past five years were seeking to buy firearms.

    Republicans said Feinstein’s proposal gave the government too much unfettered power to deny people’s constitutional right to own a gun. They also noted that the terrorist watch list has historically mistakenly included people. Democrats said the three-day window that Cornyn’s measure gave prosecutors to prove their case made his plan ineffective.

    The Senate rejected similar plans Feinstein and Cornyn proposed last December, a day after an attack in San Bernardino, California, killed 14 people.

    Murphy’s rejected proposal would widely expand the requirement for background checks, even to many private gun transactions, leaving few loopholes.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, defeated plan increased money for the background check system. Like Murphy’s measure, it prodded states to send more records to the FBI, which operates the background check system, of felons and others barred from buying guns.

    Grassley’s proposal also revamped language prohibiting some people with mental health issues from buying a gun. Democrats claimed that language would roll back current protections.

    Monday’s votes were 53-47 for Grassley’s plan, 44-56 for Murphy’s, 53-47 for Cornyn’s and 47-53 for Feinstein’s — all short of the 60 needed.

    Separately, Collins was laboring to fashion a bipartisan bill that would prevent people on the no-fly list — with just 81,000 names— from getting guns. There were no signs Monday that it was getting wide support or would receive a vote.

    The post Gun control bills fail despite momentum after Orlando shooting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to a campaign rally in Redding, California. Photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Redding, California on June 3. Photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

    NEW YORK — Donald Trump abruptly fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Monday in a dramatic shake-up designed to calm panicked Republican leaders and end an internal power struggle plaguing the billionaire businessman’s unconventional White House bid.

    In dismissing his longtime campaign chief — just a month before the party’s national convention — Trump signaled, at least for a day, a departure from the seat-of-the-pants style that has fueled his unlikely rise in Republican politics. Perhaps more than anyone else in Trump’s inner circle, the ousted aide has preached a simple mantra: “Let Trump be Trump.”

    “I have no regrets,” Lewandowski told CNN just hours after he was escorted out of Trump’s Manhattan campaign headquarters. Still, the former conservative activist seemed to acknowledge the limitations of his approach, which has sparked widespread concern among the GOP’s top donors, operatives, elected officials, and even some of Trump’s family members.

    “The campaign needs to continue to grow to be successful,” he said.

    Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, described Lewandowski as a “good man” who helped “a small, beautiful, well-unified campaign” during the primary season.

    “I think it’s time now for a different kind of a campaign,” Trump said on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”

    People close to Trump, including adult children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr., had long-simmering concerns about Lewandowski, who had limited experience on the national scale before becoming Trump’s campaign leader. Like many Republican officials, Trump’s family urged the billionaire businessman to professionalize a bare-bones campaign that had previously resisted adding staff and paid advertising heading into the general election.

    A person close to Trump said Lewandowski was forced out largely because of the campaign’s worsening relationship with the Republican National Committee, donors and GOP officials, who have increasingly criticized the candidate’s message and campaign infrastructure in recent weeks. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

    While Trump dismissed his critics publicly, he has been privately concerned that so many party leaders — House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell among them — have been reluctant to support him, the person said. Trump at least partially blamed Lewandowski.

    Yet in his response Monday evening, Trump left little indication that he was prepared to abandon his divisive rhetoric.

    He repeatedly called Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” in the Fox interview. He also said “facts” suggest President Barack Obama sympathizes with Muslim terrorists.

    “Firing your campaign manager in June is never a good thing,” said veteran Republican operative Kevin Madden. “The campaign will have to show dramatic changes immediately on everything from fundraising and organizing to candidate performance and discipline in order to demonstrate there’s been a course correction. Otherwise it’s just cosmetics.”

    Lewandowski’s chief internal rival, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, largely inherits the campaign reins. The political veteran has long advocated a more scripted approach backed by a larger and more professional campaign apparatus, although Trump has shown little willingness to embrace a wholesale change in his approach.

    Lewandowski, speaking to The Associated Press, noted that Manafort actually has been in charge of major campaign functions, including media strategy and Washington outreach, for months.

    “Paul Manafort has been in operational control of the campaign since April 7. That’s a fact,” Lewandowski said.

    Lewandowski has long been a controversial figure in Trump’s campaign, but he benefited from his proximity to the presumptive Republican nominee. Often mistaken for a member of the candidate’s security team, he traveled with Trump on his private plane to nearly every campaign stop.

    His aggressive approach produced internal enemies.

    Just minutes after his departure was announced, Trump adviser Michael Caputo tweeted, “Ding dong the witch is dead!” and included a link to the song from the film, “The Wizard of Oz.”

    A few hours later, Caputo was gone, too. The aide was to have served as Trump’s director of communications at next month’s convention, but Hicks confirmed late in the day that he was no longer with the campaign.

    The public airing of internal campaign turmoil comes as Democrats rally behind their presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state has already assembled a national campaign with hundreds of paid staffers backed by millions of dollars in battleground-state television advertising. Trump has roughly 30 paid employees working in key states and isn’t spending anything so far on television advertising.

    The shakeup came a day before Trump was to attend a major New York City fundraiser, organized by longtime GOP financier Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets.

    Fundraisers have encountered turbulence between worried donors and a campaign manager who did not seem fully onboard with the idea that Trump and the party needed to buckle down and raise the money needed to build a robust general election operation.

    Trump publicly backed Lewandowski last spring when he was charged with misdemeanor battery after an altercation involving a female reporter during a campaign rally. The charges were later dropped.

    Yet, under the weight of dismal poll numbers, many of Trump’s supporters recognized a need to make a change.

    “It’s got to become much more disciplined and much more focused and much more organized and have a bigger structure,” said Stephen Stepanek, Trump’s New Hampshire co-chair. “I think the campaign, for lack of a better word, outgrew Corey.”


    Associated Press reporters Jill Colvin and Steve Peoples wrote this report. AP writers Jonathan Lemire in New York, Julie Bykowicz in Washington and Kathleen Ronayne in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

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    3D-printed model of CAS9, a DNA-cutting enzyme that features in the CRISPR gene editing system. Photo by NIH Image Gallery

    3D-printed model of CAS9, a DNA-cutting enzyme that features in the CRISPR gene editing system. Photo by NIH Image Gallery/via Flickr

    A federal biosafety and ethics panel on Tuesday unanimously approved the first study in patients of the genome-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9, in an experiment that would use CRISPR to create genetically-altered immune cells to attack three kinds of cancer.

    It had been widely expected that the first human use of CRISPR would be a 2017 clinical trial by Editas Medicine, which announced last year that it plans to use CRISPR to try to treat a rare form of blindness called Leber congenital amaurosis. Only a few hundred people in the U.S. have that disease. The possibility that a study siccing CRISPR on cancer will happen first suggests that the revolutionary genome-editing technology might be used against common diseases sooner than once thought.

    The experiment, proposed by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, still needs the approval of the medical centers where it would be conducted, as well as from the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the use of experimental treatments in people. If the study gets those okays, it would enroll patients with multiple myeloma, melanoma, and sarcoma, and be funded by the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which was launched this year by tech mogul Sean Parker.

    “Our preliminary data suggests that we could improve the efficacy of these T cells if we use CRISPR,” Penn’s Dr. Carl June, a pioneer in the use of T cells against cancer, told the National Institute of Health’s Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) Tuesday.

    Members of the committee were almost unanimously enthusiastic about the proposal. Dr. Michael Atkins, an oncologist at Georgetown University School of Medicine, called it “a really exciting first-in-human” study, adding that “we’ll learn a lot” from work that could “hopefully form the basis of new [cancer] therapies.” Biochemist Paula Cannon of the University of Southern California called it “innovative,” and said the Penn scientists had adequately addressed the questions she had about the safety of the procedure, including how they would tell whether CRISPR accidentally cuts the wrong genes, a problem called off-target effects.

    The proposed early-stage clinical trial with 15 patients would gauge the safety of the experimental therapy and see how feasible it is to manufacture genetically-engineered and CRISPR’d T cells, June said. The scientists would remove T cells, which normally target cells that are “foreign,” like bacteria, from patients with multiple myeloma, melanoma, or sarcoma. They would then use CRISPR to genetically modify the T cells so that, infused back into a patient, they can target and destroy tumor cells.

    The Penn trial would therefore use CRISPR to slice out two genes in T cells to boost their persistence and efficacy. Photo by MIKI Yoshihito/via Flickr

    The Penn trial would therefore use CRISPR to slice out two genes in T cells to boost their persistence and efficacy. Photo by MIKI Yoshihito/via Flickr

    The trial would be conducted at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (enrolling nine patients) and the University of California, San Francisco (three), as well as Penn (three). Penn would also produce the genetically-modified T cells.

    In a technique that several companies are competing to commercialize, traditional genetic engineering alters T cells extracted from patients so that the cells produce a “chimeric antigen receptor,” or CAR.

    Once the T cells are infused back into patients, that CAR lets the cells find molecules–antigens–that protrude from tumor cells – like a key fitting a lock – and, if all goes well, destroy the tumors. In particular, the proposed CAR T’s would glom onto the antigen NY-ESO-1. Last year, June and his colleaguesreported that T cells targeting that molecule safely beat back multiple myeloma in 16 out of 20 patients, each of whom received some 2.4 billion CAR T cells, June told the committee.

    Unfortunately, although that and other studies have found promising results with CAR T’s, the cells work only on some cancers (mostly leukemias and otherblood cancers), with disappointing results in solid tumors. Many patients who respond eventually see their cancer return, possibly because tumors begin repelling the T cells.

    The Penn trial would therefore use CRISPR to slice out two genes in T cells to boost their persistence and efficacy. One gene is for PD-1, a “checkpoint” molecule that also sits on the surface of many cancer cells. When it binds to a T cell, PD-1 disables that T cell. Solution: edit out the receptor gene so T cells can’t bind to PD-1.

    CRISPR’s other target would be the gene for a T cell’s natural receptors, called endogenous TCR. Studies have shown that “if you remove the TCR you get better functioning” of CAR Ts, June said. In his team’s mouse experiments, T cells CRISPR’d to lack both the PD-1 gene and the natural receptor gene reduced the size of lung tumors much more than non-CRISPR’d T cells did. In fact, since CRISPR is not perfect, some PD-1 and TCR genes remain, but at low enough levels to make the CAR T cells attack cancer cells more effectively, according to lab data presented to the committee.

    CRISPR’ing out the two genes–in a process expected to take 35 days–“may also increase the persistence” of CAR T cells, Penn’s Dr.Edward Stadtmauer told the committee. T cell “exhaustion” might explain why the benefits of the therapy often fade.

    One committee member expressed concern about financial conflicts of interest. June is an inventor of these CAR T cells that fight cancer, holds several patents on them, is a scientific advisor to immunotherapy companies including Celldex Therapeutics, and has been a paid speaker for Novartis, which is developing CAR T therapies.

    “Penn does have an infamous history in this regard,” said Dr. Lainie Ross of the University of Chicago, referring to a gene therapy study at Penn in which a study volunteer died in 1999 and the lead scientist had a financial interest in the experimental therapy.

    The committee was so concerned enough about that it debating asking the Penn scientists to “consider” not giving the experimental CRISPR treatment to patients, but to leave that to M.D. Anderson and UCSF. In the end, it decided only to ask Penn to find ways to “mitigate” conflicts of interest.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on June 21, 2016. Find the original story here

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    Don't let the human resources department keep the employee manual and benefits package from you before signing a contract. Photo by BernardaSv/iStock/360 via Getty Images.

    Columnist Nick Corcodilos has some simple suggestions for HR: Stop rescinding offers. Stop recruiting people then ignoring them. Stop demanding salary history from job applicants. Photo by BernardaSv/iStock/360 via Getty Images.

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

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


    Several readers have pointed out foibles of HR that we can’t keep ignoring.

    Reader #1: Back in the 20th century, employers actually reviewed resumes by reading them rather than scanning them into a computerized ranking system. The keyword game has turned hiring into a pass-the-buck game, with HR complaining it can’t find talent! Well, HR isn’t looking for talent. HR isn’t looking for anything. Phony algorithms are keeping the talent unemployed while HR gets paid to do something else! The question is: what is HR doing?

    Phony algorithms are keeping the talent unemployed while HR gets paid to do something else! The question is: what is HR doing?

    Reader #2: Two weeks after I got a written offer from this company, after I quit my old job and moved, HR sends me an email saying there’s no job. That’s right: They hired me and fired me before I started! What am I supposed to do now? I can’t go back to my old job — I quit for this one. The HR person who gave me the offer still has her job. She should be fired.

    Reader #3: I was selected for a new, better job paying more money after rounds of interviews. I was all set to start when my HR department called me in to say the job was withdrawn due to budget problems. This was for a promotion at my own company! How did they have the budget a month ago when they posted the job and gave it to me, but not now? What can I do?

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: Are disappearing job offers a new trend?

    Reader #4: My friend attended a business roundtable where multiple employers complained they couldn’t find people. She stood up and said she was a member of several large job search networking groups, with an aggregate membership of thousands in the Boston area. She offered to put them in touch, help them post positions, and contacted them multiple times afterwards to help facilitate this. Nobody has taken her up on it. Talent shortage my…!

    Nick Corcodilos: This edition of Ask The Headhunter is dedicated to good human resources managers who work hard to ensure their companies behave with integrity and in a businesslike manner toward job applicants — and who actually recruit.

    This is also a challenge to the rest. Do the readers’ complaints above mystify or offend you?  You cannot pretend to manage “human resources” while allowing your companies — and your profession — to run amuck in the recruiting and hiring process.

    The problems described above are on you, on HR. It’s your job to fix them. Either raise your HR departments’ standards of behavior or quit your job and eliminate the HR role altogether at your company.

    Here are some simple suggestions about very obvious problems in HR:

    Budget problems may impact hiring and internal promotions, but it’s HR’s job to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed before HR makes offers that impact people’s lives.

    Stop rescinding offers. Budget problems may impact hiring and internal promotions, but it’s HR’s job to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed before HR makes offers that impact people’s lives. Don’t make job offers if you don’t have the authority to follow through. If your company doesn’t give you that authority, then quit your job because you look like an idiot for having a job you’re not allowed to do. What happens to every job applicant is on you. (See “What if my offer was rescinded after I quit my old job?”)

    Stop recruiting people and then ignoring them. In other words, stop soliciting people you have no intention of interviewing or hiring. More is not better. If it’s impossible to handle all job applicants personally and respectfully, then you’re recruiting the wrong people and too many of them. Either treat every applicant with the respect you expect them to show you and your company or stop recruiting until you have put a system in place that’s accurate and respectful. Having control over people’s careers isn’t a license to waste anyone’s time. Your company’s rudeness in hiring starts with you. (See “How HR optimizes rejection of millions of job applicants.”)

    Stop recruiting with a bucket. The job of recruiting is about identifying and enticing the right candidates for jobs at your company. It’s not about soliciting everyone who has an email address and then complaining your applicants are unqualified or unskilled. You can’t fish with a bucket.

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: Why you can’t win the keyword resume game

    You say you use the same services everyone else uses to recruit? Where’s the edge in that? Paying Indeed or LinkedIn or Monster.com so you can search for needles in their haystacks is not recruiting. It’s stupid. Soliciting too many people who are not good candidates means you’re not doing your job. If you don’t know how to recruit intelligently, get another job. (See “Reductionist Recruiting: A short history of why you can’t get hired.”)

    Stop demanding salary history from job applicants. It’s none of your business. It’s private information. Do you tell job applicants how much you make, or how much the manager that wants to hire them makes, or how much the last person in the job was paid? If you need to know what another employer paid someone in order to judge what your company should pay them, then you’re worthless in the hiring process. You don’t know how to judge value. HR is all about judging the value of workers. You don’t belong in HR. (See “Should I disclose my salary history?”)

    After you waste too many applicants’ time, your reputation — and your company’s — is sealed. With a rep like that, good luck trying to get hired yourself.

    Stop avoiding hiring decisions. In a market as competitive as today’s, if it takes you weeks to make a hiring decision after interviewing candidates then either you’re not managing human resources properly or you’re not managing the hiring managers in your company. Qualified job applicants deserve answers. Taking too long to make a choice means you have no skin in the game, and that makes you a dangerous business person. After you waste too many applicants’ time, your reputation — and your company’s — is sealed. With a rep like that, good luck trying to get hired yourself.

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: Employers, respect job applicants. Your company’s reputation depends on it

    Stop complaining there’s a talent or skills shortage. There’s not. With 19.5 million people unemployed, under-employed, and looking for work (even if they’re no longer counted as part of the workforce), there’s plenty of talent out there to fill the 5.6 million vacant jobs in America. (See “News Flash! HR causes talent shortage!”)

    “Human Resources Management” doesn’t mean waiting for perfect hires to come along. Ask your HR ancestors: They used to do training and development to improve the skills and talent of their hires — as a way of creating competitive value for their companies. If your idea of recruiting is to sit on your duff and wait for Mr. or Ms. Perfect to come along, then quit your job. If your idea of recruiting is to pay a headhunter $20,000 to fill an $80,000 job, then you are the talent shortage. Your company should fire you.

    The good HR professionals know who they are. The rest behave like they don’t care. Ask The Headhunter readers are giving you a wake-up call. Do your job, or get out.

    My challenge to HR professionals: If you aren’t managing the standard of conduct toward job applicants at your company, if you aren’t really recruiting, if you’re not creating a competitive edge for your company by developing and training your hires, then you should quit your own job. If you aren’t promoting high business standards within the HR profession, then there’s no reason for HR to exist. Your company can run amuck without you.


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

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

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

    The post Ask the Headhunter: 6 things that HR should stop doing right now appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Photo by Lance Cheung/USDA

    Photo by Lance Cheung/USDA

    Much has been written about the growing income inequality in the United States. But another kind of gap is also widening between us, and it’s at the dinner table.

    Overall, Americans are eating better. In the decade leading up to 2012, the number of people eating a poor diet fell from around 56 percent to under 46 percent.

    Much like our politics and our incomes, the way Americans eat is becoming more and more divided.
    But if you separate people out by income, it’s a different story. High-income Americans are eating better than ever — swapping fruit juice for whole fruits, replacing refined grains with whole grains, and eating tons of nuts — while the low-income group has improved much more modestly.

    In other words, much like our politics and our incomes, the way Americans eat is becoming more and more divided.

    Over the years, researchers have surveyed people to find out what they’re eating, asking them to report every little detail of the previous 24 to 48 hours’ worth of meals. From that, they’ve plotted various trends — sodium intake, amount of potatoes eaten, etc.

    To get a glimpse of the overall healthiness of people’s diets, scientists used a rating system from the American Heart Association. The AHA’s ideal diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and fish, while minimizing sugar, salt, processed meat, and saturated fat. People who meet less than two-fifths of these goals were classified as having a poor diet; those in the range up to 80 percent were classed as having an intermediate diet.

    At the highest echelon, the elusive “ideal” diet is achieved by less than 2 percent of the population — few enough that the researchers weren’t able to study it in detail.

    What they did find was that changes in diet are very much a class affair. Low-income people — those making less than around $30,000 for a family of four — still eat poorly. Just over 38 percent of low-income people eat an intermediate diet, versus 62 percent of high-income people (making more than around $69,000 for a family of four) who have an intermediate diet.

    Put differently, “almost twice as many people at low incomes have poor diets compared to people at the highest income level,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, professor of nutrition at Tufts University and the lead author of the study published in JAMA on Tuesday.

    And because in absolute numbers more people are poor now than a decade ago, that effect is even greater than it may at first seem.

    Various food groups reveal how the wealth gap in diet is widening. Infographic by Alex Hogan

    Various food groups reveal how the wealth gap in diet is widening. Infographic by Alex Hogan

    Here’s how some of the trends break down:

    1. On vegetables,no one has really improved. But there was already an income disparity back at the turn of the millennium, so low-income people are still eating a lot fewer vegetables than their high-income counterparts.
    2. High-income people are eating a lot more fruit, while those in the low-income group didn’t see a significant change. By 2012, high-income people were eating almost two more servings of fruit per week, replacing fruit juice (a less healthy option) with whole fruit.
    3. Everyone is eating more whole grains, but a wealth gap persists. Only high-income people are dropping their consumption of refined grains like white bread and corn flakes.
    4. Nuts and seeds, which includes things like peanut butter and raw almonds, are selling like gangbusters to high-income people, who are consuming twice as many servings as they did just a decade prior. The same isn’t true for low-income people.
    5. Everyone is drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and sports drinks, but high-income people are drinking a lot less than low-income people. The two are basically falling in lockstep.

    What could be driving this trend? Food cost is undoubtedly part of the reason, but it doesn’t fully explain it, Mozaffarian said. “There’s a perception that healthier foods cost more, and part of that is people think of Whole Foods and other places, but there are plenty of healthy foods in a grocery store that are relatively inexpensive. And certainly almost any food in a grocery store is less expensive than going and getting it pre-prepared.”

    Other, less tangible factors therefore also play a role. “There’s a time cost to buying foods and preparing them yourself. There’s a knowledge barrier,” Mozaffarian said.

    In addition, junk food and fast food are especially heavily marketed to low-income people. “Marketing has gotten better and more subtle and more insidious,” Mozaffarian said.

    Mozaffarian thinks that many policies could help close the diet gap, but would especially like to see reform of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly the Food Stamps program), to include incentives for eating healthy. Right now, people can buy any kinds of food with SNAP except hot foods or prepared foods. The low-income people monitored in the survey are all SNAP-eligible, so reform of that program would likely have a big effect.

    Other ways to improve the diet among the poor, Mozaffarian suggests, include taxes on junk food, healthy school lunch programs, making healthy food available at work sites, and regulatory limits on trans fats, added sugar, and sodium.

    “As the economy in general has worsened, people who are worse off have suffered the most and we see that with food too,” he said.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on June 21, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Are Americans eating better? Income inequality still has a seat at the dinner table appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Nancy Trinidad, who is 32 weeks pregnant, listens to the explanation of a doctor about how to prevent Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses at a public hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alvin Baez - RTX25CEW

    Nancy Trinidad, 32 weeks pregnant, listens to a doctor’s explanation of how to prevent Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses at a public hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 3, 2016. Photo by REUTERS/Alvin Baez

    WASHINGTON — Researchers are beginning a study of up to 10,000 pregnant women in Puerto Rico, Brazil and other Zika-hit parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, to better understand the virus’ threat.

    The U.S. National Institutes of Health announced the study Tuesday, saying researchers will enroll participants starting in the first trimester and compare the birth outcomes of those who become infected with Zika and those who don’t.

    Zika, spread mainly by mosquitoes, causes only mild symptoms in most people. But during pregnancy, it can cause fetal death and severe birth defects.

    The Zika in Infants and Pregnancy study will track a variety of birth defects, how risk may vary by trimester — and if there are additional risk factors, such as prior infection with the also-common dengue virus.

    The post NIH launches massive study of pregnant women in Zika-hit regions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    An assortment of Colt and Glock semi-automatic handguns are on display at the Nations Gunshow on November 21, 2009 in Chantilly, Virginia. Vendors and collectors of current and vintage arms and accessories have gathered to buy sell and trade during the three day event. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

    An assortment of Colt and Glock semi-automatic handguns on display at the Nations Gunshow in Chantilly, Virginia. Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

    For more than two years, polling has shown a consistent trend: American voters overwhelmingly want increased, moderate, gun restrictions like expanded background checks. (This is true if you look at Gallup, at Pew, at Reuters/Ipsos, or CBS News.) And those surveys show 80 percent or more of Republicans want to increase background checks.

    Yet Congress has gone the opposite direction. In 2013, following the Newtown shooting, the Manchin-Toomey proposal to require background checks for gun shows and private sales had the support of 55 senators, five short of the 60 it needed. Yesterday a similar proposal from Connecticut’s Chris Murphy received just 44 votes, largely due to the Republican takeover of the chamber.

    Why the disconnect? The National Rifle Association has strongly argued that increased government restriction raises the threat from government itself. But there is more at play. Gun ownership itself has changed.

    A smaller proportion of Americans own guns now than in the 1970s, from 49 percent then to 37 percent now, says Gallup. But those who do have firearms have many more than in the past, averaging eight weapons a piece. And in just the last 17 years, the main reason given for owning a gun has shifted from hunting (1999) to protection (now).

    Then there is the fear factor. Specifically, a fear that government will block lawful Americans from gun ownership, which is why Republicans have opposed most gun purchase bans for those on the no-fly list. All of this creates another sort of political paradox: Republicans, generally known for being hawkish on terrorism, are erring on the side of more liberty and potentially less security.

    While four gun control measures failed in the Senate on Monday, watch for a possible vote on a no-fly gun compromise from Maine Sen. Susan Collins this week.

    The post Polls show voters want increased gun restrictions, so why the political disconnect? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Katy Yeager Gooding holds her baby Kennedy Gooding at her grandparents' home in Barboursville, West Virginia, October 18, 2015. Picture taken October 18, 2015. To match Special Report BABY-OPIOIDS/ REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX1XMYV (related words: baby, mother, paid leave, maternity leave, family leave, time off, children)

    A new calculator from the left-leaning Center for American Progress allows expecting parents to see how much it would cost to leave the labor force to take care of a child. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Two out of every three American children under the age of 5 whose parents both live together need child care because both parents work. What’s the average cost for two kids — an infant and a 4-year-old — in a child care center? $18,000 a year… almost 30 percent of families’ net income, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    For some parents, it seems to make sense to leave the workforce for a few years to fill that gap. But economically, what is the cost?

    The average cost for two kids — an infant and a 4-year-old — in a child care center? $18,000 a year.

    Three years ago, economist Mike Madowitz of the left-leaning Center for American Progress searched for that answer. He and his wife had decided that they were going to have a child, and economist that he is, it seemed like an obvious question. But he couldn’t find any economic literature or an existing tool to determine the overall costs. And two years later, when the couple decided to have another kid, still zilch.

    Today, Madowitz’s employer released a child care calculator meant to answer that question.

    READ MORE: Almost every country in the world offers more generous maternity leave than the U.S.

    It’s usually assumed that the loss from leaving the workforce is your current salary multiplied by the number of years you take off. So, say, a salary of $50,000 times three years for a total of $150,000. But this assessment doesn’t include potential wage growth or lost retirement savings and benefits over time.

    A 26-year-old woman who’s making $50,000 when she takes three years off of work to attend to a child would leave not just $150,000 in lost wages on the table, but an additional $200,000 in lost wage growth — the cumulative effect of time off on future earnings — and some $165,000 in lost retirement assets and benefits. (The $165,000 includes missed 401K contributions and their assumed growth as well as reduced Social Security benefits.) That’s a potential life income loss of $514,073 — assuming taking Social Security at age 65 and investing 5 percent of income in a 401K with an employer match. These factors can be adjusted on the calculator as well. (You can read more about the methodology for the calculator here.)

    cap

    This material was published by the Center for American Progress.

    Not only has the calculator answered Madowitz’s question — the couple decided that economically it made more sense for them to keep working — the tool has pushed forward a policy position he’s been talking about for years.

    “I’m a policy economist, and people are always coming to me with questions like, ‘How do we get people to earn higher wages and get more financial stability?’ And I always say child care, and people look at me funny.”

    The U.S. spends far less — about 1.2 percent of GDP — on family benefits such as child care than the OECD average of 2.6 percent.

    In October, the Center for American Progress proposed a “High-Quality Child Care Tax Credit,” which would help low-income and middle-class families afford child care.

    It’s a policy position also being pushed forward by the OECD, which last week released its report on the state of the U.S. economy. The report noted that the U.S. spends far less — about 1.2 percent of GDP — on family benefits such as child care than the OECD average of 2.6 percent. Women’s opportunities could improve further, it suggested, by requiring paid leave and expanding child care and preschool. Doing so would help more women stay in the workforce, which could close the gender gap in the labor force participation rate by 2040 and increase GDP per capita by $4,300.

    READ MORE: How Paid Parental Leave Helps You, Your Newborn and the Job Market

    As we often report in our monthly jobs report roundup, economists often blame our historically low labor force participation rate for slack in the market and stagnant wages.

    A temporary leave will cause wages to stagnate — and the earlier the leave, the greater the hit, said Madowitz. Wages typically increase in one’s 20s and 30s, eventually plateauing in one’s 40s before declining. Labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci recently brought to our attention a Federal Reserve study that showed, contrary to popular belief, that wages stop increasing at about the age of 45.

    “It’s a purely mathematical model, so it’s going to tell you that delaying to have kids is going to be cheaper,” said Madowitz, which he added, “is the opposite of how fertility works.”

    Simply put, many women can’t wait until their 40s or later when their wage growth has plateaued to have kids.

    It’s worth noting here the pay gap research of Michelle Budig, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Budig found that among parents who keep working, women were penalized for having a kid — 4 percent for each child they have — while men are rewarded with a pay bump of 6 percent.

    READ MORE: Hefty child care costs present catch-22 for working parents

    Still, the calculator shows that it’s more economical in lifetime costs for mothers (and fathers) to continue working in the labor force. And obviously, the economic answer may not be the right decision for everyone.

    “I don’t really expect everyone to think about child care the way that economists do,” said Madowitz. “We’re a little weird, and I’m OK with that.”

    But he added, “We’ll still see lots of parents who can’t afford to work even if they prefered to.” For many low-income households, quality child care is out of reach financially, even though not working is more costly in the long run.

    The post How much does it cost to leave the workforce to care for a child? A lot more than you think. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    An armed special police officer stands guard next to a security tape at the main entrance of the Venezuela's Central Bank building in Caracas, Venezuela June 20, 2016. An armed man opened fire inside Venezuela's central bank on Monday, wounded two people and was shot dead, sources at the institution said. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins - RTX2H9MJ

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    GWEN IFILL: The fall in world oil prices has likely hit no country as hard as it has Venezuela. Once flush with cash, the country is now in crisis, with a collapsing economy, skyrocketing crime and inflation rates, and major food shortages, all this as the government of President Nicolas Maduro tries to maintain control.

    For more on this situation, we turn to Nicholas Casey of The New York Times, who is reporting tonight from Caracas.

    Thank you for joining us.

    So, Nicholas, give me a sense about how long this collapse — it feels like a slow-motion collapse — how long has it been going on and what has caused it?

    NICHOLAS CASEY, The New York Times: It’s been going on for a couple of years now.

    And it’s been tied to the collapse in oil prices in Venezuela. Venezuela gets almost all of its revenue from oil. So, when these prices started to collapse, the first thing you saw was that some of the foods started to disappear, not in huge quantities, but enough that there were lines in front of stores.

    The electricity started to disappear. There’s even problems with water right now because the government doesn’t have the money that it needs. Now, what’s happened with the food is that there has been so much which has gone at this point, that people are starting to get hungry.

    And last week and the week before, we saw a wave of lootings of stores. People basically left these lines that they were gathered in and started to go directly into the stores, break down the doors, and take things that were inside.

    GWEN IFILL: You say that the lack — the collapse of the oil — of oil prices contributed to this. How much was that tied up with the collapse in faith of this current leadership, of President Maduro? How much of one thing creating the other?

    NICHOLAS CASEY: Well, it’s not just, as you point out, the collapse of the oil prices which has caused what’s happened here.

    There are other countries, like Mexico and Brazil, which have a lot of oil revenues themselves, and don’t have the same problems as Venezuela. Venezuela and Maduro came after years of what a lot of economists say was economic mismanagement by Hugo Chavez, who totally transformed the economy here.

    The government spent lots of money, lots of money, and didn’t save much for a time when the price of oil wouldn’t be as high as it was before. So, now Venezuela finds itself in the position where it needs money. It doesn’t produce a lot of food. It needs money to import food, and it doesn’t have anything right now.

    So, in the short term, it’s the price of oil which has got us here. But in the long term, it’s a lot of economic changes that took place in this country in the so-called Bolivarian Revolution that came from Hugo Chavez.

    GWEN IFILL: So, you are witnessing food riots; you are witnessing a lot of economic angst as well. Is there also hoarding going on, people who are just — businesses or individual merchants who are just keeping it to themselves?

    NICHOLAS CASEY: Well, that’s one thing that the government is blaming on what’s happening.

    Personally, as a reporter, I have not seen people have been able to hoard large amounts of food, because there’s not a lot of food to find. The idea of being able to hoard eggs or sugar or rice seems almost impossible, given the amounts of these things that are arriving.

    And even on an individual level, there’s a lot of people who would love to be able to have a stash for the event that they couldn’t get any more, but most people are just thinking of day to day, what they’re able to get.

    GWEN IFILL: Are there any efforts under way by international organizations, like Organization of American States, to try to intervene, to try to help?

    NICHOLAS CASEY: Well, yes, the OAS is trying to put pressure now on Venezuela.

    And it’s more political pressure right now. There is an effort under way to recall President Nicolas Maduro, largely because of all these economic problems which the country is having. The government seems to be trying to slow the process down, or at least fight it.

    And what’s happened now is that the Organization of American States is holding a special meeting this week to try to determine whether Venezuela is in violation of its democratic charter. Now, this could eventually result in Venezuela being kicked out of the OAS, which is kind of like a U.N. sort of body that is in the Western Hemisphere.

    This would be an embarrassment for Venezuela. But in terms of changing the situation with how much food is here, that doesn’t get Venezuelans very far. They’re not going to see suddenly their eggs and rice on the shelves because of the political pressure that’s going on against Venezuela from the international community.

    GWEN IFILL: You wrote in one of your stories that eggs used to be used for celebration, but now an egg is like gold.

    Nicholas Casey of The New York Times, thank you for your reporting from Caracas.

    NICHOLAS CASEY: Thanks for having me.

    The post Venezuelans face collapsing economy, starvation and crime appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2016 (SPIEF 2016) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 17, 2016.   REUTERS/Grigory Dukor/File Photo - RTX2H4NL

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    GWEN IFILL: Just last week, the International Association of Athletics Federations, also known as the IAAF, voted to ban Russia’s track and field team from competing at this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro because of widespread doping.

    Today, the International Olympic Committee agreed, but added one significant loophole.

    John Yang has that story.

    JOHN YANG: The IAAF decision was unprecedented in Olympic history. Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed it as unfair collective punishment.

    Today’s move by the IOC seems to send a contradictory signal. On the one hand, the IOC did uphold the ban. But it also said that Russia’s track and field athletes could participate if they pass follow-up drug tests administered in other countries.

    There is a lot of confused reaction to all of this.

    And to help us understand it all, Christine Brennan is back with us. She’s a sportswriter, columnist and commentator with USA Today and ABC News.

    Christine, this is very confusing. On the one hand, they uphold the ban, and they say that the IAAF was — they respected their right to impose the ban. But they also opened the door for athletes to compete. How does this work?

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN, USA Today: Oh, it’s going to be confusion.

    I have never seen — I have covered the Olympics, John, for 32 years. I have never seen anything like this. We’re six weeks out from the Rio opening ceremonies, and this could be a situation where we don’t know who is marching in under the Russian flag or the Olympic flag in terms of athletes, track and field athletes from Russia, until they march in, in the opening ceremony.

    This is a battle right now we’re seeing between the IOC and the International Track and Field Federation. We have never seen anything quite like this.

    JOHN YANG: Why is this going on? Why are these two organizations battling this out?

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Can I blame it on Vladimir Putin?

    He — Putin put an Olympics in the middle of nowhere, spent $51 billion — billion with a B — dollars to do that. And I think that we’re talking about an old boys’ network here, very old boys’ network, with the IOC. Think FIFA.

    And Putin did them a big favor to the tune of $51 billion, John. And there is no doubt Putin has a voice and has a say within the International Olympic Committee. If they had just said no Russian athletes at all, the IOC has said this, which is what the IAAF has basically said — the IAAF has gone against Putin.

    The International Olympic Committee has left the door open a crack, and that is all because Putin bailed them out two years ago.

    JOHN YANG: And we should point out that the IOC publicly says they’re doing this because the presumption of innocence of these athletes is being damaged.

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Right, but — right. We weren’t born yesterday in terms of the politics of international sport.

    I will say this. The idea of having clean athletes at the Olympics, the Russian system is rotten to the core. That is what we have seen over and over again. The World Anti-Doping Agency saying you cannot trust anyone who has gone through the doping system in Russia. And so the idea of having — finding clean athletes, you would almost need a time machine to go back a couple years and test them under, say, U.S. or Western European rules.

    And because we can’t trust the Russian system, and what they have been doing, their doping facilities, I don’t know how we’re going to — they’re going to get clean results for these athletes in six weeks. You will see someone, say, who ran the New York City Marathon, well, if they had a clean test there, OK, that’s one.

    But that’s certainly wouldn’t — I don’t think would give us any confidence that that athlete has been clean for the last couple of years.

    JOHN YANG: So, do we know how they’re going to try to prove their innocence and how — what the IOC has in mind when they say they have got to pass these follow-up tests?

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: I think the endgame here is that they are going to want to get some Russian athletes into the Olympics.

    And, again, I know this sounds like cloak and dagger and like some kind of Bond movie, but I really think we’re there with this, because of this incredible, unprecedented battle between these two powerful organizations.

    The fact that you have got the track and field athletes, you have also got Russian swimmers, John, and several others. There’s another report coming out in mid-July about the state-sponsored systemic doping among the Russian athletes. So, at that point, you might hear the cry to have the Russian athletes be completely kicked out of the Olympic Games.

    But that’s only two weeks before Rio. I think what we could see happening is many more Russian athletes than we even think about right now being allowed in, only because they’re going to run out of time to prove that they’re guilty.

    JOHN YANG: We have got less than a minute left, and we have got all sorts of issues surrounding the Rio Olympics.

    We’re less than six weeks away. You have the Zika virus. You have got questions about health and safety down there. And now you have got this. Is there a big cloud that’s going to be over these Games?

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: There could be unlike any other Olympics.

    Usually, there’s always something that you think about, terrorism in Sochi or terrorism in Athens, a home game for the terrorists at the Olympics in Athens in ’04, and then nothing bad happens.

    The question here is maybe will Rio be that first Olympic city to be consumed by the Olympic Games? Because, as you said, so many things on their plate. And then you throw in this Russian controversy. And I hope that’s not the case, but I think Rio might really be that first Olympic city to have real trouble hosting the Games.

    JOHN YANG: Two months away. We will see what happens.

    Christine Brennan, thanks so much for being with us.

    CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Thank you, John.

    The post Is Putin responsible for the IOC’s banned-athlete loophole? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Cole Porter

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    GWEN IFILL: Cole Porter left a legacy as one of the nation’s finest composers and songwriters. He was born in Indiana 125 years ago this month.

    To celebrate, Jeffrey Brown once again joined composer and musicologist Rob Kapilow at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.

    It’s the latest in our occasional series on what makes great music great.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Rob Kapilow, welcome back.

    ROB KAPILOW: So great to be here.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Cole Porter this time, OK, so you have picked one of his most famous songs, “You’re the Top!”

    ROB KAPILOW (singing): You’re the top. You’re the Coliseum.

    Who could forget that?

    JEFFREY BROWN: You’re the Coliseum, it shows he’s a man known for the sophistication of his language, right, the sort of high-Brown, but low-brow as well.

    ROB KAPILOW: Right.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And for the songs, because he did both.

    ROB KAPILOW: He did both, but the truth is, though he’s really famous for these incredibly witty, sophisticated lyrics with these erudite rhymes and imagery, it’s actually the way they combine with the music that makes it so unforgettable.

    And people often underestimate how crucial the music is to those famous lyrics.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, how does it work in this song?

    ROB KAPILOW: So, let’s take the most famous one, “You’re the Top!” the opening one.

    Now, it seems like who could possibly ruin that great lyric? I mean, it’s got an exclamation mark. “You’re the top!” But let me ruin it for you.

    OK. He could have written this.

    (singing): You’re the top.

    Now, I mean, the lyric stays the same. My version simply leapt one octave to the same notes. He leaps one note higher to this great dissonance, but then a full octave higher, this huge leap. It’s a leap up to the top.

    And in a way, that leap, all the energy of the leap and the dissonance already tells us what “You’re the Top!” is about before we have heard a single note from the voice.

    COLE PORTER, Musician (singing): You’re the top. You’re the Coliseum. You’re the top. You’re the Louvre museum.

    JEFFREY BROWN: This song, it’s not a story, right, because not much happens. It’s just him — over and over again, you’re the top, in different language. But you’re saying it’s also in different music.

    ROB KAPILOW: It’s the music that makes the language so witty, just that difference.

    It could have been after this leap, all even notes, you’re the top. But, instead of square on the beat, you’re the top, it’s syncopated, not just the top, you’re the top, but even you’re. You’re the top.

    And it’s that swingy rhythm that tells us what you’re the top feels like. So instead of a boring version, you’re the top, it’s the music that makes it — you’re the top. That’s what makes it so fantastic.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And he was one of these composers who did both music and lyrics.

    ROB KAPILOW: He did do both the music and lyrics, and that makes people tend to think that somehow it really matters which comes first.

    It’s the most frequently asked question of all songwriters. Which comes first, the music and the lyrics?

    JEFFREY BROWN: Of course.

    ROB KAPILOW: It makes no difference. In a great song…

    JEFFREY BROWN: No difference?

    ROB KAPILOW: No difference whatsoever.

    In a great song, once words and music combine, they become a new, completely interdependent element. Words cease to have a purely literary meaning, and music ceases to have a purely musical meaning. Though it’s true, these are enormously sophisticated lyrics, without the music, they would never work, and the last line of this first verse is a perfect example.

    I mean, it’s everything that people think of when they think of Cole Porter. You have got these three great images. So, what are you? You’re a Bendel bonnet. That means a bonnet from that upper-class women’s store, Bendel’s. You’re a Bendel bonnet and a Shakespeare sonnet.

    The first thing that makes it great is this syncopation. He goes, you’re up, Bendel bonnet. The same thing for Shakespeare sonnet.

    COLE PORTER (singing): You’re a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare’s sonnet. You’re Mickey Mouse.

    ROB KAPILOW: So what do we finish with? You’re Mickey Mouse, incredibly low-brow, popular in the ’30s, introduced in 1928.

    And it’s that combination of the syncopation and the music underneath that makes these witty, sophisticated lyrics unforgettable.

    (singing): You’re a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare sonnet. You’re Mickey Mouse.

    And then the piano almost speaks to you.

    (singing): Yes, you’re Mickey Mouse.

    And we’re back for another round of great Porter.

    JEFFREY BROWN: This goes to what we often talk about, what makes a great song, right?

    ROB KAPILOW: Yes. What makes a great song is not the great words and it’s not the great music. It’s the combination of the two. Words mean nothing by themselves. Music means nothing by themselves. The two reinforce themselves and become a new unit that cannot be understood separately. And in Porter’s case, he wrote both and they are both great.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Cole Porter.

    Rob Kapilow, thanks.

    ROB KAPILOW: Thank you.

    The post Why Cole Porter’s melodies and lyrics produce musical magic appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, June 18, 2016. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec - RTX2GZ65

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    GWEN IFILL: The summertime phase of the presidential campaign got underway with news of a striking fundraising gap between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Nominee: He’s written a lot of books about his business. They all seem to end at chapter 11.

    (LAUGHTER)

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    GWEN IFILL: Democrat Hillary Clinton returned to the swing state of Ohio today to take aim at Donald Trump’s business record and economic experience.

    HILLARY CLINTON: You might think that, because he has spent his life as a businessman, he’d be better prepared to handle the economy. Well, it turns out he’s dangerous there too. Just like he shouldn’t have his finger on the button, he shouldn’t have his hands on our economy.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    GWEN IFILL: Recent polls show Clinton leading Trump nationally, but the divide is even bigger when it comes to money, raised and spent. May fund-raising reports released yesterday tell the tale.

    Clinton ended the month with $42 million in cash on hand. By contrast, the Trump campaign reported it has $1.3 million. That’s less than primary candidates Ted Cruz, at $6.8 million, and Ben Carson, at $1.7 million. They dropped out months ago.

    Even Democrat Bernie Sanders, who has not formally ended his campaign, still had $9.2 million at the end of last month. Trump said he is unconcerned about the gap and will raise more this month. He spoke by phone on this morning’s “Today Show.”

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Nominee: What I will do is just what I did in the primaries. I spent $55 million of own money to win the primaries, 55. Now, that’s a lot of money, I mean, by even any standard. I have a lot of cash, and I may do it again in the general election.

    GWEN IFILL: The Trump campaign put out its very first fundraising e-mail today with a pledge from the candidate to personally match contributions up to $2 million over the next 48 hours.

    On the campaign trail, it was business as usual. Trump met with evangelical leaders meeting in Manhattan. In video posted from the private session, he raised questions about Clinton’s Christianity, and he cautioned attendees that they should be careful how they decide who to pray for.

    DONALD TRUMP: We can’t again be, again, politically correct and say we pray for all of our leaders, because all of your leaders are selling Christianity down the tubes, selling the evangelicals down the tubes, and it’s a very, very — it’s a very, very bad thing that’s happening now.

    GWEN IFILL: Trump also said he would continue his criticism of Clinton with a major speech also in New York tomorrow.

    For more on the growing campaign divide on money and ideology as the outlines of the general election take shape, we turn to Matea Gold, who covers campaign finance for “The Washington Post,” and USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page.

    Matea, Donald Trump says he’s just being lean and mean. How much of that is even conceivable?

    MATEA GOLD, The Washington Post: The problem here is it’s not just Trump that he’s raising money for. It’s the Republican Party as a whole, and in fact the entire GOP down-ticket ballot that’s relying on his fundraising to put money into the coffers of the RNC to finance a get-out-the-vote operation.

    I think Trump’s reaction to the fundraising report and the backlash was very telling this morning. He threatened to actually just self-fund and leave the party on its own if GOP leaders didn’t rally around him and help him bring in the funds. And that’s caused an incredible amount of alarm among Republican strategists today.

    GWEN IFILL: And you have been covering campaign finance issues for a long — a while by now, Matea. How unprecedented is this, this gap?

    MATEA GOLD: Well, Trump’s campaign is simply unprecedented. And we have not had a major party nominee self-finance in this way.

    And up until the primaries, it was less of a question about how much cash he had on hand, because he was putting substantial sums into his campaign, at least in the forms of loans every month. That changed in May, when he only fronted his campaign an additional $2.2 million, raised $3.1 million. This is the month where he effectively clinched the Republican nomination.

    Those figures are very, very small for summer heading into the key summer months.

    GWEN IFILL: So when you clinch a nomination, the theory is that you unite the money and the money comes flowing it. But that doesn’t seem to have happened, at least not yet.

    SUSAN PAGE, USA Today: Well, it doesn’t come in unless you ask for it.

    And one problem is that Donald Trump has not done the kind of meticulous fundraising that every other presidential candidate has done when they clinch of nomination. In fact, he hasn’t done — this is part of a piece. He hasn’t done the other things that conventional candidates have done since clinching the nomination.

    People look at this — Republicans look at this and say seven weeks in which he hasn’t broadened his message. He hasn’t built up the staff in key states, and he hasn’t raised the money that he will need in the campaign that continues.

    GWEN IFILL: Explain to people why — what this money goes for, because you could understand someone saying, oh, she’s just fat and happy. She doesn’t need this money. She’s being greedy.

    Instead, there’s actual things you pay for with this money.

    SUSAN PAGE: Well, you pay for people, staffers who are going to walk around key states, identify your voters and turn them out on Election Day.

    You pay for TV ads. Hillary Clinton and her super PACs have now put on more than $23 million — more than $23 million worth of ads in eight battleground states, compared to zero spent on campaign ads by Donald Trump’s campaign. And that is setting an impression.

    These are mostly — there’s some positive ads. More of them are negative ads. They’re setting an impression of Donald Trump, and he is not responding to it. So, as the campaign goes on, that impression gets more and more set and it becomes harder and harder to change it if you wait.

    GWEN IFILL: Matea, let’s talk about Hillary Clinton’s $42 million. To the extent that he is not raising money, where is she raising money from?

    MATEA GOLD: Well, last night in New York, Secretary Clinton had three high-dollar fundraising events in conjunction with the Democratic Party.

    This is a strategy she has actually been pursuing since last fall, when she formed the earlier and largest joint fundraising committee a presidential campaign has ever done with the party. That has been a very successful strategy for her, helping bring in not only small donations to her campaign, but much-needed large donations into the DNC, which was suffering from a long debt they were holding.

    So the DNC, while it has not raised as much money as the RNC this cycle, it’s getting a big boost from Clinton’s campaign. That is something that Trump is just starting to try to chip away at with the Republican Party.

    GWEN IFILL: And it’s fair to say after — she raised more last night in three high-dollar events than he has on hand right now.

    MATEA GOLD: I would imagine so.

    And she has tapped into a very active small-dollar donor base. Really, after getting a scare from Senator Sanders, who managed to really finance almost all his entire campaign with small online donations, Clinton’s campaign really upped up their efforts in that area, have brought in substantial amount of money online through small donations.

    That’s something that has Republican strategists scratching their head, wonder why Trump has not tried to do the same with his supporters, who clearly have the kind of fervent support for the candidate that could translate into a lot of money.

    GWEN IFILL: Well, that support is predicated, in part, Susan, on the fact that he’s a millionaire and has a lot of money and throughout the primary talked about how he was paying his own way.

    But a lot of that paying his own way were loans. Right? So, we know — there are two things we discovered, which is, he lent himself some of that money, and the other part is that a lot of the money that was spent went to Trump’s own companies.

    SUSAN PAGE: That’s right, to his air — for the airplane, the Trump aircraft that he uses, toward the resorts that he owns, or his companies own, where he’s used them for news conferences and for rallies.

    So some of this money has gone back to him. Some of it, he’s loaned. He’s sent mixed messages on whether he’s willing to put a lot of money into a general election. And you see that…

    GWEN IFILL: Isn’t that part of his appeal, that I’m a rich guy and I’m not going to reach in your pocket?

    SUSAN PAGE: And I can’t be bought. I’m not going to…

    GWEN IFILL: And I can’t be bought.

    SUSAN PAGE: Yes. That’s right.

    Now, one thing that Republicans will say is that he hasn’t done things in the conventional way this far, and he’s gotten the nomination. It’s — I think it’s true that his core support remains behind him, and maybe if he appealed to them for small donations, maybe they would come through.

    But there is this sense of the clock ticking. We are just 20-some days away from the Republican Convention.

    GWEN IFILL: Matea, you talked about small dollars. What about the big dollars, the deep pockets of people like Charles Koch and the — who really helped Mitt Romney and have helped previous party nominees?

    MATEA GOLD: Well, so it’s a really mixed picture.

    The Koch network, which is a very powerful organization which really runs its own sort of shadow political party, it’s completely focused on competitive Senate races right now and is staying out of the presidential race. There are some longtime veteran party fundraisers who had signed on and lent their name to the Trump fundraising effort with the RNC.

    However, I have been told that a lot of those people are sort of signed on in name only, and there are sort of limited amounts of impact that they’re able to have trying to get people signed up to bundle checks from their friends and family. So I think it’s really a mixed picture right now.

    GWEN IFILL: So, you’re waiting to see what happens with the next campaign finance reports in June. That’s what he said today.

    SUSAN PAGE: That’s right.

    And let’s see what happens in the polls, too, because one of the surprising things is, as terrible a time as Donald Trump has had the last couple of weeks, he has not — Hillary Clinton has only a small lead nationwide. And you had Quinnipiac polls coming out today that showed it basically tied up in Pennsylvania and Ohio, two key states.

    And this gives Republicans some hope that with the shakeup in the Trump organization, the departure of Corey Lewandowski as the campaign manager, maybe Trump is ready to make some of the changes that Republicans really believe he has to make if this is going to be a competitive race.

    GWEN IFILL: Susan Page of USA Today, and Matea Gold of The Washington Post, thank you both.

    MATEA GOLD: Thank you.

    The post Trump vows to overcome $40 million fundraising gap with Clinton by matching contributions appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Science class in Wyoming

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    GWEN IFILL: But, first: For years, Common Core academic standards for math and English have been the subject of battles all over the country.

    But there’s also a move afoot to set new standards for science as well, and a number of states are starting to adopt them voluntarily.

    Special correspondent John Tulenko of Education Week reports.

    JOHN TULENKO: It takes just 10 minutes to cross through Gillette, Wyoming. This small city sits in the northeast corner of the state, surrounded by hundreds of miles of prairie.

    But schools here in Campbell County are on the edge of something big, the next generation science standards.

    CHRISTY MATHES, Sage Valley Junior High School: You are going to build a strand of DNA, and you are going to decode it and figure out what that DNA actually says.

    JOHN TULENKO: For Christy Mathes at Sage Valley Junior High School, the new standards are about learning to think like a scientist.

    CHRISTY MATHES: There’s a lot of really good stuff in them. Every standard is a performance task. It’s not, the child needs to memorize these things. It’s the student needs to be able to do some pretty intense stuff. We are analyzing, we are critiquing, we are creating, we are actually doing the science.

    JOHN TULENKO: Take today’s lesson on genes. Mathes had her students pick fictional character cards with the name, height, hair and eye color of each character.

    CHRISTY MATHES: This is a secret. Just you and your group know.

    JOHN TULENKO: In teams, they built a genetic model of their character’s traits and then the groups traded models.

    CHRISTY MATHES: And then they’re going to figure out who you had based on what you code for.

    JOHN TULENKO: OK, so orange, red, red represents what?

    STUDENT: She has blue eyes.

    JOHN TULENKO: Blue eyes.

    What did you grasp about genetics from doing this exercise today?

    STUDENT: That there are so different many parts of genetics that go into so many different things. Something as small as like the size of a gene, it’s really, really small. It can change drastically how your life turns out.

    JOHN TULENKO: Developed by the National Academy of Sciences and others, the next generation standards are more comprehensive than what teachers here had been using.

    MICHAEL MAHONEY, Sage Valley Junior High School: You might have had a teacher that liked a dinosaur unit, and they threw it out in the 2nd grade, and then the same unit get taught in the 3rd grade and in the 4th grade, and you’re like, well, I know a lot about dinosaurs.

    JOHN TULENKO: Before the new standards, middle school teachers like Mike Mahoney were left to fill the gaps.

    MICHAEL MAHONEY: I would always have to start at the — like nobody knew anything, at the very beginning: What is science? And it’s kind of tough to get into a lot of the different curriculum things that you want to teach when you have to spend so much time just on the basics.

    JOHN TULENKO: The new standards brought more structure, spelling out for the first time what should be taught, grade by grade, in elementary school.

    CHRISTY MATHES: Every 5th grader is going to have this experience. Every 4th grader is going to have this experience. Then those kids come to junior high and it’s not a catch-up game. You know, what did you miss? What did you get? What do I need to do? They are always building on what came before and what comes next.

    JOHN TULENKO: In Wyoming, Campbell County is leading the way with these standards, which the state has yet to adopt officially; 17 other states are already on board, accounting for an estimated 35 percent of public school students nationwide.

    David Evans heads the National Association of Science Teachers.

    DAVID EVANS, Executive Director, National Association of Science Teachers: I think that the most important reason for developing new standards is that we have actually learned a lot about the way children learn. And children learn science best by actually doing it.

    JOHN TULENKO: So far, there’s been little pushback. Unlike the Common Core, there aren’t yet state-level science tests to hold schools and teachers accountable, and the federal role has been different too.

    DAVID EVANS: The federal government and the Department of Education really hasn’t had anything to do with the next generation science standards. It’s really just that simple. There have not been strong incentives and there hasn’t been any arm-twisting.

    JOHN TULENKO: But these new standards still have a long way to go.

    DAVID EVANS: There’s an established line of data right now that documents the fact that we’re not spending very much time teaching science in elementary school.

    JOHN TULENKO: Nationwide, schools spend 143 minutes a day on math and reading, but only 20 minutes on science. And there’s another big concern.

    DAVID EVANS: The majority of elementary school teachers don’t feel comfortable teaching science. Most elementary school teachers don’t receive a lot of preparation in science itself or in science education.

    WOMAN: So how does the light travel?

    JOHN TULENKO: To help its teachers, Campbell County is using a federal grant worth just under a million dollars to develop new lessons for every grade.

    Jamie Howe teaches 4th grade.

    JAMIE HOWE, Paintbrush Elementary School: I have learned to step back and let their exploration take over. And, before, you know, you would always want to help them and guide them and tell them what the answer should be. So I have had to learn to step back and let them be in charge.

    STUDENT: We got it.

    JOHN TULENKO: That’s Gillette, a good-size city for Wyoming. But the rest of the state looks more like this, tons of open space and very few people. That means the schools out here are often very small, and they face a unique set of challenges in implementing next generation science standards.

    Wright Junior Senior High School, 40 miles south of Gillette, is a good example. It has some 200 students and only three science teachers.

    SARAH SEAMANDS, Wright Junior Senior High School: One guy teaches 7th and 8th grade. One guy teaches 9, 10. I teach 11 and 12.

    Have you guys converted Celsius to kelvins?

    JOHN TULENKO: Small schools like Sarah Seamands’ can’t support having specialists to teach just biology or physics. She has to do it all.

    How many subjects do you teach here?

    SARAH SEAMANDS: I teach four subjects. I teach anatomy, chemistry, environmental science, and physics.

    JOHN TULENKO: What’s that like for you?

    SARAH SEAMANDS: It’s challenging. Some weeks, I nail the chemistry and physics and maybe environmental science, and then, my anatomy class, I neglect them.

    So then I got to do really interesting things with anatomy, and then my chemistry class kind of falls off. At least, that’s how I feel.

    JOHN TULENKO: With the new standards, teachers like Seamands will have to change not in one subject, but four.

    SARAH SEAMANDS: They have just told us it’s coming, that it’s in — it’s on its way, and be prepared, because things are going to change.

    JOHN TULENKO: Ready or not, Wyoming is on the verge of adopting the new standards statewide, but with one big exception.

    This is coal country, and officials removed language that had emphasized the major role of human activities, such as fossil fuel combustion, when teaching students about the causes of global warming.

    DAVID EVANS: Changing the standards to prevent teachers from teaching what is clearly scientifically accepted documented information is unfortunate.

    But the practices of science and the way that science is done and teaching students to be able to go out and ask their own questions, collect the evidence, and know how to engage in a scientific argument is very encouraging.

    JOHN TULENKO: Today, Wyoming has put its modified standards out for public review. They could make it to the governor’s desk for approval by late fall.

    In Campbell County, Wyoming, I’m John Tulenko of Education Week, reporting for the “PBS NewsHour.”

    The post In elementary education, ‘doing science’ rather than just memorizing it appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    smell

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    GWEN IFILL: Now an on-air peek at our new online series, “ScienceScope.”

    In the first episode, “NewsHour” science producer, Nsikan Akpan, delves into the world of smells, and how every sniff we make changes odor itself.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: Whoa. What’s that? It looks like a space alien puked.

    Can you guess what it is? That is an odor, or at least what an odor looks like. Odors are normally invisible, swirling around us. But I will tell you the secret behind why you can see this one.

    Hey there. My name is Nsikan Akpan, and you have landed upon the first episode of “ScienceScope.”

    Here, we will put science itself under a microscope, showing you how amazing discoveries are made and the people behind them.

    First up, these trippy-looking waves. This smell-scape is brought to you by high-powered lasers, a gigantic tank of water and this guy.

    JOHN CRIMALDI, University of Colorado at Boulder: You can learn more about this problem from sitting and looking at something like this than just anything else.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: That’s John Crimaldi, an engineer and fluid mechanist at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

    His lab studies how smells move through space. Do they drift like clouds or curl like smoke, or do smells have another shape altogether? The answers will lay the foundation for a nationwide project that is studying how animals and humans use smells to map their surroundings.

    JOHN CRIMALDI: If we have situations where we want to detect, say, a location of a chemical weapon, or if we want to try and find hidden contraband, or if we want to find somebody that’s trapped under the snow in an avalanche, the tools we use in the 21st century to do this are animals.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: Or people.

    And that puts both at tremendous risk. Crimaldi and his colleagues want to outsource this risk to robots by teaching them how to smell. That sounds pretty wild, I know. But think about it. We have machines to replace our other senses, such as cameras with facial recognition or implants to restore our hearing, but we don’t have similar technology for smell.

    Step one is learning how air carries odor into our noses. Air isn’t static, as you might think. It’s turbulent, like a river.

    JOHN CRIMALDI: One of the ways of thinking about turbulence is, it’s a collection of rotating pieces of fluid that people often called eddies.

    And there’s bigger eddies. And inside those eddies are smaller eddies. But point is, is that flow is structured. It’s not — it has an element of randomness, but it has a high degree of structure.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: Smells are tiny chemical molecules that get swept around by turbulent air. But these odors can also travel underwater, where creatures like fish and hermit crabs can smell them, too.

    JOHN CRIMALDI: And it turns out that the physics of flows in air and flows in water are exactly the same.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: So, Crimaldi’s team measures these odors underwater. They start by pumping 5,000 gallons of water through a 50-foot-long tank. Next, they spread laser light into a sheet that slices through the water, and then finally comes the dye.

    JOHN CRIMALDI: And so what we’re doing is, we’re using a special kind of dye as a surrogate for the odor. And this dye has exactly the same types of properties that an odor would have if it were in this flow, but it has a special property that, if we shine a laser light on it, then it’s fluorescent.

    NSIKAN AKPAN: What they find is, odor moves like taffy. It’s constantly being pulled and stretched into thin filaments.

    If you have ever caught a whiff of a bakery when you walk down the street, you have picked up a filament. In some areas, odors get dragged away, leaving a blank space. This blank space is called intermittency. Small disturbances like a quick sniff are the tugs in the smelly tug of war.

    Here’s a demonstration built by Crimaldi’s team. A tube is standing in for an animal’s nostril. So, now breathe in. Now exhale. And you create an olfactory cyclone that changes want structure of the odor plume. So whenever you’re in a garden and you stop to smell the roses, just remember that every sniff you make is changing the aroma for someone else.

    I’m Nsikan Akpan, and this is “ScienceScope” for the “PBS NewsHour.”

    GWEN IFILL: Check our Web site in July for Nsikan’s next installment of “ScienceScope.”

    The post Smelling doesn’t just perceive a scent — it changes it appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Two wheelchairs are lined against a wall in the East Block for condemned inmates during a media tour of California's Death Row at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California December 29, 2015. Picture taken December 29, 2015. REUTERS/Stephen Lam - RTX20KMN

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    GWEN IFILL: Now to our series on Broken Justice.

    Tonight, we look at a part of the criminal justice system that tends to get less attention, prisoners with disabilities.

    Judy recorded this conversation yesterday.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: A new report breaks down public data to outline the scope of the issue.

    It says more than 750,000 people with disabilities are behind bars in the U.S., including more than half-a-million with cognitive impairments, at least 250,000 with mobility problems, and 140,000 who are blind or have vision loss.

    The report was issued by a nonprofit disability group known as RespectAbility, which also hopes to cast a spotlight on what happens to individuals after they leave prison.

    Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the president and CEO of this group, and she joins me now.

    Welcome to the program.

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI, RespectAbility: Thank you for having me.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why was this important for you to focus on?

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI: Well, this was a great injustice, because what you predominantly see are individuals of color, people who are African-Americans, Hispanic, new immigrants, whose disabilities were never appropriately diagnosed or addressed.

    I myself am somebody with a disability. And so I know it can be harder to get ahead, but if you are doubly disadvantaged, if you have multiple minority status, the school-to-prison pipeline is almost a direct ticket.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I know I was just looking at some census data this afternoon. People with disabilities make up something like 19, 20 percent of population overall.

    But your report finds they are over 30 percent of people behind bars in this country. How did that happen?

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI: It really happens when young people who have dyslexia or executive function disorder don’t get the diagnosis, don’t get the accommodations that they need and they deserve in school.

    They wind up getting in trouble, getting suspended, dropping out of school. They’re not graduating high school and they’re getting in trouble very early. So you can really see the problem only — already almost predict the outcome when somebody is in the third grade, if these issues are not addressed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is one of your arguments that they were wrongly convicted?

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI: In some cases, yes, because, in some cases, what has happened is they have an intellectual disability that they don’t understand the charges that are against them, and they have not gotten the legal — the legal support that they need.

    And, in some cases, they’re very, very smart, and they might be deaf. There’s all kinds of situation where individuals who are hearing-impaired are not given the right language supports with ASL, American Sign Language, so they can defend themselves.

    So, we have real injustice for people who are in jail, and there are people who committed crimes because their path to success wasn’t in place.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: To what extent are our jails, our city jails, county jails, and state and federal prisons equipped to deal with these issues?

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI: They are not even remotely equipped to deal. And most of it is not equipment. It’s actually training. It’s awareness.

    For example, somebody who lived in a house with lead paint poisoning, somebody like Freddie Gray, who is a case we’re all familiar with, he didn’t have the ability to follow multistep instructions.

    And so, in school, people thought he had behavior differences, when it was really learning differences. And so he was suspended, and then he didn’t complete school, and then he was in and out of the correction system.

    And then when somebody like that goes into incarceration, again, lots of complicated instructions, and before you know it, they’re in solitary confinement.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: To what extent are either legislators, are federal — are the Congress looking at this issue, addressing it? You and I were just speaking about efforts right now to look at prison reform. But you were saying disabilities are not a part of that.

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI: Unfortunately, the data just has not been known.

    It’s sort of like the housing crisis, where all the data was sitting there hidden in plain sight, but nobody was looking at it. It’s really this explosive bomb of information that no one was looking at.

    So the new legislation that is being proposed does not address any of these issues at all. By the way, I do support these prison reforms. There are people who really shouldn’t be in the prison system because of their long sentences for nonviolent offenses.

    But you have got to have a pathway to get a job, because the way things are now, these individuals who leave incarceration, they’re not literate, and they wind up back in prison.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And it is — as we said a moment, it is part of the focus of this report, what these individuals with disabilities face once, if and when they are released.

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI: Right.

    What you see is that three-quarters of individuals who are released from incarceration — and, by the way, that’s 600,000 people every single year — within five years, three-quarters of them are back in jail. The system is broken, and it absolutely must be fixed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How — Jennifer Mizrahi, how do you — how do you even begin to get your arms around this? What are some steps that you argue need to be taken immediately and in the near term?

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI: Well, in terms of thinking about when people reenter the community, you need to be ready to have scaffolding for success, so that people can get a job, so that they can get their medication.

    People with significant mental health differences who need medication to keep from having psychotic episodes leave incarceration with no health care, and therefore no medicine, and then it’s not surprising that they’re doing something that’s putting them back in jail.

    So there’s basic things on the exit. There’s things you need to do for accommodations while they’re incarcerated, especially around literacy and training, to help them build those skills. And then there is to ensure that the prison pipeline doesn’t continue, starting really very much with early intervention, particularly in minority communities, to make sure they’re getting the tools that they need to succeed.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: How should people think — I know there’s been a lot of, of course, publicity about crimes of all sort that get attention in the news media all the time. Public — people read about it and they hear about it.

    How do they understand and weigh the difference between a disability that is causing someone to do something to commit a crime, and one that where there’s will involved and a disability, and it’s something for which one has to serve time, must be held accountable?

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI: Well, a crime clearly is something that harms another person. And so if you’re harming people, then there has to be something to be done.

    Now, in many cases, you can go to a mental health treatment program or an addiction program or a work program. The alternative sentencing is really important, because America has only 5 percent of the world’s population, but we have 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated prisoners.

    It’s incredible; 2.2 million Americans are currently incarcerated.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, with the group RespectAbility, we thank you very much for talking to us.

    JENNIFER LASZLO MIZRAHI: Thank you very much for your focus on these issues.

    The post Prisoners with disabilities lack ‘scaffolding for success’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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