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- 08/02/16--15:40: _What Miami-Dade Cou...
- 08/02/16--15:50: _News Wrap: Obama re...
- 08/02/16--15:55: _Obama: Donald Trump...
- 08/03/16--06:00: _Is killing a police...
- 08/03/16--06:34: _How much does a mas...
- 08/09/16--14:01: _What to watch tonig...
- 08/09/16--15:09: _AP fact check: Trum...
- 08/09/16--15:15: _The man who mows gr...
- 08/09/16--15:20: _Bringing new life t...
- 08/09/16--15:25: _What one assistant ...
- 08/09/16--15:30: _Erdogan visits Russ...
- 08/09/16--15:35: _Giving adults with ...
- 08/09/16--15:40: _Why Republican Sen....
- 08/09/16--15:45: _News Wrap: Firefigh...
- 08/09/16--15:50: _GOP defections grow...
- 08/10/16--04:49: _Report offers detai...
- 08/10/16--04:55: _House Speaker Paul ...
- 08/10/16--06:37: _What happens to dev...
- 08/10/16--07:29: _WATCH LIVE: Blister...
- 08/10/16--13:16: _Ballot access for L...
- 08/02/16--15:40: What Miami-Dade County is doing about Zika
- 08/02/16--15:50: News Wrap: Obama renews case for TPP; more DNC resignations
- 08/02/16--15:55: Obama: Donald Trump “is unfit to serve as president”
- 08/03/16--06:00: Is killing a police officer a hate crime?
- 08/03/16--06:34: How much does a mass shooting cost the health care system?
- 08/09/16--15:09: AP fact check: Trump wrongly says nation is short of coal
- 08/09/16--15:15: The man who mows grass masterpieces
- 08/09/16--15:35: Giving adults with autism the skills to build independent lives
- 08/09/16--15:40: Why Republican Sen. Susan Collins won’t be voting for Trump
- 08/09/16--15:45: News Wrap: Firefighters battle two California wildfires
- 08/09/16--15:50: GOP defections grow a day after Trump tries to reset campaign
- 08/10/16--04:49: Report offers details about Guantanamo detainees on way out
- 08/10/16--04:55: House Speaker Paul Ryan wins GOP nomination to run again
- 08/10/16--06:37: What happens to developmentally disabled as parents age, die?
- 08/10/16--13:16: Ballot access for Libertarian Party uncertain in swing state Ohio
GWEN IFILL: In Florida, workers went door to door today to check for mosquitoes, and to spray in neighborhoods, in the hope of clamping down on the Zika virus.
Officials say 15 people have become infected in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, and it’s believed these are the first mosquito-transmitted cases in the mainland U.S.
The CDC says the mosquitoes are proving harder to eradicate than expected.
For an on-the-ground look, I’m joined by Alina Hudak, the deputy mayor of Miami-Dade County.
Thank you for joining us.
We know now of 15 locally transmitted case of Zika infections. How many more are likely, and are you prepared to handle an increase?
ALINA HUDAK, Deputy Mayor, Miami-Dade County: Gwen, thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight to you and to your viewers.
I would like to clarify first and foremost that the confirmed cases in Miami-Dade County are 12. I want to reiterate and really just be very clear about our mosquito control program here in Miami-Dade County. We have a very strong and aggressive program that we have had in place since 1935. We have many years of a proven track record in managing and controlling disease.
We work together with our Department of Health, with the Department of Agriculture. We have had consultations with the CDC, and they are working very closely with us. So we feel very confident that this can be contained and it can be contained to a very small area.
I want the viewers to understand that we’re talking about one square mile in a community that is over 2,000 square miles, and I think that’s important for context and for people to understand exactly the area that we’re talking about.
GWEN IFILL: Why is it confined so far to this one area, Wynwood, which contains an art district and attracts people from outside of the neighborhood? Why there?
ALINA HUDAK: You know, I certainly would be speculating relative to that.
We have a high international presence there and a lot of travel in that community. It is unknown exactly how it is that the transmission takes place, and obviously there is a lot of focus on the mosquito, but there are many unknowns about this disease. And, you know, quite frankly, we have been able to isolate at this point these particular cases, in consultation with the Department of Health.
Our crews have been there every single day, and have been on the ground since day one. The moment that a suspected case is identified, our crews are there. They do inspection. They do treatment. And we have, again, a very aggressive program.
In addition to that, we have a very aggressive outreach program to our residents, and we’re communicating with our residents regularly about the part and the role that they play in being our partner with this. We want our…
GWEN IFILL: And pardon me. What are you asking them to do?
ALINA HUDAK: We’re asking our residents to look in their backyards, to drain any standing water. We’re asking our residents and our visitors to wear repellent.
I heard someone today in a meeting describe it as you leave your house in the morning in Miami and you put on sunscreen. Put on insect repellent and help us and be preventive and do your part in preventing the spread of this disease.
GWEN IFILL: For months now, there has been a discussion about this, that it was going to spread, that it was going to come to the U.S., that there were going to be transmissions that began and ended here. Why could this not have been avoided?
ALINA HUDAK: Well, you know, I would say to that we have disease in the world for millions of years, and that we have mosquitoes in the world for millions of years.
We — again, since February, when our governor declared a public health concern, an emergency, our program, you know, continues to do all of the things that we do on a regular basis, not only in responding to service requests from our community, but in working with the Department of Health and making sure that at any point that there was a suspicion of a case, that we were out in that particular area, in that region, that we do inspections and that we do treatment.
So, there has been and there continues to be a very aggressive mosquito control program…
ALINA HUDAK: … the mosquito.
GWEN IFILL: Pardon me again.
How do you encourage caution? Like you said, put on sunscreen and put on the repellent. How do you encourage that without inducing panic?
ALINA HUDAK: Well, we have several methods by which we do that.
Our mayor has blessed and authorized us to spend whatever we need to spend to be able to do the appropriate outreach. And he personally has been — he has hosted media briefings. We have hosted a variety of media opportunities to get the message out to the community. We have information on our Web site.
We have information on all of our municipalities’ Web sites. We have our code enforcement personnel in the community. We have done direct mailing to our community. We work very closely with our local media to be sure that that message is being given to the public, and we provide information to any civic organization, any organization that wants the information.
And we’re making sure that that message — and to everyone who is listening today, please put on your insect repellent if you’re living in Florida. I can tell you that I personally was in the — I was in the Wynwood area this afternoon. It is a beautiful community. And it is a place that I love to go to with my family. And I go often.
And I am planning to go. I have family visiting from Pennsylvania next week. And I intend to take them there for lunch or dinner.
GWEN IFILL: OK. Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak of Miami-Dade County, thank you very much.
ALINA HUDAK: Thank you.
GWEN IFILL: In the day’s other news: The president also made a renewed pitch for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal he’s pushing in the face of growing opposition. Both presidential candidates oppose it, but Mr. Obama warned against trying to pull back on trade, and away from globalization.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: To try to pull up a drawbridge on trade would only hurt us and hurt our workers. So, the answer is to make sure that globalization and trade is working for us, not against us. And TPP is designed to do precisely that.
GWEN IFILL: The president also played down Russia’s possible role in hacking the Democratic National Committee’s e-mails. He said it only adds to an already long list of differences.
JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s more fallout from those Democratic Party e-mails that showed staffers favoring Hillary Clinton and disparaging Bernie Sanders. The Associated Press reports the DNC’s chief executive has resigned, and two other staffers also quit today. Party chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned last week.
GWEN IFILL: In Syria, rebels accused government forces of a new chemical weapons attack today. They say a helicopter dropped barrels of toxic gas in Idlib province, near where a Russian helicopter was shot down Monday; 33 people were affected. Video posted on social media showed victims being treated with oxygen, but it’s unclear what kind of gas was used.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Thousands of mourners in Normandy, France, attended a funeral mass today for a murdered Catholic priest.
Father Jacques Hamel had his throat cut by Islamic State militants last week. Today, an archbishop led a solemn public ceremony inside the Rouen Cathedral to pay tribute to the cleric. He was later buried in a private service.
GWEN IFILL: The death toll has climbed past 90 across India, after a week of monsoon flooding. A million other people have been forced to flee. The flooding has caused heavy damage across three states in the northern and eastern parts of the country. It follows two straight years of widespread drought.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in the U.S., New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is stepping down. He led the nation’s largest force in the 1990s, and returned to the position in 2014. He said today he’s leaving at a time of extreme tensions between police and minorities, but said he’s confident in the department’s future.
WILLIAM BRATTON, Commissioner, New York City Police Department: The mistrust of the criminal justice system, particularly by our minority communities, the immigration issues that are so paramount at the moment, the anger directed at our Muslim community, we, I believe, in New York City at this time are better prepared than anyplace else in America.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Bratton has been hailed for cutting crime, but criticized over incidents of alleged excessive force by police. James O’Neill, currently the New York City department’s top chief, will take over as commissioner.
GWEN IFILL: And Wall Street slipped on lackluster auto sales and falling oil prices. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 90 points to close at 18313. The Nasdaq fell 46 points, and the S&P 500 gave up 13.
The post News Wrap: Obama renews case for TPP; more DNC resignations appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A presidential broadside today aimed at Donald Trump. President Obama took on the man who is running to succeed him in his strongest terms yet.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president. I said so last week, and he keeps on proving it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The rebuke came at a news conference with the visiting prime minister of Singapore. The president drew a sharp distinction between Donald Trump and the Republican nominees he had faced, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I never thought that they couldn’t do the job. And had they won, I would have been disappointed, but I would have said to all Americans, they are — this is our president and I know they are going to abide by certain norms and rules and common sense, will observe basic decency.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All of this followed Trump’s repeated criticisms of Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a U.S. army officer who died in Iraq.
Republican leaders condemned the remarks, but Mr. Obama said that’s not enough.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is daily and weekly where they are distancing themselves from statements he’s making. There has to be a point at which you say, this is not somebody I can support for president of the United States.
JUDY WOODRUFF: One New York Republican congressman, Richard Hanna, did just that today.
In a newspaper opinion columnist, he wrote: “Mr. Trump has attacked the parents of a slain U.S. soldier. Where do we draw the line? While I disagree with her on many issues, I will vote for Hillary Clinton.”
Trump was speaking in Northern Virginia as the president held his news conference, and he made no mention of the Obama criticism or the Khans. But it was in the air just the same.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: A man came up to me and he handed me his Purple Heart.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Purple Heart, given to those wounded or killed in action, came from a retired lieutenant colonel.
DONALD TRUMP: I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, Trump did answer the president in a statement, charging he and his former secretary of state betrayed American security and American workers.
And Trump declared — quote — “Hillary Clinton has proven herself unfit to serve in any government office.”
Trump supporters at the rally appeared unfazed by the latest blowup.
DALE NYLEC, Trump Supporter: The coverage is just insane. I think they make a big deal about that. First of all, he was speaking from his heart. And he wasn’t accusing them or saying anything.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Trump moves on to campaign in Florida tomorrow. Clinton will be in Colorado.
Also today, Donald Trump told The Washington Post he is not ready to endorse Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan for reelection. He also said he won’t support Republican Senators John McCain and Kelly Ayotte for new terms.
The post Obama: Donald Trump “is unfit to serve as president” appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Hoping to deter deadly attacks against police officers, some states want to expand hate-crime laws, which are traditionally confined to characteristics such as race and ethnicity, to cover people who work in law enforcement.
Nearly every state has a hate-crime statute that increases penalties for offenders motivated by hatred of a victim’s race, religion, sexuality or other personal characteristic. Louisiana in May became the first state to add police to the list when it passed “Blue Lives Matter” legislation. Now half a dozen additional states are considering similar changes to their hate-crime laws.
Supporters argue the measures, which are backed by police, are a deterrent and send a strong message to police officers that the community stands behind them. Forty-one officers died in the line of duty last year, according to the FBI, and the recent killings of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge have fueled calls for new measures to keep them safe. President Barack Obama, for example, is considering lifting the ban that blocks police departments from using military-grade equipment.
But critics say adding police to hate-crime statutes is unnecessary because there are already laws mandating longer sentences for those convicted of attacking police. Unlike hate-crime laws, those laws do not require prosecutors to prove the motive for an assault.
Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also worry that expanding hate-crime laws to cover police or other professions would dilute their original intent: ratcheting up the punishment for acts designed to intimidate whole communities.
States began passing hate-crime laws in the 1980s. At first, the laws covered race, religion and ethnicity. In recent years, they have been expanded to include characteristics such as sexual orientation, gender identity and disability status. Now Kentucky, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Texas are among the states considering adding police to the list.
“We need to address the polarization in this country,” said New Jersey Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, a Republican who sponsored legislation in his state. “Whether it’s from the color of one’s skin or the color of one’s uniform, no one should be targeted.”
Dancer’s legislation would increase penalties for a hate crime committed against an officer by bumping the crime up by one grade, say from a second- to a first-degree offense.
‘Precious Identity Categories’
The ADL, which has long supported hate-crime laws, argues that the statutes should be limited to “people’s most precious identity categories.”
Hate-crime laws “should remain limited to immutable characteristics, those qualities that can or should not be changed. Working in a profession is not a personal characteristic, and it is not immutable,” the group said in a statement.
Kate Miller with the ACLU of Kentucky said the group is opposed to legislation there because it could dilute the power of hate-crime statutes. Miller noted that some of the bills include not just police officers but EMTs and firefighters. She worries that an expansion would open the door to “other professions that would undermine the original intent of the law,” taking the focus away from characteristics central to one’s identity.
But proponents argue police are being targeted in the same way the current protected classes are.
Frederick Lawrence, a visiting professor at Yale Law School who specializes in hate-crime laws, said recent attacks on police could be considered hate crimes because they were “directed at individuals not because of who that person is, but because of what that person is.”
He said it makes sense to add police because, like other protected classes covered by hate-crime laws, they have a shared history; have long been treated with animosity; and when one member of the community is harmed, they grieve as a group.
Lawrence said such laws are also a way society states its values.
“When we punish certain things more than other things we recognize the greater harm that is caused,” he said. “When we don’t, we make a value-laden statement that it makes no difference.”
Indeed, many sponsors say one of their main goals is to send a message.
“It’s that extra layer of protection that reinforces morale by knowing the state of Louisiana is behind them,” said state Rep. Lance Harris, the Republican who sponsored the legislation there. The state’s hate-crime law adds up to $5,000 in fines or five years to someone’s sentence for a felony-level crime.
Massachusetts state Rep. Alan Silvia, a Democrat who co-sponsored a bill that would add police to the hate-crime law in his state, agreed.
“People who put their lives on the line every day deserve every protection they can get,” said Silvia, a retired police officer.
But the ADL notes that all 50 states already have laws in place that increase penalties for those who attack police.
Some see those statutes, which vary from state to state, as a better vehicle for increasing penalties for attacking police. In Massachusetts, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed increasing the state’s current penalty for assaulting an officer to a felony.
Michael Lieberman of the ADL said such statutes are a more appropriate way to protect police, because they make it easier to go after those who attack them.
Lieberman said prosecutors going after an attacker under a hate-crime statute would have to prove the intent — that the attacker went after an officer because of his profession. Under existing statutes dealing with violence against officers, prosecutors only have to prove that an attack against that officer took place.
“It’s an additional prosecutorial burden, so it really would be counterproductive,” he said of the hate-crime legislation.
Michael Bronski, a Harvard professor and co-author of “Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and Justice in American Culture and Politics,” questioned the deterrent effect of any hate-crime law, whether it covers an “immutable characteristic” or a profession. “What are we criminalizing when we already criminalize the activity?” Bronski said, pointing to the 1998 killing of Matthew Shepard, a gay man, in Wyoming. The state’s hate-crime law did not include sexual orientation, but the two men convicted are serving consecutive life sentences.
But Lieberman said hate-crime laws aren’t just there for big crimes like murder.
“One of the reasons we wrote hate-crime laws was because people were breaking windows in synagogues and spray-painting swastikas on the side,” he said, and those crimes don’t carry a large penalty on their own.
Mario Perez lives in Miami, but he was in Orlando for a housewarming party Saturday, June 11. After the party, the 34-year-old went to the Pulse nightclub for Latin night.
At 2 a.m., he heard gunshots. Loud. He knew it was real.
“And the minute he started shooting, I got hit from the side, I got grazed by a bullet,” Perez said. “My first instinct was to fall to the floor, that’s what you’re taught to do.”
He heard gunshot after gunshot after gunshot — too many to count. But then there was a brief break in the firing, and Perez ran out the back of the club. He hid inside the kitchen of a nearby 7-Eleven until police and paramedics showed up. He was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, and was at the emergency room from 3 a.m. until 8 a.m.
The gunshot wound on his side is purple and swollen, and he has nerve damage from the bullet fragment. He cut his elbow from glass on the floor of the nightclub and needed six stitches. Perez doesn’t know how much bills coming from specialists, X-rays and tests might cost him. But his bill from Orlando Regional Medical Center’s emergency department is $20,000.
“$20,000,” Perez said. “That’s the quote, that’s what they told me.”
Perez has no health insurance. He’s working for a temp agency right now and doesn’t have the money to be seen by a doctor for follow-up care in Miami.
So just how much will the Pulse nightclub shooting cost all of the victims? It’s a difficult, if not impossible question to answer right now. At last check, 56 people had been brought to the hospital, including three patients who spent two weeks in the intensive care unit, and one patient who is still in the hospital in critical condition.
Embry Howell, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C., studied the average cost of a gunshot victim in 2010. Using that benchmark, she estimated the hospital costs from the Pulse shooting will be about $1 million.
“And I would imagine that would be an underestimate,” Howell said.
Howell said many of the victims may be in the same boat as Mario Perez: uninsured.
“They’re young, primarily Latino and living in Florida,” she said, a state that has not expanded Medicaid to its population.
“My guess would be you have a high rate of uninsured,” she concluded.
Ted Miller, a researcher with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, has been studying the cost of firearm injuries for more than two decades. He used the 2011 shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and 18 others in Arizona to make what he calls a conservative estimate: $4 to $7 million in medical costs and mental health costs for victims and survivors of people who died.
That’s lifetime medical costs for the survivors, the costs of surgery and rehab — but it doesn’t count long-term costs for those who are severely injured.
“They said some time ago that there were six people in ICU who would have longtime, serious consequences,” Miller said. “And my guess is most of those folks will have traumatic brain injuries that will have continuing lifetime care.”
Miller also makes a broader estimate beyond just the medical costs. That includes the cost of the police response, the cost to employers — and the dollar value of those 49 lost lives.
“I estimate that the total cost of the Orlando shooting is around $385 to $390 million,” Miller said. “To put that in context, on that same day, the cost of other gunshot wounds in the U.S. was probably about $600 million. So about 1 1/2 times the cost of the Orlando incident. That tells you that there are a lot of people killed and injured by firearms every day in this country,” he said. And, he explains, “Suicide deaths account for the largest share of gun violence costs.”
Miller’s $385 million estimate doesn’t include the cost of mental health counseling for people who were in the club but not physically shot — and friends and family of those there. And then there’s the cost of fear: people being afraid to go out to a dance club, or maybe skipping a visit to the theme parks.
Orlando Regional received 44 of the shooting victims. A hospital spokeswoman said some patients have insurance coverage, some don’t. The hospital is going to look for payment sources from the community or the state, such as victim funds that are raising money across the country. But she said the hospital expects unreimbursed costs of more than $5 million.
Pulse shooting victim Mario Perez is calculating his personal costs. He’s worried he’s going to lose his job. He’s anxious knowing millions of dollars have been raised to help victims, but his bills are arriving now. He started his own GoFundMe campaign, but it’s only raised about $600.
“As long as it gets covered, I’m going to be fine,” Perez said. “If they don’t cover it, I’m stuck in a hole. I don’t know what I’m going to be able to do if they don’t assist me.”
The post How much does a mass shooting cost the health care system? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
In women’s gymnastics, the U.S. team is favored to win the gold medal Tuesday night at the Rio Olympics, looking to repeat their feat from four years ago in the London Games.
Returning Olympic champions Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman round out a U.S. team that includes newcomers Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and the most decorated American female gymnast ever, Simone Biles.
The team hopes to continue America’s winning streak on Day 4 of the Rio Olympics, after the team took gold at the last three world championships.
And it wasn’t an understatement to say the U.S. dominated the sport in Sunday’s qualifying rounds. The U.S. team qualified for the finals with 183.23 points, almost 10 points ahead of China, which came in second place.
Or, as the Associated Press put it: “[T]he margin between the U.S. and the Chinese on Sunday was greater than the margin between China and 12th-place Belgium.”
Biles, who’s poised to win five gold medals in Rio, has a signature move in her floor routine. Dubbed the “Biles,” it is a double lay-out flip with a half turn before ending with a blind landing. Watch it below:
Video by USA Gymnastics
“I’ve seen some of my guy friends try it — but they never land it. So they get really upset,” Biles told The New York Times.
Also, as the Times pointed out, the U.S. has a 93.9 percent chance of taking the team gold. China’s chances are set at 3.9 percent.
So, good luck, rest of the world. (Barring a disaster, of course.)
Here’s NBC’s full streaming schedule.
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH OUT FOR
Olympic champion Michael Phelps’ face has been making the rounds on the internet.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 9, 2016
South African swimmer Chad le Clos, who also features in the picture, bested Phelps in the men’s 200-meter butterfly in the 2012 London Games. Tonight is Phelps’ chance to reclaim the gold medal, which he won at the 2008 Beijing Games.
American swimmer Katie Ledecky earned her first gold medal of the Rio Games on Sunday, breaking her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle. Ledecky hopes to win another gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle tonight.
Earlier today, Japan pulled an upset against New Zealand, 14-12, in the men’s rugby sevens.
— robert kitson (@robkitson) August 9, 2016
British diver Tom Daley — and the rest of us — would like to know why one of the diving pools is green. “I just asked one of the organizers why the pool is green and he said: ‘I don’t know,'” BBC’s Bob Ballard said.
Ermmm…what happened?! pic.twitter.com/pdta7EpP2k
— Tom Daley (@TomDaley1994) August 9, 2016
The post What to watch tonight in Rio: Simone Biles and Team USA set sights on women’s gymnastics gold appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
DENVER — Asked Tuesday about the price of gasoline and how regulation may affect the price of electricity, Donald Trump stood up for American’s fossil fuel industry — coal in particular.
But the Republican nominee incorrectly blamed the coal industry’s woes solely on new federal regulations, leaving out the effects of cheap natural gas. And he warned those regulations will lead to an imminent spike in the cost of electricity. That’s not on the horizon, at least according to the Department of Energy.
A look at some of his claims and how they compare with the facts:
TRUMP: “We can’t fuel the plants, because our coal is just about being put out of business.”
THE FACTS: This is not true. The coal industry is the United States is unquestionably going through hard times. A string of major coal companies have filed for bankruptcy in recent years, including Arch Coal, Alpha Natural Resources and Peabody Energy. Layoffs and cutbacks have spread economic suffering through coal country in the Appalachians and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
But that hasn’t led to a shortage of electricity. Nor has a lack of coal kept the nation’s coal-fired power plants from running.
The Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration reported last month that U.S. coal stockpiles stood at a “very high” 195 million tons. There is so much coal available to burn, it said, because of the “mild winter experienced earlier in the year and also because coal continues to lose market share to natural gas in most regions of the country.”
TRUMP: “The federal government has made it so hard for natural gas producers, coal producers that they’re driving them out of business.”
THE FACTS: These are boom times for natural gas extraction, due to a drilling technology that Trump touts often on the campaign trail: hydraulic fracturing, which is better known as fracking.
In fact, advances in extraction driven by hydraulic fracturing has led so many energy companies to pull so much natural gas out of the ground that they have flooded the market, depressing the price of natural gas and making it harder for those companies to turn a profit. In that way, they’ve been a victim of their own success.
“They are suffering from low prices,” said Robert Godby, an energy economist at the University of Wyoming. “It is not an issue of regulation.”
In May 2016, the last month for which data is available from the Energy Information Administration, the use of natural gas to make electricity increased from the previous year in every part of the country, save the western U.S. There, warm spring temperatures led to snowmelt that boosted hydroelectric power generation.
This boom in natural gas has hammered the coal industry, which hit all-time peak in profits in 2008 — before wide-scale use of fracking made it cheaper to generate electricity using natural gas.
Many U.S. coal companies also spent big in the past decade, betting on increased demand in Asia. But they have been largely unable to sell as much as they need to overseas to recoup their investments, helping tip several into bankruptcy.
“I don’t think you can make much of a case that this is due to government regulation,” Godby said. “It’s due to market dynamics.”
Still, President Barack Obama’s administration has implemented a series of rules that aren’t making the coal industry’s life any easier. Obama last year required coal-fired plants to cut their carbon emissions and earlier this year placed a moratorium on sales of federal coal reserves. In 2011, the Obama administration required new emissions controls for coal-fired plants.
And some states and localities have tried to limit fracking; New York State’s Democratic governor banned it altogether last year.
Those are the kind of regulations Trump is complaining about. And some experts do say the coal regulations could create issues for the already-wounded industry in the future.
TRUMP: “Prices are going to go up. … Electric bills, I tell you what, if they’re not careful they’re going to go through the roof.”
THE FACTS: That’s certainly possible, but the Energy Department is predicting a more modest rise — as much as 3 percent next year. The reason? A slight decline in the projected use of natural gas for electricity generation and a slight increase in the projected use of coal.
In the meantime, the cost of electricity is falling — down about 2 percent over the past year, according to the Energy Information Administration — due largely to the cheapest price for natural gas prices in decades.
The post AP fact check: Trump wrongly says nation is short of coal appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
In our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.
GWEN IFILL: Tonight’s NewsHour Shares come from Roger Baker, an artist whose paintbrush is often a lawn mower.
His latest work, a giant portrait of Beethoven
ROGER BAKER, Artist: My name is Roger Baker. I’m an artist, a commercial artist.
So the field piece is an expression of my own personal interests. I start with something that I’m passionate and interested in, so it’s real. I’m not cutting for everybody else. I’m cutting myself.
And so the first one I did in 2000, we cut the Statue of Liberty. And after the Statue of Liberty, we did Elvis. And then we did Einstein with the Museum of Natural History in New York. And then I cut Hendrix and then Indian Larry.
I cut a piece in Orange County, New York. It was for the 75th anniversary of the Purple Heart. And this last piece I did, which was Beethoven, it was about a million square feet. It has shagbark hickory trees, which are loaded with squirrels. And they have kind of landed on Beethoven’s lapel.
I pick a field that’s going to be conducive to the piece. It has to be a healthy field, a hayfield. I do a scale drawing in my studio. I might do four or five different drawings. And then we come in and lay out our image, and then we cut with smaller mowers, like zero turns and just push mowers.
Once that’s established, we can come in and cut the gradations and get the different levels of grass to reflect light differently. So, when you are over top of the field from 2,000 feet, looking straight down on it, the areas that are cut real low will be lighter. The areas that are left tall will be darker. And we have gradations in between those.
On the ground, when you look at it, you can’t tell really anything. It just — it’s so huge. It just looks like a bad mowing job. But when you get up high, it gets very representational and becomes an image of Beethoven.
You’re mowing a lawn. And that’s all I’m doing. I’m mowing a lawn. And it brought people together. I think that’s really, really great and it’s very satisfying to see as an artist to have a piece of artwork that you do from the soul and the heart go out there, and it brings people together. And I think that’s really special. That’s really special to me.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A different kind of talent.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now a story of scientific history, human drama, and ethical controversies shaped around the idea of memory.
You can find Jeffrey Brown at our “NewsHour” Bookshelf.
JEFFREY BROWN: In recent decades, scientists have made great advances in understanding how and where the human brain makes and stores memories, a key part of forming our identities.
A man who unwittingly helped them do it, Henry Molaison, who underwent a lobotomy in 1953 intended to relieve his epileptic seizures. A large part of his hippocampus was removed.
LUKE DITTRICH, Author, “Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets”: As soon as he came out of the operating room, it became clear that he was no longer able to create new memories.
And so this gave scientists for the first time really a clear sense of how important these structures were to the creation of new memories. And that was sort of the first and in many ways most fundamental thing that he taught us about how memory works.
JEFFREY BROWN: In his new book, Luke Dittrich tells the story of the man known for decades as Patient H.M., considered the most important research subject in the history of brain science.
And there’s more. The lobotomy was performed by Dittrich’s grandfather, Dr. William Scoville, a prominent brain surgeon at a time when such procedures were done by the thousands. I spoke to Luke Dittrich at Washington’s Lincoln Theatre.
LUKE DITTRICH: I personally found it to be a very shocking story during the course of my reporting.
This came to be during an era when the lines between medical practice and medical research were fairly blurry, and, you know, people crossed some lines that they most likely shouldn’t have crossed.
JEFFREY BROWN: And this is the era of lobotomies.
LUKE DITTRICH: That’s correct.
And one of the things that my research led me deep into was the history of the lobotomy and of this whole field known as psychosurgeries that came out of desperate times, the mentally ill at the time, in the sort of 1930s and 1940s. There were no — there were no real good, effective treatments for a lot of the things that they suffered from, and the lobotomy rose up as a sort of — a quick fix.
But it had serious consequences.
JEFFREY BROWN: We live in an age now of neuroscience. Right?
It’s sort of everywhere.
LUKE DITTRICH: Yes.
JEFFREY BROWN: With a lot of new technology.
But this is a period not so long ago, in the 20th century, where very little was known about the brain.
LUKE DITTRICH: Two millennia ago, doctors really thought nothing of performing vivisections on live prisoners in order to understand anatomy.
Thankfully, our standards of medical ethics have evolved quite a bit. But I do think that readers will be shocked to see kind of how bad things were back in the middle of the 20th century.
JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a very personal story for you, because the doctor who performed the surgery on Patient H.M. was your grandfather.
LUKE DITTRICH: My grandfather was a neurosurgeon. He was, by all accounts, a brilliant neurosurgeon and a renowned one. He was — he founded and was the director for many years of the Department of Neurosurgery at Hartford Hospital. He was a Yale professor. He did a lot of good.
I mean, he saved a lot of lives. He also was one of the world’s most sort of zealous proponents of psychosurgery and one of the world’s most prolific lobotomists. And his sort of driving passion for the lobotomy and for psychosurgery grew in large part out of the fact that his own wife, my grandmother, was mentally ill.
She was institutionalized in one of the same asylums that he practiced in. And he was, you know, on a kind of — on a crusade, on a sort of — on a quest to develop a cure for his own wife’s madness.
One of the things that struck me in sort of looking at the history of psychosurgery is how often, you know, how often the lobotomized individuals were women. There are a number of possible answers for why that may be so, but I think perhaps the most compelling one is that a lot of the symptoms of the lobotomy, the passivity, tractability, these were symptoms that at the time were viewed as kind of, you know, ideal elements, according to men, of feminine traits, and that, in some senses, a lobotomized woman could be viewed as almost an ideal wife, which was one of the sort of horrifying things that I was kind of grappling with as I was looking at this story.
JEFFREY BROWN: And Henry himself, how much was he aware of his own role in scientific history?
LUKE DITTRICH: He certainly didn’t have a clear awareness of his own role.
He would be told many times that he was famous in a certain sense. As the studies on him went on, you know, certain things would stick. And so he may have by the end of his life had this, you know, vague sense of his importance, but he certainly didn’t have any sort of clear sense like we do of how deeply and fundamentally important he was.
JEFFREY BROWN: Part of this story goes on, right, past Henry’s life, because you raise some questions at the end about the extent of how much he was sort of controlled, how much research on him was controlled, how much we really know the story in the end.
LUKE DITTRICH: Some of the more fascinating chapters in Henry’s history really happened quite a few years after his death, just recently.
The story, in some sense, is still unfolding. The ethical questions surrounding Henry’s story to me begin in that operating room where my grandfather made that decision to operate. And I think that was a decision that deserves close scrutiny.
Afterwards, there are a number of other questions that, you know, follow throughout the six decades of experimentation that was done on him, and, you know, even after his death, what was done on him. And, you know, even after his death
JEFFREY BROWN: Including who owned his brain.
LUKE DITTRICH: Who owned his brain, exactly. A custody war basically broke out over the possession of Henry’s brain.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, well, we will continue that part of the story online.
And I will invite our watchers to go there later on.
For now, the book is “Patient H.M.”
Luke Dittrich, thank you so much.
LUKE DITTRICH: Thank you so much for having me.
The post Bringing new life to ‘Patient H.M.,’ the man who couldn’t make memories appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
GWEN IFILL: High school students and parents sometimes say principals and teachers don’t quite understand what it’s like to be a student these days. It turns out there’s an effort to change that. Some 1,300 principals recently took a day off from their usual role and instead followed one of their students for a day.
The approach came from two groups outside the traditional field of public education, the Design School at Stanford University, and IDEO, a design company based in Palo Alto, California.
Special correspondent John Tulenko of Education Week followed one principal through the first ever national Shadow a Student Day Challenge. It’s part of our weekly education series on Making the Grade.
KAREN RITTER, Assistant Principal, East Leyden High School: My name is Karen Ritter. I’m an assistant principal at East Leyden High School, which is just outside of Chicago.
And, today, I will be shadowing a student.
JOHN TULENKO: Why are you doing this?
KAREN RITTER: Just to get a sense of what students go through during the day.
I don’t really get to spend a lot of time with students. Usually, I’m in charge of things that the teachers are involved in. So, this includes teacher evaluations, teacher attendance, professional development. I would say 50 percent is in meetings.
JOHN TULENKO: Do you feel like you know what goes on here?
KAREN RITTER: I — I do, just because I do observe a lot of classrooms. Now, I’m looking at it more from the teacher’s perspective.
But now I want to know what it feels like through the lens of a student.
JOHN TULENKO: Her public high school serves some 1,700 students and is both racially and economically diverse.
Today, Karen is following a ninth-grader.
KAREN RITTER: Wait for me, Alan.
JOHN TULENKO: Alan Garcia.
KAREN RITTER: I first met him because he came to my office and said he wanted to talk about his schedule for next year. He’s in a lot of remedial classes, and he wanted to be changed out of those classes. So, I really want to know what makes him feel that way.
JOHN TULENKO: She hopes to find out, not just observing Alan’s classes, but by fully participating in his entire day, which started at 7:35, with a boost of physical education.
KAREN RITTER: This is the class I was most nervous about, because I don’t run.
JOHN TULENKO: Her stamina would be put to the test by what comes next, seven more 50-minute periods, starting with learning center for one-on-one help, followed by Alan’s usual two-hour double math class, then barely pausing for a bite, before jumping into the second half of the day, four back-to-back classes, literacy, computers, English and freshman seminar, until the 3:00 p.m. dismissal bell marks the finish line.
What is it like having Ms. Ritter follow you around?
ALAN GARCIA, Student, East Leyden high School: Having the assistant principal follow you everywhere, it’s — it feels weird.
JOHN TULENKO: And for Karen? We checked in with her about halfway through the day.
KAREN RITTER: I’m holding up.
KAREN RITTER: I definitely feel like my energy level has gone down since this morning. I had to write an essay in literacy, and I felt like I had a hard time concentrating and trying to focus. Yes, it’s a lot of sitting and a lot of thinking.
So, like algebra, algebra block, so it’s a double period. That was hard, because, especially, it’s over a couple different lunch periods. So, every time the bell rang, I wanted to get up and leave. But it’s like, oh, no, we have another period to go. More time to go.
JOHN TULENKO: Double period math is one of the remedial classes Alan wants to change.
ALAN GARCIA: It’s really boring. And it gets me exhausted at times, just sitting down for two hours. It gets me mad and sometimes puts me down, because I’m like, I could be like learning new stuff. Instead, I’m stuck with something I have been doing for like seven, sixth, eighth grade.
JOHN TULENKO: So, what do you want to be doing?
ALAN GARCIA: I would like to be taking, French, like, woods, metals, all those types of classes.
KAREN RITTER: Because Alan is in the classes that he is, he doesn’t have the opportunity for a lot of those electives. He was placed in certain classes because of his test scores, but I don’t know if he necessarily needs to be in that level.
He was getting things and teaching them to me.
WOMAN: Yes, you got it.
KAREN RITTER: Alan helped me.
KAREN RITTER: Yes.
I think Alan represents someone who is very representative of our school, middle-of-the-road kid who, when challenged, can reach high, very high expectations. And I think maybe keeping him at a certain level might hinder his opportunity to do that. So, I would like to see more opportunities given to students. And maybe we need to rethink the way that we place students, not based on test scores.
JOHN TULENKO: How else had her views changed?
To find out, we asked Karen to grade East Leyden High School on some key measures, both before and after her shadow day. Keep in mind, her view was limited to just Alan’s classes.
We began with this statement:
In this school, students learn actively, creating, questioning, discovering. Your grade yesterday was a B. Today?
KAREN RITTER: I would say a C-minus.
JOHN TULENKO: Her scores also went down for student engagement, from B to C-plus.
And relevance, how often teachers drew a clear connection between students’ work and the outside world, that dropped from C to D.
KAREN RITTER: So, we’re looking for creativity.
JOHN TULENKO: But her take on school climate and the expectations, both remained high.
KAREN RITTER: Yes, we have some work to do. We have some things that we can fix. But it’s a great place. I think we provide a safe environment for kids. We have plenty of resources for them.
I think I will do some more shadow experiences with an ELL student, with a special-ed student, with an AP-level student, because I think they do have different experiences here.
That was fun. Do we have to do it again?
The point is to know what the students are thinking and wanting, and start with them.
JOHN TULENKO: In Franklin Park, Illinois, I’m John Tulenko of Education Week, reporting for the “PBS NewsHour.”
PBS NewsHour education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The post What one assistant principal learned from shadowing a student for a day appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first: It’s been three weeks since a failed coup attempt rocked the nation of Turkey.
Since then, thousands have been arrested in a crackdown on suspected plotters, including military officers, educators and journalists.
Today, there was no mistaking the message from Turkey’s leader has changed, by his choice of where to travel.
A telling moment in St. Petersburg: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin welcomed Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey (through translator): The relations between Russia and Turkey entered into a really positive stage. I am sure that steps we both take will widen our cooperation.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through translator): Your visit today means that we all want at renewal of our dialogue and restoration of our relations in the interests of Russian and Turkish peoples.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s their first meeting since those relations were sent into a tailspin last November, when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border. Erdogan has since apologized, and, today, the two pledged to restart commercial deals.
They will also discuss their differences over Syria. Erdogan wants President Bashar al-Assad ousted, but Russian airpower has helped keep him in place. The visit also comes as the July coup attempt has triggered tensions between Turkey and the West.
PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN (through translator): Does the West support terrorism or not? Does the West side with democracy or the coup or terrorism?
JUDY WOODRUFF: Erdogan accuses a former ally, cleric Fethullah Gulen, of fomenting the coup. He lives in Pennsylvania, and Turkey wants the U.S. to extradite him immediately. Today, the Turkish justice minister said the U.S. is risking relations with a NATO ally by not handing Gulen over.
The Obama administration says the normal extradition process must play out.
ELIZABETH TRUDEAU, State Department Spokesperson: We expect all parties, media, civil society, the Turkish government, to be responsible.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, millions turned out in Istanbul on Sunday in a mass show of support for Erdogan. All the while, purges continue throughout the Turkish military and public sector. To date, more than 16,000 people have been arrested over the coup attempt. Thousands more, including judges and educators, have been sacked. Journalists have been detained and scores of news organizations shut down.
Joining me now for more on this, Kemal Kirisci, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. And Henri Barkey, he’s director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
And welcome to both of you.
Henri Barkey, to you first.
You were in Turkey for a conference the weekend the coup took place. You have been accused by the Turkish media of having played a role in fomenting the coup. Is there any truth to that?
HENRI BARKEY, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Of course not. I mean, it’s complete, complete imagination. They just want to accuse America, and they’re using us as a scapegoat.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And so they just made it up?
HENRI BARKEY: Oh, they made up — the stories that they made up are so incredible, that they’re not worth repeating on the air, but they involve fanciful American criminals who came from California to help us do things, to — complete, complete fiction.
We were on an island 45 minutes away from all the events and doing our job, which was at a conference.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Kemal Kirisci, who do you believe was behind the coup?
KEMAL KIRISCI, Brookings Institution: I very much empathize and agree with my colleague Henri Barkey, but I think one also has to understand that this nation is going through a major shock, a major trauma.
There was a coup attempt. It was a bloody coup attempt. Turkey has had previous experiences with coups. But none of them have been directed towards the public in the manner in which this has taken place. None of the previous coups attacked actually the Turkish Parliament.
And the people on their own steam at first, and then galvanized the president of Turkey, stood up against this coup, and feel that they have succeeded in protecting their democracy, as much as this democracy may have its problems.
But the country is also — has a longstanding tradition of, unfortunately, anti-Americanism, anti-Westernism and skepticism towards the West. And a number of issues have aligned one after the other that is fueling this perspective on the West.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me just stop you there, because I want to get to this point that Turkish government has — they have repeatedly said and suggested that the United States was behind the coup.
Henri Barkey, is there any evidence that ties the United States to what happened?
HENRI BARKEY: Look, there is absolutely no evidence. There is no reason for the United States to execute a coup. It’s not in the interests the United States.
Turkey and the United States have been working. Although they have disagreements, they were working very closely on Syria with the two countries. There was an agreement between President Obama and President Erdogan as to what to do in Syria.
The days of coups over. No administration in the United States in the 21st century is going the sanction a coup in Turkey. But this fallacy in Turkey that everything is done by the United States, it’s an easy way of blaming others for domestic issues.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Kemal Kirisci, how do you explain this? I mean, the Turkish government has said the U.S. is involved. What do you believe about that?
KEMAL KIRISCI: You know, there’s very many conflicting views that are coming out.
On the one hand, there is what you have just said, what Henri has said. But then the spokesman of the president, Ibrahim Kalin, keeps saying that that’s not the position of the Turkish government and presidency.
Yet, on the other hand, I have watched hours and hours of TV debate, and, in those debates, unfortunately, people of high military ranks, including a former chief of staff, is convinced that there is an American finger somewhere along the way, directly or indirectly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Henri Barkey, what are the consequences of that if this continues in Turkey?
HENRI BARKEY: Well, the consequences are serious. At the moment, the American government is trying to keep low and not to make too much of a fuss.
But, unfortunately, the longer this lasts, the more the Turkish officials directly or indirectly attack the United States, the more the American — Turkish public is going to become more anti-American.
And we have already seen the consequences. Fulbright has canceled now for next year its — its…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Scholar exchange.
HENRI BARKEY: Scholars going forward, because people are afraid that the Americans will be at risk.
And, therefore, it’s more than just Americans being at risk. It’s the fact that it would be very difficult for Turkish officials and American officials, especially at the military level, to work together in a harmonious way as they did before.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Kemal Kirisci, we’re hearing that officials in the Erdogan government are saying this. What about President Erdogan himself? Do you think he believes that the U.S. was involved?
KEMAL KIRISCI: If you listen to his rhetoric, I think you would say yes.
However, it’s very difficult to go into his mind. He can also be very pragmatic when he chooses to be. I think the point here is that there was a coup attempt and there are allegations, for some, quite convincing allegations, that individuals belonging to the Gulenist movement were involved in it.
As a consequence, an ally of the United States, a member of NATO’s military is in a mess. The country is in a state of turmoil. And from my perspective, I think these allegations need to be taken seriously, and maybe some cooperation put into place to investigate whether they are true or not, independently of the extradition issue that was made reference to.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You mean — you’re talking about extraditing the cleric, the Turkish cleric who is in Pennsylvania.
KEMAL KIRISCI: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. has said they don’t have the evidence to proceed with an extradition.
But just to be clear, what are you saying by an investigation? What are you saying needs to be done here?
KEMAL KIRISCI: For the average Turkish mind, it’s very difficult not — not to think that the United States wouldn’t have some access to intelligence information, when, for example,, the commander of the Incirlik base group, with whom the United States shares the base, was amongst the instigators of the coup and even attempted to seek asylum with U.S. military authorities there.
So, put yourself in the shoes of an average Turkish person, and maybe officials as well, and look at the United States, look at its resources, look at its intelligence networks. It becomes very difficult to convince them that somehow the United States was oblivious to what was coming up there.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me…
KEMAL KIRISCI: I am prepared personally to go along with it, but that’s the state of mind.
And I’m suggesting that the United States has a stake, the government has a stake to cooperate with their counterpart and look into whatever intelligence and information may be available through the networks that the U.S. has access.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Henri Barkey, is there a way to do that? Where do you see this going?
HENRI BARKEY: I actually think the only way this is going to end is if there’s a very forceful response from the United States that asks President Erdogan needs to squash these stories.
The only person in Turkey who can squash these stories is Mr. Erdogan. If he gets up and says, “I don’t believe the United States was involved, we have no evidence to that effect,” that will put most of the rumors aside.
But, for that, I think President Obama has to get involved. It’s not going to happen because some State Department spokesperson said…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, President Obama has said this absolutely, unequivocally didn’t happen, that there was no U.S. involvement. So, what more are you saying President Obama…
HENRI BARKEY: He said this in a press interview with President Nieto of Mexico.
He needs to address directly the Turkish press, maybe invite the Turkish press to the White House, and challenge also President Erdogan. He can’t let this go on like this. There won’t be an investigation. There cannot be an investigation.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You’re saying the administration hasn’t taken it seriously enough?
HENRI BARKEY: Right. Right.
So, they have taken it seriously, but they’re choosing to keep quiet. And that keeps the rumors going.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Henri Barkey, Kemal Kirisci, thanks to both of you.
KEMAL KIRISCI: Thank you.
The post Erdogan visits Russia after coup attempt stirs tensions with the West appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Tonight, we begin an occasional series about people living with autism and other spectrum disorders, A Place in the World.
While reporting the history of autism for their book, “In a Different Key: The Story of Autism,” co-authors John Donvan and Caren Zucker found a program in Phoenix, Arizona, that expands options for people living with autism.
This is the first of two reports.
JOHN DONVAN, Co-Author, “In a Different Key: The Story of Autism”: Why is it a big deal that Josh Kluger gets up every morning and makes his own breakfast and straightens up the place a little, and then remembers, belatedly to go back and grab his lunch before he heads off to work, which takes a quarter-mile hike, texting all the way, before he reaches the bus stop, and then a 45-minute trip with one transfer along the way?
And when I comes on board and Josh shows me how to swipe my ticket, why is that a big deal? Because, until last year, Josh had experienced none of this. No apartment. No paying job. No bus pass even. Actually, he’d never ridden a bus on his own before last year.
How old are you now?
JOSH KLUGER, Student, First Place: I’m 36.
JOHN DONVAN: You only really began being able to ride the bus when you were already over 30?
JOSH KLUGER: I think so, yes.
JOHN DONVAN: What did you have to learn?
JOSH KLUGER: I know learned how — streets.
JOHN DONVAN: And though Josh is not the chattiest person around, except perhaps when he’s texting, you can tell from his stride and from his air of confidence about where he’s heading that Josh really likes the life he has right now.
Is this ours?
JOSH KLUGER: Yes.
JOHN DONVAN: OK.
JOHN DONVAN: And that he’s going to keep going with it, autism or not.
JOHN DONVAN: With autism, it’s usually been the kids whose faces we see when the topic is discussed, children like these. We root for their success in school and on the playground, and we have come to recognize that even a little boy like this one, who may look disconnected, and whose autism keeps him from speaking many words, nevertheless can sing and therefore also has something to say.
Boy (singing): Never give up on wishes.
JOHN DONVAN: But the kids grow up inevitably, so that the boys whose photo you just saw, they have become these men.
We gathered them together to make a point. This one is now 19-year-old Dylan. And this little boy called Stuart, he is now 22.
Josh, you have met. He is 36. This kid, he is 21 now and named Ian. Craig, he’s a 26-year-old now. And Jake, he grew into a man also. He’s 22.
And the point is, adults don’t get nearly the attention and support the kids do, maybe because they’re not as cute or because people forget that autism is lifelong. But it is. And that fact is the driving idea behind a new pilot program called First Place Transition Academy, located in Phoenix, Arizona, in which these same young men are today the pioneers.
WOMAN: Are you going to mix it? Where would you find that?
MAN: In the store.
WOMAN: In the store?
JOHN DONVAN: There are nine of them in all, paired off together in a cluster of apartments in a complex where their neighbors are mostly retirees who have no autism connection.
They eat together and learn together, two years of specialized training designed to improve their odds of having, let’s call it, a successful adulthood, which means what?
IAN MCCOY, Student, First Place: What doughnuts would you like for that one?
JOHN DONVAN: Well, take Ian, who is now holding down a paying job arranged for by the program, showing that he can be good at customer service.
IAN MCCOY: I got the lemonade and morning buzz.
JOHN DONVAN: Social interactions can be enormously challenging for people on the spectrum. That’s part of the reason that unemployment among autistic adults hovers near 80 percent.
IAN MCCOY: Hello. How’s it going?
MAN: Pretty good, I guess.
JOHN DONVAN: Not long ago, that included Ian, who is an unfailing optimist.
Before you came here, where were you? Were you in high school?
IAN MCCOY: I was in my parents’ house for at least two years. I enrolled. Here I am now a year later. I am satisfied with my future.
JOHN DONVAN: What is your future? Do you know?
IAN MCCOY: It’s hard to predict right now.
JOHN DONVAN: Sure. Sure.
IAN MCCOY: It’s a brief idea. I would like to live in an apartment, pay my own rent, have my own car and have a career, in other words, because I’m — the part-time job is kind of tedious, but it’s my main focus for now.
JOHN DONVAN: Well, that’s all about learning how to do jobs, right?
IAN MCCOY: Absolutely, yes.
JOHN DONVAN: The other men go to other workplaces, a garden that raises produce for sales to restaurants.
IAN MCCOY: An animal shelter which happens to be a volunteer job, but that doesn’t matter. Knowing how to be professionally responsible and productive does, like being on time for work, dressing correctly for the situation, completing tasks assigned reliably.
These are learned skills that do not necessarily come easily to all members of the group because of their autism.
BRAD HERRON-VALENZUELA, Gateway Community College: So, on the worksheet, guys, you are putting a check mark for the items that you’re going to need to purchase in your first apartment.
JOHN DONVAN: And support staff literally imparts lessons on the logistics of adult life, like this session held in a lecture hall made available by Gateway Community College. It’s a class on how to navigate the options available in public transport, how to get from here to there, with quizzes.
MAN: Exact fare required.
MAN: Exact fare required.
JOHN DONVAN: When it comes to successful adulthood, it’s this sort of mundane-seeming know-how that can in fact be crucial.
How important is that to their success in this program?
BRAD HERRON-VALENZUELA: Yes, it’s critical. And it’s one of the skills that we target really early on. I mean, again, this is the thing that’s going to allow them to access employment. It’s going to allow them to access different social activities, different quality of life things.
JOHN DONVAN: So getting around is key to independence?
BRAD HERRON-VALENZUELA: Absolutely. It’s critical.
JOHN DONVAN: Which brings us back to Josh. That 45-minute commute of his landed us here.
So this is your place of work, huh?
JOSH KLUGER: Yes.
JOHN DONVAN: Wow.
Josh works for the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. He and another member of the group named Jake, they have been cycling through a variety of jobs here, some in the office upstairs, and now they’re getting their hands dirty with grounds maintenance.
Josh, you’re not a big baseball fan.
JOSH KLUGER: I’m not.
JOHN DONVAN: But you’re a work fan. It sounds like you really love this job.
JOSH KLUGER: In a way.
JOHN DONVAN: In a way. Oh.
JOHN DONVAN: OK. But he loves being a working man, even though his boss here, Marian Rhodes, says it has not always been smooth.
MARIAN RHODES, Executive, Arizona Diamondbacks: He had a thing with his badge, that he was losing his badge constantly. I said, where’s your badge? And he’s like, I left it here, whatever.
And I said — I had to explain to him, your badge is like the key to your home. That’s the key to our ballpark. So, if you lose it, someone has the key to access our building at any time. And I said, so what’s the answer here? We now have him drop the badge off in the morning and pick the badge up. And so he hasn’t — now he is always clocked in and clocked out.
JOHN DONVAN: But that’s what learning is about.
Are you willing to let these guys make mistakes more than you would other people?
MARIAN RHODES: Definitely.
JOHN DONVAN: Yes?
MARIAN RHODES: Definitely.
JOHN DONVAN: Why is that important?
MARIAN RHODES: Because you have to meet them where they are.
JOHN DONVAN: Josh’s mom has been astounded by the change she’s seen in the past 12 months.
BONNIE KLUGER, Mother of Josh Kluger: There are so many ways that he has changed and grown, that he’s going to school, he’s learning classes. He’s taking responsibilities for his homework. He’s taking responsibility for his budgeting.
JOHN DONVAN: This is all new?
BONNIE KLUGER: This is all new.
JOHN DONVAN: This is something he learned as a middle-aged man?
BONNIE KLUGER: As a middle-aged man.
JOHN DONVAN: Wow.
BONNIE KLUGER: The growth has been amazing. It’s really been amazing.
JOHN DONVAN: If Josh were not here, where would he be in life?
BONNIE KLUGER: At our house, doing probably the same thing, and not being very happy. And I don’t know what his future would have been.
JOHN DONVAN: And back at the apartment complex, you can see how these guys, some of whom had no friends to speak of before in their lives, are learning to help each other out.
They are, in short, a community. And while this pilot project has enrolled only men, who today make up roughly 80 percent of people recognized as autistic, the full program will grow to include women as well.
But now something needs to be said as that group shot we started with, and in particular about the man on the lower right. He was once that singing boy, and, in fact, he doesn’t live with the other men. He can’t, because his autism affects him differently from the others. But there is a place being built in Phoenix that will also have room for him.
That story in part two tomorrow.
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GWEN IFILL: Now, for more on the Republican defections and discontent surrounding the Trump candidacy, we turn to Maine Senator Susan Collins, who, as we noted earlier, announced today she will not vote for Donald Trump, her party’s nominee.
She spoke with me earlier today from Bangor, Maine.
Senator Collins, welcome.
You have declared Donald Trump today in your op-ed as unworthy to be your party’s nominee for president. Why didn’t you make that conclusion sooner?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-Maine): I kept hoping that Donald Trump, once he won the primary, would change. I hoped that we would see a new Donald Trump, one who put forth thoughtful policy positions, stopped denigrating people, and had a more positive vision for America.
Regrettably, I have concluded that there is not going to be a new Donald Trump, that he’s incapable of saying he’s sorry, of changing, of learning, of growing.
And it was that conclusion that has led me to believe that he lacks the temperament, the judgment, the knowledge, and the self-restraint to be our next president.
GWEN IFILL: The questions about his temperament were raised again today when he spoke in North Carolina and said that the only way — he suggested that the only way to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing judges that they disagreed with is that maybe the Second Amendment folks could handle it.
Does that suggest to you that he was — maybe you didn’t hear it because I know you have been traveling today, but does that kind of comment suggest to you a comment on his temperament or that he was joking or suggesting violence against his rival?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: I certainly don’t think he’s suggesting violence in any way.
But, again, it’s a very poor choice of words. And I think this speaks to a broader issue. And that is the politicization of the judicial nomination process, which both parties have been guilty of.
GWEN IFILL: Senator Collins, what does Donald Trump’s nomination as the standard-bearer for your party tell you about your party?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: I don’t think that Donald Trump represents the traditional Republican values and heritage of my party.
That’s one reason that I don’t support him. The Republican Party has always revered the individual. We led the way in abolishing slavery, for example, and we recognize the dignity and worth of every human being.
And it is clear that Donald Trump, by his derogatory comments, by his mocking of the most vulnerable people in our society, by his marginalization of ethnic and religious minorities, doesn’t reflect the traditional Republican values.
I want to see a Republican Party that is a big tent, inclusive party that welcomes all people to be Republicans and to contribute their ideas and support our position of providing opportunity to the American people. And I believe he goes in the opposite direction and deepens the divisions that are so pervasive in our society today.
GWEN IFILL: And you acknowledged in your piece today that ran in The Washington Post that he is connecting with some discontent in our country and perhaps that Bernie Sanders was as well, you wrote. So,
what is that? And who can speak to that in this election year?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: I see that disconnect very clearly in my own state of Maine, where there are people who have been affected by mill closures, some of which have been brought about by poorly negotiated trade agreements, and they do feel marginalized and left behind.
They have not been able to find new work, despite the fact that they did nothing wrong that caused them to lose their jobs. Both parties need to do a better job of reaching out to those individuals, to those hardworking families, and providing job training, matching people and giving them new skills for new jobs.
That is the one area where I think Donald Trump is striking a chord that really resonates and should resonate. Both parties need to do a better job of rejecting poorly negotiated trade agreements. And I would put the president’s TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, in that category.
We have lost thousands of manufacturing jobs just in the state of Maine alone, and that resonates with people, and understandably so.
GWEN IFILL: Would you support Hillary Clinton?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: I would not.
I did work well with Hillary when she was my colleague in the Senate, and I certainly don’t bear her any ill will. But when I listened carefully to her commencement speech, what I heard was a laundry list of very expensive new programs that our country simply cannot afford, and that would add to our already overwhelming $17 trillion debt.
I’m also disturbed by the mismatch in her answers to the questions about her e-mail server and what the FBI Director Comey says that the FBI’s investigation found.
GWEN IFILL: You said commencement speech, but I’m pretty sure you meant convention speech. I think that’s right.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: I’m sorry.
GWEN IFILL: Can I — have you ever met Donald Trump?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: I have only met him once. It was when he spoke to the Republican Caucus.
At that time, I suggested that he present a more positive agenda to the American people. And I used the example of supporting more funding for biomedical research, which has been a real priority among Republicans in both the House and the Senate.
GWEN IFILL: And would you suggest to any of you colleagues that they join you and oppose him, those who have endorsed him already especially?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: Each of my colleagues has to make his or her own decision. I wouldn’t presume to tell them what decision they should make.
I have been heartened by the number of e-mails that I have received and text messages from colleagues in the Senate on both sides of the aisle applauding my op-ed and supporting what I have done. Now, to be sure, there are those who disagree with me as well.
GWEN IFILL: OK.
Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, thank you very much for your time.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS: Thank you.
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GWEN IFILL: In the day’s other news: A major wildfire surged through California’s San Bernardino Mountains, threatening up to 5,000 homes; 900 firefighters are now battling the blaze that sparked to life on Sunday. So far, it’s only 6 percent contained, and officials have shut down area schools.
Another California fire, north of Big Sur, has engulfed more than 100 square miles. It’s about 50 percent contained, but still growing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Delta Air Lines faced more turmoil today, as it struggled to recover from Monday’s computer system outage. More than 500 flights were canceled today, on top of 1,000 yesterday. Hundreds more were delayed.
As passengers waited in airports around the world, Delta offered refunds and $200 in travel vouchers. It’s also waiving fees for people switching flights.
GWEN IFILL: The United Nations appealed today to all sides in Syria for a humanitarian cease-fire in Aleppo. The country’s largest city has seen heavy fighting, with rebels breaking through a government siege over the weekend.
In Geneva today, U.N. officials argued, warned there’s a grave risk of disease, unless Aleppo’s public utilities can be repaired.
JENS LAERKE, Spokesman, United Nations: Attacks on civilian infrastructure this week have severely damaged the city’s electric and water infrastructure, leaving over two million residents of Aleppo without electricity or access to the public water network. Water available through wells and tanks is not nearly enough to sustain the needs of the population.
GWEN IFILL: The U.N. says that, at a minimum, it needs weekly pauses in the fighting to allow food and medicine to get in.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In Yemen, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia resumed airstrikes on the capital for the first time since April. One strike hit a food factory in Sanaa, killing 14 workers on the overnight shift. It came after U.N. peace talks collapsed over the weekend.
GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, search crews have recovered the black box recorder from a freighter that sank during a hurricane last October. The El Faro went down off the Bahamas, en route to Jacksonville — from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. All 33 crew members died. The recorder is being brought back to Virginia Beach, Virginia, for examination.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained three points to close at 18533. The Nasdaq rose 12 points, and the S&P 500 added a fraction.
GWEN IFILL: And a late result from the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. women won the gold medal this evening in team gymnastics, for the second Olympics in a row. Led by powerhouse Simone Biles, the Americans posted top scores in all four events. Competition in individual events comes later this week.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: For Donald Trump, more discord in his own ranks, as he tries to make up ground in the presidential race. His economic speech of Monday was swept from the headlines by a high-profile rejection today.
The Republican nominee faced new defections just a day after trying to reset his campaign. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine wrote in The Washington Post that she will not vote for Trump, explaining she’s been — quote — “increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments.
And she added, “Treating others with respect is an idea that should transcend politics.”
Trump said nothing about Collins this afternoon in Wilmington, North Carolina. Instead, he went after Democrat Hillary Clinton over gun rights.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment.
DONALD TRUMP: By the way, and if she gets to pick — if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks, although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.
But I will tell you what. That will be a horrible day.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Clinton has said she doesn’t favor abolishing the Second Amendment.
Criticism of Trump came from 50 Republican national security officials as well. In a letter yesterday, they wrote: “We are convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
Trump dismissed their opposition this morning in an interview with FOX Business, claiming they would have loved to have been part of his campaign.
DONALD TRUMP: These were the people that have been there a long time, Washington establishment people that have been there a long time. Look at the terrible job they have done. I hadn’t planned on using any of these people.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The candidate also leveled another harsh new charge at Clinton in a tweet about Iran’s execution of a nuclear scientist.
It said — quote — “Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton’s hacked e-mails.”
Trump cited no evidence for the claim, and a Clinton campaign spokesman tweeted back: “Many people are saying equals I made this up.”
Meanwhile, Clinton was hunting for votes in Florida, with a stop in Miami. The Democratic nominee took on Congress, too, demanding that lawmakers return to Washington immediately to vote funding for fighting the Zika virus.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: I am very disappointed that the Congress went on recess before actually agreeing on what they would do to put the resources into this fight.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Clinton has now formally agreed to participate in the three scheduled presidential debates. Trump has said he will too, but may want to renegotiate the terms.
All this comes as more new polls show Clinton surging ahead, and opening up big leads with white college-educated women, a demographic that Republican Mitt Romney won in 2012.
Later, critics accused Trump of suggesting that gun owners resort to violence. The Trump campaign said he was actually referring to political power, urging them to vote in record numbers.
We will hear directly from Senator Susan Collins about why she’s rejected the Trump candidacy right after the news summary.
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WASHINGTON — Following a lengthy tug-of-war with Capitol Hill, the Pentagon has given a senator the first-ever, unclassified report detailing the suspected militant backgrounds of more than 100 detainees at or recently released from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay — a report that will likely spur more debate over shutting it down.
The report, given to Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who shared it with The Associated Press, tells the story of detainees like Karim Bostan, who once ran a flower shop and later was accused of running an al-Qaida affiliated explosives cell believed to have targeted U.S.-led coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan. He’s been at Guantanamo for more than 13 years, but has been cleared for transfer to a country willing to accept him.
“While the Department of Defense watered down information and failed to provide key details regarding some detainees, the report still provides Americans with a consolidated, unclassified source of information regarding the dangerous terrorists at Guantanamo who the administration has recently released or plans to release soon,” Ayotte said in an email response to questions. She has pushed the Obama administration for years to be more transparent about who is being transferred out.
The remaining detainees “will no doubt” return to the fight once released, she said, noting that the Defense Department told her that 93 percent of the detainees still at Guantanamo as of late last year were high risk for re-engagement in terrorism.
The report, however, also tells the stories of low-level militants released after being detained for more than a dozen years without charge — cases that support those who have long argued that indefinite detention runs counter to U.S. values.
In that category, there’s Muhammad Said Salim Bin Salman, a Yemeni who traveled to Afghanistan to train at an al-Qaida camp. He says he became a cook and never fought because he suffers from back pain. Deemed a medium intelligence risk, he was cleared for release and transferred to Oman in January following 14 years of detention.
David Remes, a human rights lawyer who represents several detainees, says dangerous men are not being released
“Holding the men at all was a deep injustice and a lasting stain on the U.S. These men shouldn’t have been in Guantanamo in the first place,” Remes said. “It’s one thing to prosecute detainees for attacks on the U.S. … It is quite another thing — and contrary to the values the U.S. says it is committed to — to hold men for many years, who are accused of no crime.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence reports that 5 percent of Guantanamo prisoners released since President Barack Obama took office have re-engaged in militant activities and another 8 percent are suspected of it. That compares to 21 percent confirmed and 14 percent suspected during the Bush administration.
The U.S. military prison in Cuba held about 240 detainees at Guantanamo in 2009. So far, Obama has transferred 162 detainees to other countries. The report given to Ayotte covers 107 detainees who were at the prison as of Nov. 25, 2015, the day Obama signed the 2016 defense policy bill that required the report. The current population is 76.
Republican lawmakers accuse Obama of rushing to downgrade detainees’ threat status to clear them for transfer so he can make good on his campaign pledge to close the prison before he leaves office in January. Myles Caggins III, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, declined to predict whether Obama will achieve his goal, but said the U.S. continues to work with countries willing to receive the 34 detainees — nearly half the remaining prison population — who have been cleared for transfer.
The GOP-led Congress has tried to slow or stop detainees from being transferred out and has banned any from being moved to U.S. prisons. The dispute between the White House and Republicans in Congress got especially heated this spring when Paul Lewis, the Pentagon’s special envoy for closing Guantanamo, told a congressional committee that Americans have been killed by detainees released from Guantanamo. Lewis did not say how many or offer any other details.
Amid the debate, Ayotte has been working for months to get the Pentagon to deliver the unclassified report required by the defense bill.
The Pentagon had until Jan. 24 to send it to Congress. Defense officials missed that deadline. In response, Ayotte blocked a nomination vote on the Defense Department’s pick for general counsel. She released her hold when the report was delivered to her office on June 13. The Pentagon has not shared it with the Armed Services Committee, as the law requires.
While some unclassified information about Guantanamo detainees can be found in hundreds of government documents, news stories, court files and detainee threat assessments leaked by Wikileaks, the Pentagon has never compiled it in a single, unclassified report for lawmakers, or the public, to peruse.
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JANESVILLE, Wis. — House Speaker Paul Ryan rejected the idea that his easy win Tuesday over a longshot Republican primary challenger praised by Donald Trump spells danger for Trump’s presidential prospects in the swing state of Wisconsin.
All the huge primary win means, Ryan insisted, is that he’s really well-liked in the congressional district where he was born and raised and that he has represented since 1998.
Businessman Paul Nehlen had been courting Trump supporters and won praise from the Republican presidential nominee last week. But despite their strained relationship, Trump endorsed Ryan days later.
“I don’t think it means he’s doomed in November,” Ryan said of Trump. “I think it means right here in Wisconsin, people know me very, very well.”
Ryan had largely ignored Nehlen in what had been a sleepy primary before Trump thanked Nehlen on Twitter for his comments defending Trump. Nehlen won the backing of some prominent conservative figures, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Ryan’s popularity in his southeastern Wisconsin district.
Ryan won by about 70 percentage points, based on unofficial results.
“We knew we were going to do well,” Ryan said. “We got the votes we were hoping and expecting to get all along. The outcome is exactly what we were hoping for.”
This is Ryan’s first re-election win since becoming speaker last fall.
He went into the primary with massive advantages in name recognition and money. Ryan had outraised the unknown Nehlen by a 17 to 1 ratio through the latest reporting period, and was largely ignoring his opponent and was expected to win easily.
Trump changed all that the week before the primary, when he tweeted thanks to Nehlen for support while Trump was being vilified for remarks about the Muslim American parents of a U.S. soldier slain in Iraq. Trump also said he wasn’t ready to endorse Ryan, who had joined in that criticism.
Trump shifted course a few days later under heavy pressure from Republican leadership, but by then Nehlen had gotten a burst of national publicity.
Ryan responded with a blitz of radio appearances and added a pair of campaign stops the day before the election, determined to avoid the fate that befell House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, when the Virginia Republican lost a primary to a little-known tea party challenger.
Ryan had other advantages, including widespread popularity in the district. Ryan had also worked hard to maintain those home ties, traveling back to Janesville as much as possible to be with his wife and three children.
Nehlen, an executive at a water filtration company, first made a splash with a web video of him riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, showing his tattooed arms. He challenged Ryan to an arm-wrestling match if he wouldn’t debate him.
He ran well to Ryan’s right, accusing Ryan of betraying Trump and favoring a “globalist agenda” of disastrous trade deals and porous borders. Nehlen attracted support from Palin and conservative provocateur Ann Coulter, with the latter appearing alongside Nehlen in the district the weekend before the election.
Nehlen said in a message on Twitter after the crushing defeat that his candidacy “damaged Paul Ryan’s ability to continue growing government. That’s the beginning of a fight we’re ready to get started.”
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ROCKVILLE, Md. — Ever since she was 4, when a caregiver force-fed her with a spoon, Caroline Munro has not let anyone feed her but her mother.
The 22-year-old has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. She doesn’t speak and functions at a preschool level. Her mother, Beth Munro, feeds her with a fork or her hand.
As Beth ages — she’ll be 68 in October — she wonders who will care for Caroline when she’s no longer around. But she may never know. Caroline is on a Maryland waiting list for additional Medicaid services for the disabled. The list is thousands of names long, and as in many states, names often stay on it until a caregiver falls ill or dies.
About 860,000 people over 60 nationwide are in Beth’s place, caring for someone with intellectual or developmental disabilities in their home. And many are waiting, sometimes for years, for state-provided Medicaid help for their disabled child, sister or brother, such as placement in a group home, day services, or transportation or employment programs. If they can’t afford to pay for these services on their own, under the federal-state Medicaid system, their relative could end up in an institution.
As the number of older caregivers grows, and their need for help becomes more dire, a few states have passed laws to give older caregivers a chance to help decide where, and how, the person they care for will live. Tennessee passed a law in 2015 to ensure that anyone with an intellectual disability and a caregiver over 80 got the services they needed, and this year the state expanded the law to those with caretakers over 75. And in 2014, Connecticut passed a similar law that is helping about 120 people with a caregiver over 70.
But the waiting lists for needed services in these states and many others are still thousands of names long. In recent years, states such as Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania have put money into their budgets to try to chip away at the lists, and they get federal matching dollars to help pay for it. Some states are prioritizing people with urgent needs, while others are prioritizing students as they age out of school.
Yet advocates for people with disabilities, such as Nicole Jorwic, director of rights policy at The Arc, a national nonprofit, say there needs to be a federal fix.
“Something that pumps money into the system,” Jorwic said. “And that’s just not going to happen in the current climate in Congress.”
In Maryland, Beth Munro realizes that unless she becomes seriously ill or dies, her daughter might not be placed in a group home.
“I’ve worked really hard at the issue over the years,” Beth said, “and you get nowhere.”
This generation of caregivers over 60 watched over decades as the U.S. grew more understanding and inclusive of people with disabilities. A movement swept the country in the 1970s and ’80s to deinstitutionalize people with disabilities. And for decades now, most people with disabilities who receive Medicaid help have been cared for at home by family members.
In 2013, spending for community- and home-based services surpassed spending for large institutions, such as mental hospitals and nursing homes, for the first time. By that time, 14 states no longer had any large state-run institutions for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and many others had only a few, according to University of Colorado research.
The move to deinstitutionalize care has provided care that is more personalized while also saving states money. Average costs for care in a state-run institution, in 2013, ranged from about $129,000 a year in Arizona to about $603,000 in New York, while the average state costs of community-based services nationally is $43,000, according to the University of Colorado.
What this has left, though, is fewer residential options, and lengthening waiting lists. About 198,000 people were waiting for home- or community-based services in the 34 states that reported data in 2013, according to University of Minnesota research. The longest waiting lists were in Ohio (41,500), Illinois (23,000) and Florida (22,400).
Some states don’t keep waiting lists. In California, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities qualify for the services they need under a state-run health system. This means they should be getting the services they need.
But April Lopez, chairwoman of California’s State Council on Developmental Disabilities, said that’s not always the case there. Some services aren’t available when you need them, she said. The state’s reimbursement rate is so low, she said, it discourages doctors and health centers from providing services.
If states aren’t able to provide services for everyone, they should focus on providing more support for family caregivers, such as high-quality case management and respite services, said Susan Parish, director of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
With medical, technological and public health advances, people with disabilities are living longer than before, Parish said. And with family size shrinking over the years, fewer siblings are around to assume care of their brother or sister as their parents age.
Caregivers need help transitioning out of their role — finding the person with disabilities a place to live, money, benefits and a new guardian, Parish said.
“I’ve worked with several parents who said they’ve hoped their son or daughter would die before they did because they don’t feel there are supports out there,” she said.
Some steps in some states
Beth Munro said she has felt that way, at times. She said she has been caring for Caroline on her own since she was 9 months old. Caroline has a brother and sister, but they live out of state and Beth doesn’t want them to have to take over her role. Caroline’s cerebral palsy affects both of her arms and legs. She is dependent for all of her care and can’t be left alone.
But her laugh is full of life, and she laughs often. Her mother says she is generally a happy person. She is in a day program with other adults with disabilities, and they often go out into the community, like to a nature center or to the movies.
Under Maryland law, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are transitioning out of the school system at age 21 receive some services. Yet 7,600 people on the waiting list in Maryland either have no services or need more.
Last year, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, added $3 million to the budget, which served about 120 people who were deemed to be in crisis, and added $3.5 million this year for the same purpose.
This has been a bright spot in a decadeslong fight by the Maryland affiliate of The Arc to educate people and get more funding, said Cristine Marchand, its executive director.
In the past, the organization would suggest a new tax in the state to cover the expenses — a tax on snacks or telecommunications — and each time the governor at the time would take the money and use it for something else, Marchand said.
Whether a state makes progress addressing the issue has less to do with the political party in power and more to do with how much officials know about the issue, or how much influence advocates have, said Bernard Simons, Maryland’s deputy secretary for developmental disabilities.
Simons has worked in similar jobs in five other states and he said it’s the same wherever he goes — parents dying or getting sick, and children left with no plan in place.
States, including Maryland, need to be planning more, he said, instead of just reacting to emergencies.
In Pennsylvania, which has one of the largest waiting lists — about 13,800 people — Republican state Rep. Thomas Murt said he has several bills pending in the Legislature that would collect money specifically to provide services for the people on the list using different taxes, including on natural gas, tobacco, and vaping.
Like Maryland, Pennsylvania provides services for students transitioning out of school — about 700 a year. But sometimes it takes an older caregiver falling ill to get help, Murt said. “If another state is doing a better job, I think we should take a look at what they’re doing.”
Courts have ordered some states to provide more community-based services.
Virginia is making big changes to how it serves people with disabilities because of a 2011 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which found that the state was needlessly keeping people in institutions and failing to provide enough community-based alternatives.
The state agreed to close down four of its five large institutions and serve 4,170 new people with community-based supports by 2021.
Helping elderly caregivers first
In Tennessee, The Arc Tennessee, an affiliate of the national group, pushed the Legislature to help older caregivers.
And, because these people have gone without the state’s help for so long, the Legislature wanted to help, said state Rep. Bob Ramsey, a Republican who advocated for the state’s new law.
“I felt it really appropriate for us to do something to give them some relief and some assurance that they weren’t going to have children, loved ones or friends that were assigned to institutions,” Ramsey said.
About 6,000 people are on the state’s waiting list, but that’s only people with intellectual disabilities. Before this year, a person with a developmental disability but not an intellectual disability did not qualify for services. But the state is making changes. As of July 1, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities qualify for services under the state-run health system, as they do in California.
The state plans to provide new home- or community-based services to 1,700 people — compared to the 100 or 200 people it has been helping in recent years — on the waiting list this budget year, according to a spokeswoman, Sarah Tanksley.
Hope for an ‘active life’
In Maryland, Beth Munro has struggled for years to care for her daughter on her own. She said it’s tough to find the strength to lift her daughter in and out of the bathtub every night.
But later this month, she’ll be getting extra help. The state just approved 35 hours of in-home services for her, including for bath time.
Still, she hopes her daughter can move into a group home soon, so she can start to learn to live without her mother and do the kinds of things she likes, such as sewing, taking photos and dancing in her wheelchair — with help from others.
“That’s the main thing,” Beth said. “Not only that she’s well taken care of, but that she has an active life, doing things that she likes to do.”
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Watch the release of the Department of Justice’s report on bias in the Baltimore police force at 10:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.
In a scathing report released Wednesday, the Department of Justice said Baltimore police officers routinely discriminated against blacks, used excessive force and did not adequately get disciplined for their mistreatment, according to the Associated Press.
The department began its investigation following the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray whose neck was broken while he was in custody of Baltimore police. All charges against the police involved were dropped earlier this year.
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — While Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is set to appear on ballots in at least 39 states, swing state Ohio is among the places where his supporters are still working to get his name out to voters this fall.
The ballot status of the former New Mexico governor in Ohio was uncertain Wednesday — a day after Libertarians submitted thousands of signatures on behalf of a different candidate. Party activists say the candidate on the paperwork, Charlie Earl, who ran for Ohio governor in 2014, is just a stand-in who will be replaced with Johnson and his running mate once the petitions are certified by the state’s elections chief.
“That was the only way we could do it,” said Aaron Keith Harris, a spokesman for the Libertarian Party of Ohio. Libertarians also used a placeholder name in Pennsylvania, another battleground state.
Libertarians are not recognized as a political party in Ohio, so activists sought to collect at least 5,000 valid signatures from voters by Wednesday’s deadline to get Johnson on the fall ballot by way of a process for independent candidates. Elections officials must now verify the signors.
But the secretary of state’s office said it’s not seen a name-swap used before in the presidential race in Ohio, and its legal team will review the situation.
Given the various petition deadlines and ballot access rules across states, such placeholder candidates are common, said Carla Howell, the national Libertarian Party’s political director. She said she’s a stand-in candidate in four states.
Johnson is on track to be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Howell said, noting Ohio has been “one of the worst” states for access. The ballot effort is still ongoing in other battlegrounds, including Iowa and Virginia.
Appearing on ballots nationwide is a major challenge for the third parties. The Libertarian nominee wasn’t on all state ballots in 2012, 2008 or 2004.
Third party candidates can draw votes from major party candidates, potentially impactful in a crucial battleground state like Ohio. No Republican has ever made it to the White House without winning the state.
A serious hurdle for Libertarians and other minor parties is a patchwork of rules and laws nationwide governing access to ballots. “It’s the number one problem that third party candidates face,” said Barry Burden, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and director of the Elections Research Center.
In Massachusetts, Libertarian vice presidential nominee William Weld hand-delivered the signatures needed to guarantee his name and Johnson’s as November candidates. Though candidates in major parties also must meet a signature threshold there. In Oklahoma, Libertarians are now a recognized political party allowing candidates to run at all levels without signatures drives.
Even if Johnson and Weld make Ohio’s ballot, both would lack the party’s label or any designation. They are expected to be identified as independents rather than Libertarians in at least a couple states.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka are slated to appear on ballots in at least 27 states, according to their party. They’ve filed their paperwork to get on Ohio’s ballot.
Johnson and Stein are running in the single digits among voters in battleground Ohio, according a Quinnipiac University poll published Tuesday. The survey found Clinton at 44 percent to Trump’s 42 percent, with Johnson at 8 percent and Stein at 3 percent.
A July Associated Press-GfK poll found both Stein and Johnson remain virtual unknowns among Americans, with 76 percent saying they don’t know enough about Johnson to have a favorable or unfavorable opinion and 82 percent saying the same about Stein.
The Republican-led state legislature in Ohio passed tougher rules for minor political parties in 2013, as the GOP faced growing competition from the tea party.
Ohio Libertarians have fought the changes in state and federal court for years. They maintain the law effectively eliminated all minor-party candidates from 2014 primary ballots and unfairly disadvantaged third parties going forward.
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