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

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    Firefighters keep watch on the Blue Cut fire burning near Wrightwood, California, U.S., August 17, 2016.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni - RTX2LLTI

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Two major disasters in two different parts of the country have sent tens of thousands of people fleeing from their homes, and caused millions of dollars in damage. Are these just freak events, or are they in some way related to climate change?

    William Brangham brings us the latest.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It’s called the Blue Cut Fire, and it’s wreaking havoc in Southern California. The massive blaze closed major roadways like part of Interstate-15 that connects Los Angeles and Las Vegas. And last night, officials issued evacuation orders for more than 34,000 homes. That’s some 82,000 people.

    WOMAN: I think this is the worst that I have ever seen, you know? And it’s kind of getting used to the idea of being homeless.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The fire erupted yesterday in the Cajon Pass, a critical corridor just north of San Bernardino, only 60 miles from Los Angeles.

    It quickly expanded to more than 45 square miles. Ten air tankers, 15 helicopters and some 1,300 firefighters were deployed within 24 hours. They faced hot and windy conditions.

    MICHAEL WAKOSKI, Southern California Incident Management Team: The fuels are extremely dry and very explosive this time of year. And in my 40 years of fighting fire, I have never seen fire behavior so extreme as it was yesterday.

    MARK HARTWIG, Chief, San Bernardino County Fire and Rescue: I was able to get up this morning and get some eyes on it from the air. In a word, it was devastating, a lot of homes lost yesterday. There’ll be a lot of families that come home to nothing.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the Blue Cut area, as he did earlier this week for a major blaze north of San Francisco. That fire has since started to fade. The man suspected of sparking it, as well as 16 smaller fires over the last year, has now been charged with arson.

    Seventeen hundred miles across the country, a different kind of disaster is unfolding in Louisiana, where some of the worst floods in history have hit the state. As the water begins to recede in some parts, the numbers are stark. At least 11 people have died, 30,000 people have been rescued, and 40,000 homes damaged.

    MAN: We lost everything, God, just about. We got out safely and all of our friends are safe, so that’s the main thing.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So far, about 68,000 people have signed up for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The American Red Cross says this flooding has triggered its largest disaster operation since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

    The catastrophes in California and Louisiana have again raised the question: Are these events caused in part by global climate change? Both events follow a July that was the planet’s single hottest month since records began in the 19th century, and many computer models have indicated that, as temperatures rise, droughts and extreme weather are likely to follow.

    To help us sort out what’s driving these extreme events, we turn to two scientists well-versed in these matters. Barry Keim is a climatologist for the state of Louisiana and a professor at Louisiana State University, and Adam Sobel is a professor of environmental science at Columbia University. He also directs its Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate.

    Thank you both for being here.

    Barry, I would like to start with you.

    Before we get into the science of all of this, can you just tell us, how are things in Baton Rouge right now?

    BARRY KEIM, Louisiana State University: Well, in Baton Rouge, they are improving, but across the broader area, there still are some issues.

    Things are slowly starting to settle down or simmer down a little bit. But, right now, across most of my immediate region, people have already started ripping out carpets and gutting houses. So, we’re already starting the cleanup.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, this was obviously a historic amount of rainfall that fell on your state and that flooded you all out. Can you give us a sense of the context of how serious these storms were, and should we be thinking about these in terms of climate change?

    BARRY KEIM: This event was — it was a tropical disturbance. It was a very weak — in fact, it — I would classify it practically as an easterly wave.

    And the amount of rainfall amounts, as I suggested, were staggering. Just to put this in perspective, a 100-year rain event in this region is roughly 14 inches. A 1,000-year event is about 21 inches.

    Well, we have about eight sites, seven or eight sites across southeast Louisiana or south central Louisiana that exceeded the 1,000-year mark. And, in fact, we have one site that had 30 — over 31 inches of rain.

    Now, 1,000-year event is 21 inches, and this was 31 inches. So, that ought to give you some context on just how severe this rainstorm was across this area.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In that context, do you think of this as something that is — what we would expect to see with climate change, or is that not part of your thinking?

    BARRY KEIM: Well, no single event really tells you anything about climate change specifically, and even one year’s worth of events.

    And, admittedly, this past year has been very strange. We had the floods in South Carolina. Texas had some serious floods. We even had a major flood earlier this year in Louisiana. In fact, we even had an early one back in this past October which was quite extraordinary.

    So, it does seem like there is something unusual going on. But I still wouldn’t quite characterize this as being a sign that the climate has officially changed. We are just in a very unusual period right now. And this could be indicative of climate change, but it’s way, way too early. And we need a lot more data and understanding of the science to be able to say something conclusively like that.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Adam Sobel, I would put the same question to you.

    In California, we have seen this historic drought. It has dried out the landscape. It is partly why we have seen these explosive fires across the state there. But, again droughts are not unusual for California, the same way floods are not unusual for Louisiana. How do you see these in relation to climate change?

    ADAM SOBEL, Columbia University: Well, I think you have to talk about each event separately.

    So let’s start with the Louisiana event. I think the California situation is a little bit different and has been going on for a number of years. So, there have actually been a few studies specifically on that event.

    But since we’re talking about Louisiana and the floods now, just for some general context, I mean, across the United States, as well as most places in the world where there is adequate data to ask the question, we have seen increases over the last decades, or in some cases the last century, in the extremity of severe rain events.

    So, we see heavy rain events becoming heavier and a larger fraction of the rain falling at heavy events. And this is what our climate projections tell us should happen as the climate warms, although to uncertain degrees, but it’s qualitatively consistent. And we expect it on physical grounds, as a warming climate means that there is more water vapor in the atmosphere.

    Now, it’s true that each individual event is a result of many factors, and climate change is at most one of them, and usually a small one. So a lot of things have to happen for an extreme event to occur. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be an extreme event. And so climate change can at most push the odds a little bit in one direction.

    So, I mean, we now have a new emerging area of science called extreme event attribution, where people actually do studies and have ways of making probabilistic statements. You can’t ever say this event was caused by climate change or this single event is conclusive evidence of climate change.

    But you can say that climate change appears to have made it such a percent more probable, or given that it occurred, make it such and such percent more extreme.

    Those studies haven’t yet been done on the Louisiana event. My guess is that they will be done pretty soon. They can get done pretty quickly now. And I would cautiously predict that they are going to show some increase in the likelihood of this happening due to climate change, although I wouldn’t want to put a number on it.

    So, that is the sort of broad context. I think it is the kind of thing we expect to see more as the future proceeds. And it’s the kind of thing we have been seeing. But I agree that to make stronger statements than that about a specific event, it is certainly possible to overstate the connection. But there is a lot of science behind the statement that there may be some connection there.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Barry, back to you.

    I’m just curious, do you think that this is what we have just got to become accustomed to, that what was once considered an extreme event is now just the new normal? And, if so, what does that mean for policy-makers?

    BARRY KEIM: Yes, well, we’re certainly in a period right now where we have seen quite a bit — quite a few extremes.

    And — but we have had some periods in the past where we have had clustering of really big, catastrophic rainfall events in the past as well. But I tell you, the last decade or so really does raise some eyebrows, and very, very suspicious.

    And as what this means for policy implications, I mean, this is just so complex, so politically loaded, that, I mean, it’s really tough to navigate through these waters, so to speak. And so, yes, it is really hard to say a whole lot conclusively on what kind of policy should proceed as a result of these recent extremes.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Adam, with relation to the fire in California and the many people appointed to the very long drought that has dried out much of California and makes these fires more common and more violent when they actually occur, how do you see climate change in relation to that particular event?

    ADAM SOBEL: Right.

    So, if we look at the drought in California, there have actually been several studies of it, some of it done by my colleagues here at Columbia. And those studies actually show the complexity of studying events like this, because the answer actually depends how you ask the question.

    If you ask about just the lack of rainfall — of course, the cause of a drought is just lack of rainfall — then the studies have tended to come to a conclusion that it’s not — this event is not fundamentally caused by climate change.

    That said, once you have a lack of rainfall, the hotter temperatures that we see as a result of human influence on climate cause water to evaporate from the soils more quickly, and so you have overall a dryer land surface and lower reservoirs and all of that.

    And that, there, there is a climate change influence. So if you ask about the lack of rainfall, this event appears to be largely natural, is what the studies have shown. But if you ask about the overall dryness of California, there does seem to be some influence of higher temperature, which is a result of climate change.

    So, the studies have come to different conclusions, in part because they ask different questions. But I think that is the complicated answer to that question, as far as we know now.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Adam Sobel, Barry Keim, thank you both very much for being here.

    ADAM SOBEL: Thank you.

    BARRY KEIM: My pleasure. Thank you.

    The post Scientists analyze recent extreme weather events in relation to climate change appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon listens during Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's round table discussion on security at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX2LL9D

    Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon listens during Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s round table discussion on security at Trump Tower on Aug. 17, 2016. Photo by REUTERS/Carlo Allegri 

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s new campaign CEO is a flame-thrower in cargo shorts.

    Steve Bannon’s career path has been an improbable journey from Goldman Sachs insider to conservative filmmaker to media provocateur to campaign chieftain.

    The shaggy-haired Harvard MBA partial to shorts and Timberland boots is moving to the Trump campaign from the top of Breitbart News, a conservative website that has emerged in recent years as a social media colossus in politics — one that has been unabashedly supportive of Trump’s campaign lately.

    READ MORE: Donald Trump shakes up campaign staff

    The Breitbart website’s hiring section says it’s looking for media junkies willing to “walk toward the fire” — an apt description of Bannon himself.

    His installation at the top of the Trump campaign offers fresh evidence that the GOP nominee has no intention of reining in his brash, outsider’s style or cozying up to the GOP establishment despite his campaign’s recent struggles.

    “There has been no bigger cheerleader in the media for Donald Trump than Breitbart News, and he just hired his biggest cheerleader to continue massaging him,” said Ben Shapiro, a former Breitbart editor. Shapiro resigned in March, saying Breitbart had shaped the website into “Trump’s personal Pravda” and had failed to defend one its own reporters who said she’d been roughed up by Trump’s then-campaign manager.

    Bannon “may focus Trump, because he’s good at working with talent,” Shapiro said Wednesday. “He may also just confirm to Trump that he ought to double down on being Trump.”

    Shapiro described Bannon’s skill set as that of a knife fighter — one with a “vicious, unstable quality.”

    “There are very few people who have ever worked with Steve Bannon who have escaped without a Steve Bannon thoroughly blue tirade,” Shapiro said.

    Keith Appell, a political consultant whom Bannon hired to promote a movie he’d made about Sarah Palin, describes Bannon as a hard-driving perfectionist with both strong organizational skills and a film-maker’s gift for storytelling.

    “He gets the need to personalize and humanize what Trump wants to do,” Appell said.

    The Breitbart website’s founder, the late Andrew Breitbart, once admiringly described Bannon as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek profile of Bannon. Riefenstahl was a filmmaker vilified after World War II for her propaganda pieces about Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.

    Trump, who this week brought on Bannon and elevated pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager, said he’d known both for a long time.

    “They’re terrific people, they’re winners, they’re champs, and we need to win it,” Trump told the AP.

    Bannon took over Breitbart News after the sudden death of its founder in 2012 left people wondering what would become of the website. By then, Bannon had left investment banking behind, capitalized on an entertainment industry deal that left him with a share of “Seinfeld” royalties, founded the Government Accountability Institute to ferret out “crony capitalism” and government corruption, and created a number of his own films, including paeans to Palin, the tea party movement and Ronald Reagan.

    The Breitbart website has expanded under his tenure. It ranked No. 1 in Facebook and Twitter engagement on political content in May and June, with more than 9 million interactions over that two-month period, far outstripping both conservative and liberal rivals and mainstream news sites. That’s according trending news tracking site NewsWhip.

    Unafraid to play favorites, Breitbart early last year prominently featured positive stories about Ted Cruz, including an exclusive behind-the-scenes photo shoot with his family the night before the Texas senator announced his presidential run. As Trump gained steam later in the year, the media site began pumping out pro-Trump stories.

    Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, said the website has figured out how to push political story angles that animate “an audience of a particular orientation,” in this case an angry subset of Republicans that predates the tea party movement and now overlaps with Trump’s base.

    “It’s almost a throwback to an era when media outlets and political organizations were closely aligned,” Rosenstiel said.

    He said it’s an open question whether Trump, in turning to Bannon, can use the Internet “as an animating structure” for his campaign without embracing more traditional methods involving party structure, get-out-the-vote efforts and a political ground game.

    “There’s a larger question here,” Rosenstiel said. “Can you use the Internet to win a general election?”

    The post Steve Bannon’s path to the top of the Trump campaign appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway (L) and Paul Manafort, staff of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, speak during a round table discussion on security at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX2LL8F

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    BY DANIEL BUSH

    Donald Trump’s new campaign manager held meetings on Wednesday with a group of senior advisors in New York as the campaign sought to move forward after the second staff shakeup in the past two months.

    Kellyanne Conway, who was promoted to the role of campaign manager earlier in the day, said in an interview with PBS NewsHour that she met with the campaign’s chairman, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, a senior advisor, and Steve Bannon, the campaign’s newly appointed CEO.

    “We met on any number of issues,” said Conway, who called the group the campaign’s “core four” leadership team.

    “What’s very important is that the candidate trust the people around him.”

    Conway said the group reviewed new advertisements the campaign plans to launch this weekend, and discussed foreign policy with a team of national security experts.

    “We’re all working together. This is an expansion of a team in these critical last couple of weeks,” Conway told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff.

    Conway, who was serving as a senior advisor to Trump, defended the campaign’s decision to hire Bannon, the executive chairman of the conservative media outlet Breitbart News.

    “What’s very important is that the candidate trust the people around him,” Conway said.

    The announcement of Conway and Bannon’s new roles represented the Trump campaign’s latest major staff change. Trump fired his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in June, and handed control of the campaign to Manafort.

    Manafort’s presence at the high-level meetings on Wednesday suggested that he will remain an active voice on the campaign throughout the general election.

    READ MORE: Steve Bannon’s path to the top of the Trump campaign

    Wednesday’s staff change comes as Trump continues to lose ground to Hillary Clinton in national polls and polls in several key battleground states.

    Conway acknowledged the challenges Trump faces, but said she believes the campaign still has time to build more support among Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats who are seeking an alternative to Clinton.

    “We feel like they are open to our message. And we’re going to work hard for all of those votes,” Conway said.


    Read the full transcript of this segment below:

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We return now to the changes at the top of the Trump campaign and what led to all this, with Robert Costa, national political reporter for The Washington Post.

    Robert, welcome back to the program.

    So, it was just two months ago we saw a change at the top of the Trump campaign. So, what happened?

    ROBERT COSTA, The Washington Post: That change two months ago saw Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, take control of the Trump campaign from Corey Lewandowski, the longtime campaign manager.

    And it was a change of philosophy back then, from “let Trump be Trump” to a more disciplined strategy, more party unity, more focus on a scripted message. Trump has scrapped that Manafort playbook, however, over the weekend, deciding to go with this new team, Steve Bannon from Breitbart, Kellyanne Conway, the longtime pollster who he is friendly with.

    And it’s because Trump, according to my sources, is looking at these last 80 days, and he says to himself, he wants to do it his way, run from the gut, run on his instincts.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, tell us about Stephen Bannon. Who is he? He is not somebody we have known associated with the campaign, although we know he’s been close to Mr. Trump.

    ROBERT COSTA: He’s a colorful and populist figure on the American right, someone who’s not closely associated with the Republican Party, hasn’t run a presidential campaign before, has rarely, if ever, been involved with political campaigns.

    But he has been running this Web site Breitbart News, which is popular for its nationalist themes, its advocacy against illegal immigration. He has become close to figures like Sarah Palin over the past decade. And this profile on a certain segment of the American right has brought him close to Trump. His politics overlap with Trump’s own.

    And he has been someone who has provided Trump with informal candid advice over the past year. And Trump has developed this rapport and has turned to Bannon at many turns as he’s thought about his campaign.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Robert, what do your sources tell you we should expect to see change in Trump’s behavior on the campaign trail and the campaign itself?

    ROBERT COSTA: Bannon’s strategy, according to people close to both Trump and Bannon, is to run a less partisan campaign than Paul Manafort may have advised for Trump in recent days.

    And what I mean by that is a populist campaign that doesn’t stress political issues in the traditional way you see in a general election campaign of right vs. left. What we should expect to see from Trump, according to the people who were in meetings with him today, is a full-throated nationalist message, something that is based on rallies, media appearances, and trying to rouse those voters, working-class voters in swing states.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what is meant by nationalist message?

    ROBERT COSTA: It is something that is based in Trump’s pitch about immigration and trade and the economic frustration that Trump believes is out there in much of the American — much of the country.

    And it is a sense that jobs should stay here, products should be made here, foreign policy should be crafted from an almost isolationist perspective, America first, as Trump often says.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Robert, the people you talk to inside the campaign, do they still believe they can win this? I mean, we know the polls have been difficult in the last month for Mr. Trump.

    ROBERT COSTA: They believe there is a difficult path ahead, but they look at two things.

    They think suburban voters in places like North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania remain intrigued by Trump, interested in perhaps switching over to Trump in the final stretch, even if they are skittish at Trump at the moment and moving toward Clinton in the polls.

    If Trump can change his message to really zero in on those voters by focusing on national security, populism and nationalism, the Trump campaign thinks they have a shot. The other thing they are going to try to win over is more women voters.

    And that is where Kellyanne Conway comes in. She spent her whole career trying to help Republicans appeal more to the female voter. And that’s going to be part of the equation moving ahead.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally, Robert, do they lead you to believe this is the last change we will see in the campaign?

    ROBERT COSTA: You never know with Donald Trump. He kept this decision close to his vest over the weekend, didn’t tell many party leaders, if any, that he was going to make this overhaul in his campaign.

    He is someone who runs a small operation compared to most presidential campaigns. And he is someone who is a lone loner in American politics, almost an isolated figure, who believes his own calls on political issues, on strategy matter more than any kind of consultant’s advice.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Robert Costa with The Washington Post, we thank you.

    ROBERT COSTA: Thank you.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now let’s get an inside view of today’s changes in the Trump campaign from the woman we have just been hearing about. She’s the new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway.

    Kellyanne, hello. It’s good to see you.

    We just heard Robert Costa say this has to do in part with Donald Trump, frankly, wanting less discipline, wanting to be himself on the campaign trail. Is that what is going on?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY, Trump Campaign Manager: Well, first of all, Judy, thank you for having me. And I appreciate your congratulations.

    So, everybody is always talking about the Donald Trump pivot. Pivot is style when they give him advice. It’s, don’t say this, don’t say that, you should do this, you shouldn’t do that.

    And I think when he says, you know, he gets tired of being told by different people inside and outside of what to do and how to speak, it doesn’t free him to talk about the issues, which is where he really wants to take this campaign.

    I think the discipline you have seen this week is in giving those speeches, on Monday about radical Islamic terrorism, where, whether people liked the speech and the solutions or not, at least they can look at them. They can look at the road map. They can look at the several-point plan and decide whether or not that is the commander in chief they would like to trust.

    Yesterday, he followed it up with a very unusual, very robust policy speech, really taking the case to Hillary Clinton and putting her on the hot seat to explain why, after decades of public service herself, while she has been a politician for decades, and why in all of our big cities, we have Democratic mayors, and we have a rise in poverty and crime and homelessness, a rise in unemployment.

    So, I think he’s taking the case right back to Hillary Clinton, which is really his best shot at winning the presidency.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And what we just heard from Robert Costa — and it’s been reported — the other new person — or the new person elevated, I should say, in the campaign is Stephen Bannon, who does come from Breitbart News.

    And why would Donald Trump turn to him? He is someone who has never run a campaign before. He has been associated with this pretty controversial news Web site. What does Mr. Bannon bring?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Donald Trump said it best, Judy, where he said: I know them well, and I want people who want to win and who believe I can win and who are warriors.

    And I think Bannon is a guy ready for the right kind of battle, realizing that this is a pretty simple choice. You either want Donald Trump’s view of free market health care, where it is portable and is affordable and is accessible to more people, or you want more of Aetna pulling out of 11 to 15 states just yesterday, announcing $430 million worth of losses over the last two years.

    That followed UnitedHealthcare saying it would suffer a billion dollars in losses by being on the exchange. These are serious issues that impact people.

    And to Bob Costa and to your point, Judy, women are the chief health care officers of their households. These health care exchange realities on Obamacare are very real to them, as the chief health care officers. And we would like to know if Mrs. Clinton owns Obamacare, in other words, if she feels like it is a good policy moving forward. Would she move us towards a single-payer system, a la Bernie Sanders?

    Are there pieces of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, that she would scrap or the ones that she thinks are worth keeping? We need those questions answered. When you pivot, the pivot really needs to be on substance, when you start talking about issues, and not just individuals, when you start talking about principles, and not just personalities. Then we’re having a conversation befitting of the voters.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s try to understand what this is, because, again, we just heard Robert Costa describe an approach that is going to try to be not so partisan, not so — quote, unquote — “Republican vs. Democratic.”

    But we know that the Breitbart News Web site is what they call — it’s been called alt-right, a movement of hard-right ideologues and white nationalists who scorn traditional conservatism.

    Is that the philosophy Mr. Trump is embracing?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: No, it’s not. And that’s, I guess, someone’s opinion or characterization of a Web site or stories on a Web site.

    But, at the same time, I would like to point out, because I think too much of the reporting has said that this is a reset, this is a shakeup. The fact is, just over there in Trump Tower today, the core four, Manafort and Gates, who have been for on for a while, Bannon and myself, we met on any number of issues.

    We reviewed the last cuts of our ads that are going up this weekend. We sat in, all four of us sat in on the roundtable with national security and terrorism and foreign policy experts. I believe you showed some footage from there.

    So, we are all working together. This is an expansion of a team in these critical last couple of weeks. And I think what is very important is that the candidate trusts the people around them. And you see who is there.

    Despite what Hillary Clinton said today — that was a complete lie. Nobody got fired at the Trump campaign today. Nobody is feeding him — I found that to be really unbecoming, to talk about Donald Trump reading new words off a teleprompter.

    I mean, this has to go both ways, where she is pretty insulting of him. And I appreciate that it’s actually getting covered here.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you a little bit more, Kellyanne Conway, though, about where you do stand in the polls. You are a pollster. You have made it your career.

    How do you read the polls? I mean, Donald Trump right now is running behind in virtually every single battleground state.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, he is, but with varying margins.

    And, Judy, we’re happy that it is August and not October or November. We recognize that there is work to do. And some of that work is among independent voters. Some is among Republicans. And some is among the work to be done among Democrats who, in the same polls, say that they just don’t trust or much like Hillary Clinton.

    So, we feel like they are open to our message. And we are going to work hard for all those votes. That is what campaigns are for. Campaigns are really for combining the message, the messenger, the delivery, the opportunities, the ground game, the data operation, all of which is really coming into place. And I have to credit Manafort and Gates for putting so much of that together before we arrived.

    Secondly, if you look at the horse race numbers in these statewide polls, Judy, they look really great for Hillary Clinton. But if you go just a little bit underneath, you see that many of her fundamental measurements are still very poor.

    You have — in the Virginia poll, for example, you have 54 percent of Virginians saying they are unfavorable towards Hillary Clinton. There is not a lot that she can do to change that image, because they already know her; 68 percent said that the selection of Tim Kaine doesn’t matter to their vote; 66 percent of the white voters there say that they are unfavorable towards her.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Very quickly, let me…

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: So, she really needs to work on those as well.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: I just want to squeeze in one last question.

    And that is the description of the philosophy of this campaign as nationalist, almost isolationist, is that something you accept?

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: No.

    I — in fact, I emphatically reject it. And, as I said, Judy, just hours ago, I sat in a roundtable with former and current congressmen, with generals, with elected officials at very high levels, with national security and foreign policy experts. And that wasn’t the talk around the — that wasn’t the conversation around the table, I assure you. We allowed the press in.

    And so, no, I reject it. But I’m not surprised critics and naysayers have to do that.

    Look, the only thing I would ask of the Clinton campaign and many of their sympathizers is, when you are asked a question about Hillary Clinton, try not to say Donald Trump every other word. That is where criticisms like that come from.

    I think people — if you have a real debate on the issues, you go back and look at the radical Islamic speech from Monday, you go back and look at the law and order speech and the minority community speech yesterday, you find that that characterization is patently false.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I think I was hearing Robert Costa quote people he was talking to from inside the campaign, but we can straighten that out later.

    Kellyanne Conway, again, the newly named campaign manager for Donald Trump, thank you very much.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY: Thank you, Judy.

    The post Trump’s new campaign manager challenges Clinton on policy appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Major Sukru Seymen (C), one of the military personnel suspected of being involved in the coup attempt, is brought to a court house as he is accompanied by police officers and other detaniees in Mugla, Turkey, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX2LGHG

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: Turkey announced plans to release some 38,000 prison inmates to make room for people rounded up after last month’s failed coup attempt. Prisoners with two years or less left on their sentence will qualify for early release, but the most violent criminals will not be eligible.

    Turkish authorities have detained roughly 40,000 people linked to the coup plot. About half of them face formal charges.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, the White House pledged $17 million to help fight opioid and heroin abuse. It will help law enforcement agencies halt drug trafficking and prevent overdoses. But the Obama administration urged Congress to do more. The president signed a bill aimed at addressing the opioid crisis last month. But it fell far short of the more than $1 billion that his administration requested to fight the epidemic.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The nation’s commuter and freight trains have shown little progress in installing safety technologies mandated by Congress. That’s according to a new report out today from the Federal Railroad Administration.

    The safety system uses GPS and radio frequencies to automatically stop or slow trains, preventing collisions and derailments. It was supposed to be installed by 2015. But Congress had to extend that deadline until at least 2018 after projects were delayed by a lack of funding and technical obstacles.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Technology firm Cisco announced that it will lay off up to 5,500 employees, roughly 7 percent of its work force. The world’s largest manufacturer of computer networking equipment has seen a slowing demand for its products. But it’s tried to shift its focus into software and cloud-based networking in the face of growing competition.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: On Wall Street, stocks managed modest gains after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting signaled it could raise interest rates soon. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 22 points to close above 18573. The Nasdaq rose a point, and the S&P 500 added four points.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And controversy continues to brew behind the scenes at the Olympic Games. Brazilian police arrested Europe’s top Olympic official, Patrick Hickey of Ireland, at his Rio hotel room, and charged him with ticket scalping.

    Meanwhile, a Brazilian judge ordered American swimmers Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen to stay in Rio, claiming they gave conflicting accounts of being robbed at gunpoint last week. Lochte has already returned to the U.S., but Feigen is still in Brazil.

    The post News Wrap: Turkey releasing inmates to make room for coup arrests appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump looks out at Lake Michigan during a visit to the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX2LC44

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: The Republican presidential nominee is bringing new leaders to his campaign team, and not for the first time.

    John Yang begins our coverage.

    JOHN YANG: There was a new seating chart at Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in Trump Tower today. The Republican nominee was still in the center chair, but around him, signs of a leadership shuffle, the second in less than two months, as polls show him losing ground.

    The new campaign CEO? Stephen Bannon. Bannon, top executive of the combative conservative Web site Breitbart News, is new to political companies. Trump also promoted senior adviser Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager.

    Conway, a longtime pollster, will focus on messaging, as she did this morning on FOX News.

    KELLYANNE CONWAY, Trump Campaign Manager: It’s the busy homestretch to Election Day, and we just need to sort of beef up the senior-level roles in a way that we are dividing and conquering.

    JOHN YANG: Paul Manafort, top aide for the past two months, will keep his title of campaign chairman, though his role is unclear.

    News of the shakeup came after a Trump rally in Wisconsin last night, where, for the second day in a row, he used a teleprompter as he tried to broaden the field.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: I’m asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different and much better future.

    JOHN YANG: He spoke not far from Milwaukee, still reeling from unrest touched off by a weekend police shooting that left a 23-year-old black man dead.

    DONALD TRUMP: The violence, riots and destruction that have taken place in Milwaukee is an assault on the right of all citizens to live in security and to live in peace.

    JOHN YANG: Today, Trump was to receive his first intelligence briefing as the Republican nominee. That’s despite telling FOX News on Tuesday what he thought about the work of U.S. intelligence agencies.

    “Look what’s happened over the last 10 years,” he said. “It’s been catastrophic.”

    Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is to be briefed as well. Today, her campaign wouldn’t answer questions about it. Clinton was campaigning in Cleveland, Ohio, today, trying to fortify her slim polling lead in a critical swing state.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: I think it’s fair to say that Donald Trump has shown us who he is. He can hire and fire anybody he wants from his campaign. They can make him read new words from a teleprompter.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HILLARY CLINTON: But he is still the same man who insults Gold Star families, demeans women. There is no new Donald Trump. This is it.

    JOHN YANG: Trump is to take a new step in his campaign later this week, airing his very first general election ads in swing states.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We will talk with Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, right after the news summary.

    The post Trump rethinks campaign strategy, while Clinton tries to grow her lead in Ohio appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    African American woman helping Senior man use walker

    Phil Moeller answers your questions on aging and retirement. Photo by Getty Images

    Editor’s Note: Journalist Philip Moeller, who writes widely on aging and retirement, is here to provide the answers you need in “Ask Phil.” Send your questions to Phil.

    Check out his new Recommended Reading section with links to notable stories and reports at the end of today’s post.


    Anna – Ill.: If the powers that be are looking at health outcomes when they spend Medicare dollars, why did Congress decide in 2008 that a cut in therapy benefits was a smart thing to do? In 2008, I was not yet 65, so I didn’t notice this change. But now that I am past 65 and having balance “issues,” the 2008 cut in therapy benefits does affect me. One of the leading causes of sending seniors into assisted care facilities is balance issues (falls), and many seniors soon run out of funds and have to rely upon Medicaid to pay for housing them in these facilities. Is it not more fiscally responsible to spend a few thousand dollars on balance therapy now rather than tens of thousands of dollars each month to “house” seniors in such facilities?

    Is it not more fiscally responsible to spend a few thousand dollars on balance therapy now rather than tens of thousands of dollars each month to “house” seniors in such facilities?

    Phil Moeller: Caps on Medicare therapy services have been a contested topic for years. For 2016, the caps are $1,960 for physical therapy and speech-language pathology services combined, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. There’s another limit of $1,960 for occupational therapy services. However, there is an exceptions process that permits people to seek coverage when their total incurred therapy expenses exceed $3,700 during a calendar year. This exceptions process was in place in 2008 and has been extended every year since then. The American Physical Therapy Association has an extensive legislative history of therapy caps that provides the details. So, on this score, it’s not clear to me what cuts your referring to. Having said that, you and many other reasonable people could argue that the caps themselves are too low and need to be raised.


    Diane – Md.: I am 65 and enrolled in Medicare. After this enrollment, I took a position with a 1,500-person firm and now have Blue Cross as my primary health insurance with Medicare as my second. I would like to use the health savings account option with Blue Cross, but have been told that I can’t have an HSA and Medicare. Is this true even if Medicare is the secondary provider?

    Phil Moeller: Yes, according to the Medicare Rights Center. Having Medicare in any capacity makes it illegal for you to participate in an HSA or continue participating if you had one when you enrolled in Medicare. Further, as I’ve written before, signing up for Social Security requires you to have Part A of Medicare, which also nixes HSA participation.

    READ MORE: Why health savings accounts and Medicare don’t mix

    However, the fact that you went back to work and now have employer insurance provides you the right to drop Medicare without facing penalties later on when you leave work and need to re-enroll. If there are benefits having Medicare as a secondary payer, you should compare them with the tax benefits of having an HSA plan and decide which path is better for you.

    If you do decide to drop Medicare, Social Security rules require a personal interview before approving your request. You also must complete form CMS-1763 — Request for Termination of Premium Hospital and/or Supplementary Medical Insurance. Be warned: Supplementary Medical Insurance is Medicare’s term for Part B; don’t confuse it with Medicare Advantage.


    Connie – Ontario: I’m a 68-year-old U.S. citizen with dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship, and I reside in Canada. When I turned 65, both my Canadian husband (non-U.S. citizen resident) and I qualified for and received Medicare cards (Medicare A only). If we were in an accident or serious illness while in the U.S. that required hospitalization, what would and would not be covered?

    Phil Moeller: You certainly would be able to use your Part A insurance for hospital expenses and related institutional medical care, according to counselors at the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. If your husband’s Part A was valid, so would he, although it’s not clear to me why he would qualify for Part A unless he had spent substantial time working in the U.S. Part A only covers hospital expenses. If you needed to pay for doctors, outpatient costs, medical equipment or drugs, these would not be covered unless you had additional Medicare coverages for which you would need to pay premiums. In that event, you might face stiff late-enrollment penalties for not signing up for Parts B or D of Medicare when you first turned 65 and enrolled in Part A.

    If either of you have Canadian health coverage, which I assume you do, you should explore whether it helps at all with medical needs that occur in the U.S.

    READ MORE: When to consider Obamacare instead of Medicare


    Linda Jo – Mich.: My mother is 93 years old and has been living abroad for several years. Until recently, her Medicare Part B premium was deducted from her monthly Social Security benefit payment. She asked to change this and stop paying Medicare Part B premiums. She was told by a person in a U.S. embassy Social Security office that she could reclaim from 12 to 18 months of payment of the Medicare Part B that had been deducted from her monthly benefit. Is this correct?

    Phil Moeller: I don’t think so, but the Social Security spokeswoman I contacted was not able to give a definitive answer without more specifics about your mother’s situation. By law, Part B premiums must be deducted from Social Security payments for anyone participating in both programs. So the only way to stop these premiums from being deducted is to disenroll from Part B. I assume this is what your mother wanted to do and further assume it’s because Medicare doesn’t cover her outside the U.S., and she doesn’t travel back here enough to want the coverage when she is in the states.

    If she does leave Part B, she normally would not be entitled to any premium refunds. See pages 30 and 31 of this document for details.

    The only wild card here I can think of is whether she may be able to make a case that her effective Part B termination date should have been 12 to 18 months earlier, thereby entitling her to refunds tied to that earlier termination date. Your note makes no mention of this, so my best judgment is that the person in the embassy office was incorrect.


    FOLLOW UP

    Many readers had questions about a recent Ask Phil piece on high-income surcharges for Medicare premiums dealt with how selling a home can affect your premiums.

    Steve – Wyo.: I just read your response to the woman who wondered about the potential effect of selling her home, with a capital gains realization, on her Medicare benefits. Your response clarified the issue with regard to triggering “surcharges” above the $85,000 threshold. What if that capital gain is immediately reinvested in another home? Would it count as income as such?

    Charles – La.: Is this after the $250,000 to $500,000 home sale exclusion (primary home)? Do you understand that gains on the sale of a second home are taxable?

    Sharon – Calif.: If I sell my principal residence and get $500,000 profit, I am qualified for the $500,000 tax exemption for couples so my profit will be zero in my tax return. In my case, I don’t have to worry about IRMAA, do I? [IRMAA stands for the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, which is the mouthful of words used to describe these surcharges.]

    John – Calif.: In 2018, I will be hit with a very substantial MAGI [modified adjusted gross income] surcharge due to a one-time event, the sale of my business in 2016. My annual MAGI after the sale of my business will, once again, be less than $170,000. Is there a way to get my MAGI surcharge removed? I am married and retired in 2016.

    Smilie – Maine: The sale of a primary residence owned and used as such for two out of five years would, under the facts of your recent post, be excluded from capital gain recognition ($250,000 exclusion per spouse), and I believe the instructions to Form 1040 provide that such sales should not be reported. See Internal Revenue Code section 121.

    READ MORE: How selling a home may affect what you pay for Medicare

    Phil Moeller: Thanks to all. It seems to me the key variable here is whether the income event (sale of a home or business for these readers) is included in MAGI. This is the definition of income that is used to calculate IRMAA surcharges. In the case of the sale of a primary residence, only amounts above the exclusion thresholds would be included in MAGI. The sale of a business would be a different matter, as would the sale of a second vacation home (which was the case in the Ask Phil column). Any bump in MAGI that triggers IRMAA surcharges should go away as soon as MAGI declines, keeping in mind that there is a two-year lag between the year the income is taxed and when Medicare premiums are determined. So, as John notes above, his 2018 IRMAA will be determined by his 2016 tax return.


    RECOMMENDED READING

    New Medicare Law to Notify Patients of Loophole in Nursing Home Coverage

    Hospitals have the right to accept patients for what are called observational stays as opposed to formally admitting them. Medicare has different insurance rules for these situations and may charge people more for observational stays than formal admissions, even if the care is identical. In addition, Medicare will not cover subsequent care in a skilled nursing facility if a patient’s hospital stay was only observational. This is a bad policy, as described last year in an Ask Phil column. Under terms of a new law, hospitals will have to at least tell patients their admission status, which might help some people save money or appeal the hospital’s decision while there is still time to do something about it. Better still would be to revise the rules altogether and change the underlying rules. (Source: The New York Times.)

    Closed Social Security offices, furloughed staff under GOP cuts, agency warns

    Social Security Administration officials warn that the latest appropriations bill supported by congressional Republicans would further harm the agency’s already compromised ability to serve growing consumer demand for help. (Source: The Washington Post.)

    CMS’ new star ratings are unfair to teaching and safety net hospitals

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently issued a single star rating on the nation’s hospitals. Its stated goal was to give people a single, easy-to-understand summary of the quality of the nation’s hospitals. Reducing the many complexities of hospital operations and quality to a single indicator has provoked considerable opposition. (Source: Modern Healthcare.)

    CMS also recently added new quality measures to its nursing home star ratings system. As with nearly everything CMS does, these changes also generated concern.

    The post Why doesn’t Medicare cover more for physical therapy? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    law enforcement U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in Warren, Michigan August 11, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane - RTSMQP2

    U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in Warren, Michigan August 11, 2016. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton is poised to meet Thursday with a group of top law enforcement leaders, including the retiring New York City police commissioner who recently said Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy scared him.

    Clinton campaign aides said she will meet in New York with eight leading law enforcement leaders, including retiring commissioner Bill Bratton of New York City and his successor, James O’Neill; Charles Beck of the Los Angeles Police Department and former police chief Charles Ramsey of Philadelphia.

    Other participants include law enforcement leaders from Tucson, Arizona; Seattle; Camden County, New Jersey; and Dallas County, Texas.

    Bratton said in an interview earlier this month with CBS News that Trump’s “shoot from the hip” style and “lack of depth” on policy issues scared him.

    Clinton’s meeting comes as Trump, the Republican nominee, has accused her of being “against the police” and vowed to restore law and order if elected president.

    Aides said Clinton’s meeting had been planned for several weeks and would build upon her outreach to law enforcement during the campaign.

    Following a deadly shooting of police officers in Dallas, Clinton urged Americans to try to walk in the shoes of law enforcement and Democrats had law enforcement officials speak at their summer convention, including Ramsey.

    The post Clinton meeting with top law enforcement leaders in New York appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A graduating student of the City College of New York wears a message on his cap during the College's commencement ceremony in the Harlem section of Manhattan, New York, U.S., June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTX2FKQ8

    A graduating student of the City College of New York wears a message on his cap during the College’s commencement ceremony in the Harlem section of Manhattan, New York, U.S., June 3, 2016. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    By now, Karen Wilk thought she would have sold her five-bedroom house in Colts Neck, New Jersey, and downsized to a smaller home. But she has had to put those plans on hold because her 23-year-old daughter, who is finishing her college degree while working part-time, still lives with her. Wilk’s 27-year-old son moved out two years ago.

    “I don’t want to chase my kids out, but I expected them to be more independent by now,” Wilk, 54, said. “I don’t see my kids affording our neighborhood for a long time.”

    Almost a third of young adults — 18 to 34 — lived with a parent in 2014, making it the most common living arrangement for that age group for the first time in modern history, according to a study published earlier this year by the Pew Research Center. (The Pew Charitable Trusts funds both the Pew Research Center and Stateline.)

    Multiple reasons are behind the trend, lingering effects of the Great Recession, high housing costs and student debt among them. Whatever the causes, millennials in some states are living with their parents in far greater numbers than in others.

    In New Jersey, a whopping 43.9 percent of young people are living with at least one parent, according to a Stateline analysis of 2014 census data from IPUMS at the University of Minnesota. Connecticut (38.8 percent) was second and New York (37.4 percent) was third, followed by Florida (37.2 percent) and California (36.7 percent).

    States with the fewest young people living with a parent were North Dakota (15.6 percent), Wyoming (18.7 percent), South Dakota (19.7 percent) and Nebraska and Iowa (both 20.7 percent).

    Expensive Housing

    In New York City and surrounding states, scarce and expensive rental housing is a major factor pushing young adults to return home, said Dowell Myers, a professor of urban planning and demography at the University of Southern California, who wrote about the economic impact of stay-at-home millennials in a study published earlier this year.

    So-called full nests are also prevalent in other areas where renters are severely burdened by housing costs of more than half of their income, such as Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando.

    The high cost of homeownership is also a factor. Renters who might otherwise be homeowners end up renting longer, tying up the supply for those coming up behind them.

    “Millennials were doubled up at entry levels of their housing life cycle, blocked by older peers who were unable to turn over their apartments for better homes,” Myers wrote in another study he published this year.

    Millennials are the most educated generation ever. But in areas where housing is extraordinarily expensive, a college degree is not necessarily a ticket out of your childhood bedroom.

    Lisa Jacobs holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in photography and one in graphic design. But work has been sporadic, so this year she moved back in with her parents in Somerset, New Jersey.

    “My parents have a lovely home, but nobody’s happy to be living at home at 32,” Jacobs said, adding that she needs to make at least $20 an hour to afford an apartment. “There are plenty of places that would pay me $15 an hour. But that’s not getting me any closer to moving out.”

    A Question of Culture?

    But financial stress may be only part of the story. More young people were living with their parents even before the Great Recession hit. Some see cultural factors at work.

    Debbie Pincus, a psychotherapist who has counseled parents and adult children who live together in New York City and its suburbs, said many of the parents she helps have a tendency to overshelter their offspring.

    “You just have to be careful that you’re not enabling them to avoid going out on their own when they’re ready,” Pincus said. “We baby boomers are very protective of our children. We are less likely to put the kids out and say, ‘Figure it out for yourselves.’ ”

    Resurgent ethnic traditions may be another factor: In the New York metropolitan area, most adult children of Italian heritage live with parents.

    Jason Cerillo, 28, still lives with his parents in the predominantly Italian-American suburb of West Harrison, New York. He said there’s a cultural understanding that he can stay until he gets married.

    “My dad is Italian, and he says, ‘Oh, stay as long as you want, but we do want to retire.’ So I am under some pressure here,” Cerillo said, adding that many of his high-school classmates in the neighborhood also live with their parents.

    In the New York area, “co-residence” rates are also high for people with Irish, Dominican, Puerto Rican and African-American roots.

    Debt and Underemployment

    Cerillo said his monthly student loan payment — $500 — has made it hard for him to move out of his parents’ place, despite having made as much as $42,000 a year working for a software company. He said he hopes to pay down his debt to $20,000 before striking out on his own.

    Indeed, student loan and credit card debt keeps many young adults at home.

    And underemployment among young people like Jacobs in New Jersey, who can’t find the work they trained for, is also a factor, said Christopher McCarty, director of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

    Florida’s official unemployment rate is 5 percent. But McCarty points out that 10.6 percent of workers are unemployed or underemployed, with low-paid jobs they are overqualified for or part-time jobs when they would rather work full-time.

    The underemployment rate is 11.7 percent in California, where Kelley Lonergan, 28, said she had to move back to her parents’ home near Los Angeles four years ago. She lived in a room still decorated with her brother’s video-game posters and kept her clothes on the floor because his closets were still full.

    With an English degree from Brown, Lonergan said she got a part-time school communications job but couldn’t find full-time work.

    The house got even more crowded when her older brother moved back in for a spell. She wrote about the comfort and frustration of living with her parents.

    She said she was relieved to finally move out earlier this year. “I had been living with four people and now I’m living alone and it’s great.”

    Numbers Game

    Myers, the USC professor, predicts that a coming dip in the number of young adults may allow a greater percentage of them to finally find their own housing.

    The number of 25-year-olds has increased every year since 2005, but is projected to start decreasing next year and for the next five years. That’s likely to free up apartments and jobs for younger people at an increasing rate until 2022.

    Robert Dietz, an economist for the National Association of Home Builders, said some cities were slow to adapt to the growth by building more apartments, but are catching up now. He expects older millennials to start buying single-family homes and freeing up apartments.

    “Housing is like a ladder — when there are blockages, it backs up the whole thing, and the millennials are having a hard time getting onto the bottom rung,” Dietz said.

    This story was produced by Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

    The post Where millennials are more likely to live with Mom and Dad appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A whaling boat is seen out on the frozen Arctic Ocean June 7, 2006. The flag in the middle of the boat signals that the whaling crew successfully captured a bowhead whale during the spring hunting season. The crew of the boat will bring the boat ashore before the Apugauti feast when they share the meat from the recent catch with the entire community. Whaling plays a central role in the Inupiat Eskimo culture. Every spring, whaling crews head out onto the thawing ice to catch a bowhead whale. If a whaling captain and his crew are successful, they are expected to share the meat with the entire community at a series of celebrations over the next few weeks. Picture taken June 7, 2006. To match feature ENVIRONMENT ALASKA WHALING   REUTERS/Daisuke Wakabayashi - RTR1ENL5

    A whaling boat is seen out on the frozen Arctic Ocean June 7, 2006. Photo by Daisuke Wakabayashi/Reuters

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Unofficial ballot returns show a majority of voters in one of Alaska’s most eroded communities want to move to safer ground from their tiny island home.

    The Inupiat Eskimo village of Shishmaref held a special election Tuesday asking residents if they should develop a new community at a nearby mainland location or stay put with added environmental protections.

    The city clerk says the unofficial count is 89 in favor of moving and 78 voting to stay. She says that count does not include absentee or special needs ballots.

    The vote is essentially advisory because either scenario would cost millions — money the impoverished community of nearly 600 people doesn’t have. The village 600 miles northwest of Anchorage ultimately will have to search for funding to make the choice a reality.

    The post Most residents of eroding Alaska village vote to relocate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The Uber logo is seen on a vehicle near Union Square in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 7, 2015.    REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo - RTX2C0YV

    The Uber logo is seen on a vehicle near Union Square in San Francisco, California, on May 7, 2015. Photo by Robert Galbraith/File Photo/Reuters

    Edith Stowe, 83, waited patiently on a recent afternoon at the bus stop outside MedStar Washington Hospital Center in the District of Columbia. It’s become routine for her, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

    Stowe, who lives about five miles from the hospital, comes into the medical center twice every three months to get checkups for chronic kidney failure. She doesn’t own a car and relies on buses. During rush hour, buses are more frequent, and she can keep the commute to about 30 minutes. But when she has to come in the middle of the day, it takes her at least an hour to get in and another hour to get home.

    “It’s pretty good except for waiting during non-rush hours,” she said. “When that happens I don’t plan anything else for the day.”

    For people without access to private transportation, getting to medical appointments can be a challenge, especially if they have chronic conditions that require frequent appointments.

    Some hospitals and medical providers think that the hot-new technology in town — ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft — can address this problem by making the trips easier and, in some cases, it is even covered by Medicaid and other insurance plans. Partnerships between ride-hailing companies and hospitals are emerging around the country. While the efforts are still small, some hospitals and medical transportation providers think the potential for growth is large.

    MedStar Health, a nonprofit health care system with hospitals in Maryland and the district began a partnership with Uber in January that allows its patients who use Uber to access the ride service while on the hospital’s website and set up reminders for appointments. Medicaid patients who may not have access to the Uber app can also arrange the ride by calling the hospital’s patient advocates.

    National MedTrans Network, a transportation system that provides non-emergency medical rides for patients and medical providers in a number of states, expanded its services through a partnership with Lyft last year in New York, California and Nevada.

    Hackensack UMC, a hospital in New Jersey, the Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida, and Relatient, a health care communication company have also announced partnerships with Uber in the past year. Veyo, a San Diego startup, says it is offering a ride-hail-like technology for health care appointments in Idaho, Arizona, Texas, Colorado and California.

    “We probably had 50 different systems across the country reach out to us and ask us ‘How did you do it?’” said Michael Ruiz, chief digital officer for MedStar. “I would say that it has been a seismic shift for the people who have used the service and the places we’ve provided it.”

    Patients’ costs for the services vary. For Medicaid patients, transportation for non-emergency medical visits are covered, although the extent of reimbursement depends on state rules. Traditional Medicare does not cover non-emergency medical transportation, although some private Medicare Advantage plans may offer some benefits.

    Getting To Your Doctor

    When going to a medical appointment becomes a hassle, patients are likely to miss the visit, and that can help lead to untreated symptoms or worsening health.

    “Transportation can make it difficult for people to see health care providers on a regular basis,” said Ben Gerber, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has studied patient transportation issues. “It is important to see health care professionals regularly, especially for patients with diabetes or asthma.”

    In a 2013 analysis of 25 studies, Gerber and colleagues found that 10 to 51 percent of patients reported that lack of transportation is a barrier to health care access. One of those studies showed that 82 percent of those who kept their appointments had access to cars, while 58 percent of those who did not keep appointments had that access. Another study reported bus users were twice as likely to skip on appointments compared to car users.

    In addition to concerns about patients’ health, those absences can also be expensive for medical institutions, which lose revenue from the missed appointment.

    Hospitals and managed care organizations do offer a variety of options to assist with transportation for non-emergency medical appointments. Health centers often work with volunteer drivers to pick up and drop off patients.

    Patients can call them ahead of time to arrange a ride, but these services generally require advance planning, which becomes a problem when the patient needs to go in for an unscheduled appointment or if the patient forgets to book ahead.

    Some patients also end up calling 911 for non-emergency situations, potentially diverting resources that could be used for others with more pressing needs.

    Timely Services

    The National Medtrans Network partnership with Lyft began after an incident in February 2015. One of its clients, an elderly woman, was left waiting for a ride to a hospital in New York in freezing weather for 30 minutes. The contracted provider failed to show up.

    “It was almost a dangerous situation,” said CEO Andrew Winakor. When his company was notified of the situation, officials immediately called a ride-hail service. The ride arrived within six minutes. Winakor said Medtrans officials realized they had to find a transportation option that could respond immediately to canceled rides.

    But ride-hailing services do have some disadvantages. Wheel-chair friendly rides are still limited to a few cities. They also depend on the availability of drivers, which might be scarce in rural areas and low-income communities.

    MedStar in Washington, dealt with the problem in one of its hospitals in rural Maryland, where there was a lack of Uber drivers, when a patient there had to travel to the flagship hospital in D.C. for an outpatient surgery at 6 a.m.

    “Our social workers worked with the folks at Uber to be able to coordinate the ride to pick this patient up at 4:30 am, and coordinate the ride back,” Ruiz said.

    Buses, vans and local public transportation for people in wheelchairs come and go frequently in MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s bus center. Stowe is satisfied with the transport options available. While she hasn’t used Uber before, she said it is something she wouldn’t mind trying especially when it gets cold outside.

    “There are times when you come out and you really don’t feel that well. If Uber is here, it’d be really nice to have it,” said Stowe.

    Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You can view the original report on its website.

    The post Medical providers try Uber, Lyft for patients with few transportation options appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Chain link fence and concertina wire surrounds a deserted guard tower within Joint Task Force Guantanamo's Camp Delta at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba March 21, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      SEARCH "GUANTANAMO BAY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. ?? - RTSBT9U

    Chain link fence and concertina wire surrounds a deserted guard tower within Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s Camp Delta at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba March 21, 2016. Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — An Indonesian held for nearly 10 years at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has appeared for the first time at a hearing called to determine whether he should remain in detention.

    The U.S. government says the detainee — Encep Nurjaman, who’s known as Hambali — was a leader of a Southeast Asia-based extremist group known as Jemaah Islamiyah (jeh-MAH’ is-lah-MEE’-uh) that’s blamed for a string of bombings in Indonesia.

    Hambali also is alleged to have had links to al-Qaida.

    He’s been held at Guantanamo since September 2006 and hasn’t been seen publicly there until Thursday’s review panel hearing.

    The panel heard a statement read by a U.S. military officer acting as Hambali’s personal representative. The panel issued no decision on Hambali’s status.

    The post Indonesia prisoner makes first public appearance at Gitmo appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The logo of US motorbike manufacturer Harley Davidson is seen on a "Heritage Softtail" in the western German city of Koblenz, March 1, 2016.         REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay  - RTS945U

    The logo of US motorbike manufacturer Harley Davidson is seen on a “Heritage Softtail” in the western German city of Koblenz, March 1, 2016. Photo by Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Harley-Davidson has agreed to pay $15 million to settle a complaint filed by federal environmental officials over racing tuners that caused its motorcycles to emit higher than allowed levels of air pollution.

    The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement Thursday. According to documents filed in federal court, Harley-Davidson has manufactured and sold about 340,000 “Screamin’ Eagle” tuners since 2008 that allowed users to modify a motorcycle’s emissions control system to increase power and performance.

    According to prosecutors, the “defeat devices” also illegally increased the motorcycles’ emissions of such harmful air pollutants as nitrogen oxide.

    The government said Harley-Davidson also made and sold more than 12,000 motorcycles of various models with the illegal tuners installed on them that were not certified as meeting clean air standards.

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    Aug 9, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;  Conor Dwyer (USA) , Townley Haas (USA) , Ryan Lochte (USA) and Michael Phelps (USA) with their gold medals after the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports - RTX2KRW9

    Aug 9, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Conor Dwyer (USA) , Townley Haas (USA) , Ryan Lochte (USA) and Michael Phelps (USA) with their gold medals after the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay final in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium. Photo by Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

    A Brazil police official said Thursday that Ryan Lochte and three other American Olympic swimmers “fabricated” a claim that they were held at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics.

    Instead, they were in a “rowdy gas station confrontation,” the official said, according to the Associated Press.

    Investigators say a bathroom door was damaged in the incident at a Shell Gas station around 6 a.m. local time, where the swimmers stopped as they headed home from a party, The New York Times reported.

    The swimmers — Lochte, Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and James Feigen — had initially said they were on their way home from a party early Sunday when they were “stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings,” according to a statement issued last week by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

    But what appeared to be inconsistencies in their story brought doubt this week and caused contention among Brazil and U.S. officials during the Rio Olympics.

    On Wednesday night, authorities removed Conger and Bentz from their return flights home and briefly detained and questioned them. Authorities said they would continue questioning Thursday. Feigen had also “been communicating with local authorities,” The Guardian reported.

    Meanwhile, Lochte had already left Brazil.

    Lochte told NBC News last week: “We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” he said. “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so—I’m not getting down on the ground.”

    “And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”

    The International Olympic Committee initially disagreed with this version of events. Spokesman Mark Adams said it was “absolutely not true,” later retracting that statement just before the United States Olympic Committee issued its own confirming the robbery.

    But surveillance footage of the swimmers returning to the Olympic Village raised suspicion, as the group seemed to be behaving normally, even “relaxed,” as they passed their belongings through a metal detector, BBC reported.

    Also, several of Lochte’s statements seemed to contradict his earlier claims. Initially, he said a robber put a gun to his forehead, but on Wednesday said in an interview with Matt Lauer that the gun was pointed in his “general direction.” He added that their taxi was stopped at a gas station when the robbery occurred, after he had previously said that it was pulled over by men claiming to be police.

    The post Brazil police say U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte lied about robbery appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A still image taken on August 18, 2016 from a video posted on social media said to be shot in Aleppo on August 17, 2016, shows a boy with bloodied face sitting in an ambulance, after an airstrike, Syria. Social Media    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. - RTX2LPY9

    A still image taken on August 18, 2016 from a video posted on social media said to be shot in Aleppo on August 17, 2016, shows a boy with bloodied face sitting in an ambulance, after an airstrike, Syria. Photo via Reuters

    An image of an ashen Syrian boy, bloody and dazed in the back of an ambulance, has attracted international attention this week.

    Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who has been identified as the boy in the footage, was injured Wednesday night by an airstrike in Aleppo that partially destroyed the building he was in, the Associated Press reported.

    Rescue workers removed Daqneesh and his family from the rubble of the building, which completely collapsed an hour later, according to the Associated Press.

    They were brought to a hospital with the code name “M10,” a code that doctors in Aleppo use because they say hospitals are a target for airstrikes, according to The Guardian.

    Neither Daqneesh nor his family sustained major injuries, but the Guardian reported that eight others died from that airstrike, among them five children.

    [Watch Video]

    Mahmoud Raslan, the photojournalist who captured the image of Omran, told the Associated Press about an injured girl in the wreckage who survived. “We sent the younger children immediately to the ambulance, but the 11-year-old girl waited for her mother to be rescued. Her ankle was pinned beneath the rubble,” Raslan said.

    Last year, an image of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old refugee from Syria who drowned off the coast of Turkey, received a similar outcry.

    As airstrikes have continued in Aleppo, civil organizations like the White Helmets have formed to help civilians cope with the aftermath. The group operates across Syria, rushing into war-torn sites to rescue survivors, provide emergency supplies and tend to the wounded.

    The White Helmets accept donations at their website.

    The post One Syrian boy’s moment of horror captures the world’s attention appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A protester displays a placard reading "Stop corporate greed. Close private prisons" as he takes part in an Occupy Phoenix demonstration in Phoenix, Arizona October 17, 2011. Occupy Phoenix is part of the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York last month with a few people and expanded to protest marches and camps across the US and abroad. REUTERS/Eric Thayer (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR2SRW7

    A protester displays a placard reading “Stop corporate greed. Close private prisons” as he takes part in an Occupy Phoenix demonstration in Phoenix, Arizona October 17, 2011. Occupy Phoenix is part of the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York last month with a few people and expanded to protest marches and camps across the US and abroad. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department says it’s phasing out its relationships with private prisons after a recent audit found the private facilities have more safety and security problems than ones run by the government.

    Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates has instructed federal officials to significantly reduce reliance on private prisons.

    As of December 2015, more than 22,000 federal inmates — or about 12 percent of the total — were in private facilities. That’s according to report this month from the Justice Department’s inspector general.

    The government started to rely on private prisons in the late 1990s due to overcrowding.

    [Watch Video]

    In her memo Thursday, Yates says the decline in the prison population over the past three years contributes to the decision not to renew private prison contracts.

    The post Obama administration to end use of private prisons appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    BBS2

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: Now to another of our “Brief But Spectacular” episodes. Tonight, we hear from David Remnick, editor of “The New Yorker.” He describes how the magazine has changed over the years.

    DAVID REMNICK, Editor, The New Yorker: I think people’s awareness has to begin at some point, some weird influence that gets them going that makes them enter the world. For me, it was listening to Bob Dylan. I bought my first album. It was called “The Best of ’66,” and it had a song called “I Want You” by Bob Dylan.

    I was six years old. I didn’t know what he wanted exactly but it resonated with me. You guys are fancy, I got to tell you.

    I have been the editor of “The New Yorker” magazine since 1998 and I’ve been a writer here since 1992. It’s changed from being the editor of a weekly print magazine to now a web site, radio show, a television show, floor wax, dessert topping, we’re everything.

    “The New Yorker Radio Hour” is a program that’s both on terrestrial radio and a podcast. Now podcast and radio is renaissance, just as television is in many ways. And if “The New Yorker Radio Hour” is in the thick of that renaissance, I’m very happy.

    Editing is a really complicated process. Get the writer to do the best form of the writer’s version of the piece. An editor who is obnoxious, in my mind, is the kind of editor that said winkingly, that’s kind of my piece. That’s just not what’s done here.

    The greatest feeling of satisfaction is to run across somebody young who has something new to say and saying it in a different way and help that person in some subtle way get to be himself or herself, that is thrilling.

    Not everybody does everything at the highest level. I don’t expect an investigative report to necessarily be the next sense and sensibility. What you want is to be accurate and deep and clear.

    My editor up in New York, when I write, the rare times that I write is a guy named Henry Fender (ph). He might say something like this — very good things here — and if that happens, I know we’re in for a long ride.

    Everybody does his or her job in a moment in time. My moment in time is not only to make the magazine as great as it possibly can be but help us cross this technological and even financial roaring river of change. The Internet is at the center of everybody’s attention and how we come into people’s households or palms or field division has changed radically and I have to leave a “New Yorker” that’s got its soul as well as its technological act together.

    I’m David Remnick and this is my “Brief but Spectacular” view of “The New Yorker.”

    HARI SREENIVASAN: You can watch additional “Brief But Spectacular” episodes at pbs.org/newshour/brief.

    The post The editor of The New Yorker on helping writers find their voice appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    food2

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, economics correspondent Paul Solman spends a little time with a former hedge fund trader turned social entrepreneur, someone who wants to turn the table on food shortages in inner cities by launching an array of eateries in both high-end and lower-income neighborhoods.

    It’s part of our series “Making Sense”, which airs Thursdays on the “NewsHour”.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Sam Polk was formerly a top dog at one of the world’s top hedge funds.

    SAM POLK: Former Hedge Fund Trader: My dad was this sort of Willy Loman character, this sort of out-of-work salesman that could never make ends meet. So when I was on Wall Street, my entire life’s goal was to make more money than the next guy.

    DORCIA WHITE-BRAKE, Groceryships Graduate: Just going to pour a little bit of salsa inside. It’s like your own little bowl.

    MAN: Wow, nice.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Dorcia White-Brake is a teacher’s aide in Los Angeles. Three kids, no car, the nearest supermarket miles away.

    DORCIA WHITE-BRAKE: So I can have, you know, good healthy food that tastes good. I have to take a bus and a train.

    PAUL SOLMAN: When I was 27, I had been on Wall Street for five or six years and I was at this club in Las Vegas, and it was this super-exclusive club and there was $1,000 bottles of champagne, and beautiful women all around. My life finally looked like I’d always wanted it to look. But I basically felt empty.

    DORCIA WHITE-BRAKE: So, basically, I waited six months for this application.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Really.

    DORCIA WHITE-BRAKE: Yes, and I got it and I turned it in and then it seemed like an eternity. I was waiting and waiting and finally I got a call.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Got a call to join the Los Angeles non-profit Groceryships Program, started by Sam Polk.

    SAM POLK: I started Groceryships when I came to understand that people are living in food deserts, where there’s very little produce for sale and tons and tons of fast food.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Groceryships is a six-month scholarship to buy healthy groceries, learn to cook them, and to share.

    SAM POLK: And there’s a box of Kleenex in the center because a lot of time is devoted to sharing about family, about body issues, about self-esteem and so, we have yet to see a group where you start talking about those issues and somebody doesn’t burst into tears.

    DORCIA WHITE-BRAKE: I need my box right now, because, I’m not kidding.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Really? Just talking about it.

    DORCIA WHITE-BRAKE: Yes, because just to be able to tell people about my food disorder. I let so much out in that so circle. Yeah, you know we went through a lot of stuff together. Whatever, whatever I was going through, my Groceryships family went through it with me.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Groceryships is expanding in L.A., but to Sam Polk it’s only prelude to his new venture, Everytable. He’s just opened the first outpost of what he hopes will be a nationwide chain of restaurants, dishing out healthy food, furiously fast, and challengingly cheap.

    DORCIA WHITE-BRAKE: So that means in this s neighborhood, which is south Los Angeles where the per capita income is $13,000 a year, and life expectancy is ten years lower than more affluent areas. We price the meals at $4.

    DAVID FOSTER, Co-founder, Everytable: Four bucks is a great price here compared to fast food, which is the predominant option.

    PAUL SOLMAN: David Foster also left a rich career in finance to join Sam Polk. They’re about to open a second Everytable in upscale downtown L.A., $8 a meal.

    DAVID FOSTER: But eight bucks is also a great price compared to what’s available in the healthy fast casual space downtown.

    PAUL SOLMAN: So, it’s $8 versus $4 for exactly the same food?

    SAM POLK: That’s right. It’s basically making sure that everyone can afford healthy food.

    PAUL SOLMAN: The same healthy food, prepared in the same central kitchen to keep costs low, and, here’s the key innovation, sold at higher prices in wealthier neighborhoods to make up for the super-skinny margins in poor ones.

    SAM POLK: In a world where inequality is clearly growing and becoming seen as structural, we think that this is the time for a new business that questions that fundamental assumption that prices should be the same for everyone.

    PAUL SOLMAN: This is one of the dreams of all sellers, right? It’s price discrimination. You want to charge people what’s they’re actually willing to pay, as opposed to just have one price across the board.

    DAVID FOSTER: We’re not price discriminating in the sense of trying to make as much money off of each customer as possible. We’re actually kind of doing the opposite. We’re saying we don’t need to make much if any money on a lot of our customers, because what’s driving us is not just having a successful, viable company, but more importantly solving this problem that afflicts a lot of people.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Surprised that two guys from Wall Street are doing this?

    DEBRA DIXON, Program Administrator, Ella’s Table: Yes.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Dedra Dixon’s foundation feeds the homeless, getting leftovers from Everytable just one day old.

    DEBRA DIXON: There’s not too many places t around in our community unfortunately where you can get salads, you can get these meals. And so, yes, that two guys from Wall Street can come down into south L.A. and say there’s a need here that needs to be met by way of food and meet that need, I am very surprised. But grateful.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Like other entrepreneurs we’ve covered, trying to bring good food to the desert, in Philadelphia, in Boston, Polk sees the need everywhere.

    SAM POLK: Eventually, we’d like to see an Everytable store in every neighborhood in the country.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Thousands?

    SAM POLK: I would say tens of thousands. We have over 50 investors, including some of the biggest venture capital funds in the country.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Including many of their high-flying former colleagues.

    But despite the enthusiasm for do-good ideas like this, people aren’t exactly leaving Wall Street in droves for more meaningful careers.

    SAM POLK: I think we all have inside us both ambitions which are things that we want for ourself– you know, money, power, prestige. And we all have aspirations to contribute or make the world a better place. It just so happens that we live in a culture as a whole where ambitions are celebrated more than aspirations and it’s almost like Wall Street is the most distilled part of that culture.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And like any culture, it reinforces its norms in casual conversation.

    You know, what is your net worth? How many sticks have you made this year?

    SAM POLK: How many sticks?

    PAUL SOLMAN: You call a million dollars a stick on Wall Street.

    SAM POLK: So, you say: I’m up ten sticks to say I have ten million in profits this year. My bonus in my last year on Wall Street was more than my mom, a nurse practitioner midwife had made for her entire life. And I was 30 years old.

    PAUL SOLMAN: It had taken three years after the emptiness epiphany in the Vegas nightclub, but at 30, as he explained in for “The Love of Money”, a “New York Times” op-ed piece that went viral and has now been turned into a book.

    SAM POLK: I came to understand that even though that billionaire siren song was really attractive, that in another way, that came to seem like a good way to waste your life. You go to Wall Street and you make all this money and then you’re 70 years old and you’re on your deathbed and —

    PAUL SOLMAN: Hey, wait a second- – not 70 on your deathbed. How about upping that number just a bit?

    SAM POLK: Ninety on your deathbed.

    But at the end of the day, I felt like I wanted to be truly proud of what I’d done with my life.

    PAUL SOLMAN: As for David Foster —

    DAVID FOSTER: There are a lot of smart people working in finance, and I’d go as far as to say that there are too many smart people working in finance and that thee value I was adding versus a replacement player was kind of negligible. I thought that there was something out there in the world, a bigger problem that needed solving, beyond being another person working in the private equity industry.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Or another chef cooking for the one percent.

    CRAIG HOPSON, Executive Chef, Everytable: Hi, I’m Craig Hopson. I’m executive chef here at Le Cirque in New York.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Hopson went from haute cuisine to Everytable.

    CRAIG HOPSON: It could be thousands of people a day that buy the Everytable meals. So, I mean the audience is unlimited. Le Cirque, not so much.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And Hopson too speaks in sound bites that would sound hokey if they weren’t so obviously earnest.

    CRAIG HOPSON: It’s great to be able to be proud of what I’m doing and be able to give back to the people that really need it and to make a difference in the world.

    PAUL SOLMAN: And speaking of hokey lines, make a difference they do.

    DORCIA WHITE-BRAKE: Bon appetit.

    PAUL SOLMAN: This is economics correspondent Paul Solman, putting on the pounds, healthfully, in south Los Angeles.

    That’s really nice.

    The post The Wall Street millionaire bringing healthy food to those in need appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Jason Rezaian (center), one of the U.S. citizens released from detention in Iran, walks with his wife Yeganeh Salehi (third from left), mother Mary Rezaian (second from right, covered) and brother Ali Rezaian (left) outside the Emergency Room of the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in the southwestern town of Landstuhl, Germany, on Jan. 20, 2016. The person at right is unidentified. Photo by Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

    Jason Rezaian (center), one of the U.S. citizens released from detention in Iran in January 2016.  Photo by Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Thursday that a $400 million cash payment to Iran seven months ago was contingent on the release of a group of American prisoners.

    It is the first time the U.S. has so clearly linked the two events, which critics have painted as a hostage-ransom arrangement.

    State Department spokesman John Kirby repeated the administration’s line that the negotiations to return the Iranian money — from a decades-old military-equipment deal with the U.S.-backed shah in the 1970s — were conducted separately from the talks to free four U.S. citizens in Iran. But he said the U.S. withheld the delivery of the cash as leverage until Iran permitted the Americans to leave the country.

    Both events occurred Jan. 17, fueling suspicions from Republican lawmakers and accusations from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump of a quid pro quo that undermined America’s longstanding opposition to ransom payments.

    Kirby spoke a day after The Wall Street Journal reported new details of the crisscrossing planes on that day. U.S. officials wouldn’t let Iran bring the cash home from a Geneva airport until a Swiss Air Force plane carrying three of the freed Americans departed from Tehran, the paper reported. The fourth American left on a commercial flight.

    Earlier this month, after the revelation the U.S. delivered the money in pallets of cash, the administration flatly denied any connection between the payment and the prisoners.

    “Reports of link between prisoner release & payment to Iran are completely false,” Kirby tweeted at the time.

    The money comes from an account used by the Iranian government to buy American military equipment in the days of the shah. The equipment was never delivered after the shah’s government was overthrown in 1979 and revolutionaries took American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The two sides have wrangled over that account and numerous other financial claims ever since.

    President Barack Obama has said his negotiators secured the U.S. a good deal on a busy diplomatic weekend that also included finalizing the seven-nation nuclear accord. But he and other officials have consistently denied any linkage.

    “We actually had diplomatic negotiations and conversations with Iran for the first time in several decades,” Obama said Aug. 5, meaning “our ability to clear accounts on a number of different issues at the same time converged.”

    “This wasn’t some nefarious deal,” he said.

    The agreement was the return of the $400 million, plus an additional $1.3 billion in interest, terms that Obama described as favorable compared to what might have been expected from a tribunal set up in The Hague to rule on pending deals between the two countries. U.S. officials have said they expected an imminent ruling on the claim and settled with Tehran instead.

    Some Iranian officials immediately linked the payment to the release of four Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who had been held in Iranian prisons.

    Another of the prisoners, pastor Saeed Abedini, also had linked the two events. He said that as the prisoners waited for hours at an airport to leave Iran, a senior Iranian intelligence official informed them their departure depended on the plane with the cash. U.S. officials had pinned the delays on difficulties finding Rezaian’s wife and mother, and ensuring they could depart Iran with him.

    House and Senate Republicans have peppered the Obama administration for more details about the transaction.

    Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said Thursday he sees congressional hearings “as the only way for the American people to fully know whether their tax dollars went directly to Iran’s terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.” Kirk is chairman of the Senate Banking national security subcommittee. No hearing dates have been set. Congress returns from a lengthy recess after Labor Day.

    The House Financial Services Committee hasn’t yet decided whether to hold hearings. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., who chairs the Financial Services oversight and investigations subcommittee, asked the Treasury and Justice departments and the Federal Reserve last week to provide all records related to the $400 million payment as well as the names of government officials who authorized the payment and those who objected to the cash transfer. Duffy wants responses by Aug. 24.

    Associated Press writer Richard Lardner contributed to this report.

    The post U.S. says $400 million to Iran was contingent on release of prisoners appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A still image taken on August 18, 2016 from a video posted on social media said to be shot in Aleppo on August 17, 2016, shows a boy with bloodied face sitting in an ambulance, after an airstrike, Syria. Social Media    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX2LPY8

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s hard not to be moved by images like that, but some pictures capture the world’s attention more than others.

    We begin with an image that emerged last night from the frantic attempts to rescue people caught in the aftermath of air strikes. And again, another warning: some images in this story may disturb some viewers.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Airstrikes are Aleppo’s terrible routine. This one hit an apartment a building in the city’s rebel-held area. Amateur video captured the frantic scramble to save lives amid horror.

    Then, a boy, pulled from the rubble, sits in an ambulance. He’s dazed, bloodied, covered in dust. He wipes his face. His name: Omran Daqneesh. Age five. He survived without major injuries. So did his parents and three young siblings.

    Almost immediately, his image swept across social media worldwide, making Omran the latest symbol of heartbreak in the now-five year old conflict.

    But do such images spark action? If so, when? And how?

    Last year, as the refugee crisis swelled, one photo came to embody the tragedy. A drowned, three-year-old Syrian boy, pictured lying face down on a Turkish beach. It galvanized European leaders to review how they take in refugees and asylum-seekers.

    Other instances had less impact. In 2012, a documentary about Ugandan war-lord Joseph Kony went viral. It detailed the brutal tactics of his “Lord’s Resistance Army,” and the group’s use of child soldiers. With the hashtags “Kony 2012” and “Stop Kony,” it sparked global calls for his arrest. But four years later, Kony reportedly remains at large.

    And in April 2014, the Islamist group Boko Haram seized more than 270 girls from their school in northeast Nigeria. It led to the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, repeated and circulated by prominent figures like first lady Michelle Obama.

    But this week, new video from Boko Haram surfaced showing dozens of the girls still in captivity, more than two years later.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: We take a closer look at the power of these images with Anne Barnard, “The New York Times” Beirut bureau chief, and Susan Moeller, she is a professor in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She’s also author of “Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War and Death.”

    Anne, I want to start with you. Every day on social media, there are more graphic, more violent pictures of little children than this. What is it about this image of the little Omran that connected?

    ANNE BARNARD, The New York Times: Well, you know, speaking for myself, I see pictures that are literally gruesome beyond belief, that are hard to process mentally, and they are painful and compelling in one way. But this picture resonated in some ways because it’s easier to connect to, it’s a child in distress. So many of the — it’s almost ineffortable to explain why but some of the gestures he made could easily remind you of a child you’ve known. Some of the — you know, his clothing, he was wearing a shirt with a Nickelodeon character on it.

    I think it’s like with Alan Kurdi, who’s body was — he was dead but his body was intact and it reminded people, you know, of a child sleeping on a beach. And I think in a way that’s more shareable in a social media age than a really gruesome picture of death.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Susan, why did this picture pop? Why did it get around the world in 20 seconds?

    SUSAN MOELLER, International Center for Media and the Public Agenda: I think one of the reasons is because the child is looking at us. But with a blank stare, where often we see on the news and we see in relief aid agency comment that, you know, help this child, and the child is looking at us, and it almost seems like the child is asking us to do something.

    And Omran was also that same pleading character.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So, Anne, what impacts do these images have the potential to yield?

    ANNE BARNARD: Well, you know, that’s a mixed bag. We can certainly think of examples in history like the famous picture of the girl burned by napalm by the U.S. military in Vietnam, that arguably changed public opinion and maybe moved policy ultimately.

    I think, on the other hand, many images go viral or touch people for a moment and then people move on.

    So, I think, certainly, among Syrians on all sides of the conflict, there is an increasing mix of anger that comes up when people express sympathy about an image like this because it’s, like, well, really? You only just notice now that this is happening after five years? And it happened enough times without anything changing that people’s expectations are really low.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Susan, is it a potential for a government policy shift or people moved on a certain level?

    SUSAN MOELLER: As Anne suggests that normally government policy doesn’t shift with images. There may be rhetoric, there may be a press conference held, there maybe sympathy expressed, but you don’t typically get change. What you do get is attention, and with enough attention, then you may get reaction that has an effect.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Anne, are people motivated to take action? Are there cases where it might not be a government policy shift but individuals mobilize to such an extent that there is impactful change?

    ANNE BARNARD: Well, I certainly have had many people ask me, how can I help people like this? What organizations are doing work that can help civilians caught in this conflict?

    Other advocacy groups are jumping on this to say, well, this is — enough is enough, it’s time to take more robust action to stop these air strikes by the Russians and the Syrian government. Others are, you know, saying, well, there is not an easy answer. Some people don’t find this a reason to change U.S. policy.

    So, it depends on the person. Some reactions are political, some are more humanitarian, but I do think a lot of people felt it like a punch in the gut, even I did after all this time covering the conflict.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Susan, what are people left to do about it? Is writing a check the answer? I mean, there is a sense of helplessness when you see this image, too.

    SUSAN MOELLER: Yes, I think Omran has become, you know, the current poster child for Syria for this moment in time, just like Alan Kurdi did a year ago, and we’ve had other small children do in years’ past.

    And I think a poster child does help us reach into our wallets, reach into our pockets, and give. I wrote a book called “Compassion Fatigue”, and in that, I suggested that one of the reasons why people sometimes say enough is when they feel helpless, is when they feel like they can’t make a difference. And I think, being able to figure out how to make a difference can be something that a photograph like Omran can do. In other words, identifying an aid agency.

    Alan Kurdi, for example, in the 24 hours after that photograph appeared, just one refugee agency received almost a quarter million dollars. So, we can say that help is given that wouldn’t have been given otherwise.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Anne, is there a correlation between things that we can do at home, say a Confederate flag issue or an LGBT issue that people get fired up about versus things overseas that might require the action of different governments and armies and tanks to move into places?

    ANNE BARNARD: Well, I do think people find it a bit opaque how they can affect foreign policy, especially nowadays in the era of just wars that are going on behind the scenes and with drones.

    And I do think, however, that, you know, now that there is a more active protest movement going on in the United States, anything can happen. But again the issues are very complex and multi-sided. You know, people remember that the war in Iraq was a huge failure and they’re wary of the Middle East in general, they don’t know much about it.

    And I also think there is an element that we’ve seen, there is a fear of Muslims and an element of racism and there is perhaps a conflation of innocent Muslim civilians with a fear of terrorism that is an obstacle to empathy for many people.

    And so, pictures like this hopefully, whatever your political stripe remind you that we’re talking about just ordinary human beings.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Anne Barnard of “The New York Times” joining us from Beirut, Susan Moeller of the University of Maryland — thanks for being here.

    SUSAN MOELLER: Thank you.

    The post Will the haunting image of an injured Syrian boy make a difference? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    syriababy2

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    HARI SREENIVASAN: But first, the fight for life in Aleppo, Syria, for a badly injured young woman and her unborn baby boy. This story comes from filmmaker Waad al-Kateab, who tracked the quiet and relentless efforts to save both mother and child. It is narrated by Matt Frei of Independent Television News. A warning, this story contains graphic images and may upset some viewers.

    MATT FREI, Independent Television News: Everything you’re about to see happened over 48 hours in July in Aleppo.

    On the streets outside, the sound and fury of war.

    (SIREN WAILING)

    The toll that day: 45 dead, dozens wounded. But inside: the reverential concentration of ant makeshift theater. The woman on the operating table is called Maisa. She is nine months’ pregnant and she was caught up in one of the bombings when she was on her way to the hospital, by foot, close to labor.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see. Wipe it with a swab. Examine her hand and see if there is shrapnel. There isn’t anything. Give me the scalpel.

    MATT FREI: In explosion, she broke her right arm and leg, but what the doctors are concerned about most is the shrapnel in her belly.

    Did it kill her baby?

    They want to perform an emergency cesarean.

    What you’re witnessing is the fight to save one new life. In a city that is more used to dealing with untimely deaths in the operating theater, the fight for life appears victorious.

    But there seems to be a problem.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is his heart beating?

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No, I’m sorry.

    MATT FREI: The doctors fight on. They’re now in danger of losing both child and mother. The struggle to save new life is visceral, instinctive, perhaps because outside death comes so easily.

    Then the umbilical cord twitches — proof of life.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He’s getting a rosy color now.

    (BABY CRYING)

    MATT FREI: And the most elemental sound of all.

    (BABY CRYING)

    MATT FREI: More powerful for a brief moment than Aleppo’s daily cry of death.

    The post In ravaged Aleppo, the fight for survival can begin before birth appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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