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- 08/23/16--05:45: _Traffic deaths up n...
- 08/23/16--07:21: _Congress scolds pha...
- 08/23/16--07:40: _What parents and th...
- 08/23/16--08:03: _Bill Clinton to red...
- 08/23/16--08:46: _Ask the Headhunter:...
- 08/23/16--09:26: _A perfect marriage ...
- 08/23/16--10:07: _Today’s immigration...
- 08/23/16--10:25: _Donald Trump’s fund...
- 08/23/16--11:11: _This device turns n...
- 08/23/16--11:21: _Florida reports non...
- 08/23/16--15:05: _Why we should be th...
- 08/23/16--15:10: _To combat climate c...
- 08/23/16--15:15: _Why is WikiLeaks pu...
- 08/23/16--15:20: _Assessing whether c...
- 08/23/16--15:30: _Green Party nominee...
- 08/23/16--15:40: _Obama surveys Louis...
- 08/23/16--15:50: _News Wrap: In Afgha...
- 08/24/16--05:12: _Biden calls on Turk...
- 08/24/16--05:23: _Where do the presid...
- 08/24/16--07:00: _Photos: Rescuers fr...
- 08/23/16--05:45: Traffic deaths up nearly 20 percent since 2014, government says
- 08/23/16--07:21: Congress scolds pharmaceutical company’s price hike on EpiPens
- 08/23/16--07:40: What parents and the public need to know about sepsis
- 08/23/16--10:07: Today’s immigration debate rooted in ‘Reagan amnesty,’ experts say
- 08/23/16--10:25: Donald Trump’s fundraising lags behind Romney’s, documents show
- 08/23/16--11:11: This device turns neon plasma into natural patterns
- 08/23/16--11:21: Florida reports non-travel Zika case near Tampa
- 08/23/16--15:05: Why we should be thinking of sexual intimacy in terms of pizza
- 08/23/16--15:10: To combat climate change, these scientists are turning CO2 into rock
- 08/23/16--15:20: Assessing whether corporal punishment helps students, or hurts them
- 08/24/16--05:12: Biden calls on Turkey to be patient in Gulen case
- 08/24/16--07:00: Photos: Rescuers free survivors after earthquake in Italy
WASHINGTON — Traffic fatalities were up 9 percent in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, continuing a surge in deaths that began two years ago as the economy improved and travel picked up, according to preliminary estimates released Tuesday by the National Safety Council.
An estimated 19,100 people were killed on U.S. roads from January through June, said the council, a congressionally chartered nonprofit that gets its data from state authorities. That’s 18 percent more than two years ago at the six-month mark. About 2.2 million people also were seriously injured in the first half of this year.
The council estimates the cost of these deaths and injuries at about $205 billion.
At that rate, annual deaths could exceed 40,000 fatalities this year for the first time in nine years, the council said. More than 35,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, making it the deadliest driving year since 2008, when more than 37,000 were killed.
“Our complacency is killing us,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, the safety council’s president and CEO. “Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death.”
U.S. drivers have also put in a record 1.58 trillion miles on the road in the first half of this year, a 3.3 percent increase over the same period in 2015, the Federal Highway Administration said this week.
States with the biggest increases since the upward trend began in late 2014 include Vermont, up 82 percent; Oregon, 70 percent; New Hampshire, 61 percent; Idaho, 46 percent; Florida, 43 percent; Iowa, 37 percent; Georgia, 34 percent; Indiana, 33 percent; California, 31 percent and Wisconsin, 29 percent.
“While many factors likely contributed to the fatality increase, a stronger economy and lower unemployment rates are at the core of the trend,” the council said in a statement. Another likely factor: Average gas prices for the first six months of this year were 16 percent lower than in 2015.
The council also predicts that 438 people will be killed on the nation’s roads over the three-day Labor Day weekend that begins Sept. 2, which would make it the deadliest Labor Day weekend since 2008.
Historical data show that after peaking in the 1970s, traffic deaths have generally trended downward, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Large dips in deaths have corresponded to shocks to the economy — the oil embargo of the mid-1970s, the recessions of the early 1980s and early 1990s and the more recent downturn that began in late 2007 with the subprime mortgage crisis.
During the Great Recession triggered by the housing crisis, the number of miles Americans put on the road each year plunged and fatalities dropped to levels not seen since Harry Truman was president.
The council’s tallies of traffic fatalities differ slightly from those of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because the council includes motor vehicle deaths that take place in parking lots, driveways and other nonpublic roadways.
The post Traffic deaths up nearly 20 percent since 2014, government says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Move over, Martin Shkreli. Get in line, Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Congress appears to have found another drug maker to scold over high prices.
Responding to the high cost of the EpiPen auto-injector for reversing life-threatening allergic reactions, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Monday wrote Mylan Laboratories asking for pricing data on the device.
At the same time, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate price hikes taken by Mylan. Klobuchar happens to be the ranking member of Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee.
And Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also wrote the company for data about assistance programs to patients and first responders. And he also demanded that Mylan lower its price.
As STAT recently reported, Mylan has raised the list price of EpiPens more than 450 percent since 2004, after adjusting for inflation, according to Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database. A pack of two EpiPens cost about $100 in today’s dollars in 2004, but the list price now tops $600.
Twice last year, Mylan raised the price on EpiPen — its biggest-selling product — by 15 percent and raised it by another 15 percent last May, according to Wells Fargo analyst David Maris.
The price hikes were made easier by a lack of competition. Last fall, Sanofi recalled its own injector due to dosing problems, and Teva Pharmaceuticals, an erstwhile rival, failed to win regulatory approval for an injector last spring.
“There does not appear to be any justification for the continual price increases of EpiPen,” Klobuchar wrote FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a letter today in which she called the price hikes “outrageous. … Manufacturing costs for the product have been stable and Mylan does not need to recover the product’s research and development costs because the product was on the market years before Mylan acquired it in 2007.
“Not only is this alarming price increase unjustified, it puts life-saving treatment out of reach to the consumers who need it most. EpiPen expires after a year, meaning consumers are required to buy new EpiPens annually. However, due to the increasing cost, some people are being forced to carry expired doses of EpiPen, hoping the product will work even past the expiration date. Others are considering using less expensive, traditional syringes, which require more training and are potentially more dangerous.”
The issue is gaining traction for a couple of reasons.
In general, the overall issue of rising prescription drug costs has been part of the national conversation for more than a year. Much of the attention has focused on Valeant and Turing Pharmaceuticals, which used to be run by Shkreli, after those companies bought older medicines and quickly jacked up the prices by sky-high amounts. But concern over high prices has also extended to newly launched medicines for such hard to treat ailments as hepatitis C and cancer.
Controversy over EpiPen, however, has gained particular traction thanks to price hikes Mylan has taken on several drugs, as well as the new school year getting under way.
Some states require schools to stock EpiPens, which are spring-loaded syringes filled with epinephrine. As parents start sending their children off to schoolhouses around the country, they face an increasingly large medical expense for which many are not prepared.
Everyone may feel the brunt, though, according to Grassley. “The cost of an EpiPen prescription has implications for the federal taxpayers, as well,” he wrote to Mylan Chief Executive Heather Bresch. “Over 40 percent of children are insured through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It follows that many of the children who are prescribed EpiPens are covered by Medicaid, and therefore the taxpayers are picking up the tab for this medication.”
Late last week, Senator Bernie Sanders chimed in, a move that quickly gave the EpiPen controversy increased visibility. He told NBC News that “the only explanation for Mylan raising the price by six times since 2009 is that the company values profits more than the lives of millions of Americans.” And he tweeted that “there’s no reason an EpiPen, which costs Mylan just a few dollars to make, should cost families more than $600.”
In her letter, Klobuchar suggested the FTC look at whether Mylan has used incentives or exclusionary contracts with insurers, distributors, or pharmacies to deny alternative products access to the market. She noted at least one other autoinjector, Adrenaclick, is available.
But while it is less expensive, sales are “minimal,” presumably because insurance is spotty, she wrote. “There may be benign reasons for EpiPen’s market success, but the FTC should consider other potential explanations,” she maintained.
In response to Klobuchar, a Mylan spokeswoman wrote us that the drug maker sponsors several programs to increase access, including a patient copay card that the company maintains helped nearly 80 percent of those with commercial insurance receive EpiPen for nothing.
Mylan also says it has donated autoinjectors to schools — approximately 700,000 since 2013 to about 65,000 schools.
The relationships with school districts, however, may work to Mylan’s advantage. Two years ago, for instance, the company agreed to provide free EpiPens to a Michigan school district, but in return, the schools had to agree not to buy competitive products for the next 12 months, according to The Macomb Daily.
This sort of arrangement encourages parents to stick with a product that has proven it can work.
“Ensuring access to epinephrine — the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis — is a core part of our mission,” she wrote us.
At the same time, Mylan also blamed health plans for forcing more patients on to high-deductible coverage that requires more out-of-pocket costs. Again, specific figures were not provided, but the spokeswoman maintained these plans account for the segment of patients for whom the copay card is insufficient.
Blumenthal, however, challenged Mylan to provide information about its co-pay card, which he claimed maxes out at $100 and asked the drug maker for details on how patients can cover the balance of the cost.
Despite Mylan’s moves, Wells Fargo’s Maris believes the escalating publicity is a sour development for investors. “Depending on the election outcome and Senator Sanders potential role on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, we do not think in the long run Mylan benefits from this type of focus despite the benefit price may be to near-term earnings,” he wrote in an investor note over the weekend. “Price increases can increase scrutiny and reputational risk.”
Mylan shares slid 1.6 percent on the Nasdaq at the close of the market on Monday.
The post Congress scolds pharmaceutical company’s price hike on EpiPens appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
After Rory Staunton fell at the gym and cut his arm in March of 2012, the 12-year-old became feverish and vomited during the night, complaining of a sharp pain in his leg. When his parents called his pediatrician the next day, she wasn’t worried. She said there was a stomach virus going around New York City, and his leg pain was likely due to his fall.
However, she advised his parents, Orlaith and Ciaran Staunton, to take the youngster to the emergency department because he might be dehydrated. There hospital workers did some blood work, gave him fluids and sent him home.
The next day Rory’s pain and fever were worse. His skin was mottled and the tip of his nose turned blue. The Stauntons raced back to the hospital, where he was admitted to intensive care. The diagnosis: septic shock. Rory was fighting a system-wide infection that was turning his skin black and shutting down his organs. On Sunday, four days after he dove for the ball in gym class, Rory died.
“It was frightening to think that something could kill my son so fast and it would be something that I had never heard of,” said Orlaith Staunton.
She’s not alone. Sepsis kills more than 250,000 people every year. People at highest risk are those with weakened immune systems, the very young and elderly, patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer or kidney disease and those with illnesses such as pneumonia or who use catheters that can cause infections. But it can strike anyone, even a healthy child like Rory.
Sepsis is a body’s overwhelming response to infection. It typically occurs when germs from an infection get into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. To fight the infection, the body mounts an immune response that may trigger inflammation that damages tissues and interferes with blood flow. That can lead to a drop in blood pressure, potentially causing organ failure and death.
Yet many people don’t know about sepsis. Meanwhile, health care providers struggle to identify it early. There’s no simple diagnostic test and many symptoms — elevated heart and respiratory rates, fever or chills, pain — are common ones that are present in many conditions.
Now, a growing number of doctors, hospitals, patient advocates and state and federal policymakers are pushing to educate consumers and clinicians and ensure procedures are followed that focus on prevention and early detection.
The Stauntons established a foundation to raise awareness about the deadly infection, and in 2013 New York became the first state to require all hospitals to put in place procedures for its early recognition and treatment. This month, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law requiring similar actions by hospitals in that state.
The federal Centers For Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to release a study Tuesday about sepsis as part of an effort to draw attention to the importance of prevention and early detection of the disease.
“Early treatment is vital,” said Dr. Anthony Fiore, chief of the epidemiology research and innovations branch at the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “It’s an emergency that you need to deal with, like heart attack and stroke.”
When sepsis advances to septic shock, characterized by severely low blood pressure, each hour of delay in administering antibiotics decreases the odds of survival by an average 7.6 percent, one study found.
In 2013, sepsis, or septicemia as it’s sometimes called, accounted for nearly $24 billion in hospital costs, the most expensive condition treated. Up to half of people who get it die. Many cases are related to health care, such as catheter use or an infection acquired in the hospital, but large numbers come from outside the hospital, too.
As the front line in identifying these cases, emergency departments typically have sepsis protocols in place to screen for the disease.
“The work you do in those first three to six hours in the emergency department makes more difference in cost than the whole next several weeks in the ICU,” said Dr. Todd L. Slesinger, emergency medicine residency program director at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center in Aventura, Fla., who co-chairs a task force on sepsis at the American College of Emergency Physicians, which has developed a tool to help emergency department staff screen and treat the condition.
Last fall, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services started requiring hospitals to measure and report on efforts to screen for and treat the illness. In addition, Medicare sets penalties for a variety of hospital-acquired conditions, including high rates of post-operative sepsis.
Patient advocates and policymakers agree that patients themselves are key to improving its prevention and early detection. Good hygiene can help prevent sepsis, including cleaning wounds. If someone gets injured, look for signs of sepsis, including rapid breathing or heart rate, confusion, fever or chills and pale or discolored skin.
Don’t assume health care providers have it covered, experts advise. If you or someone you’re caring for has these symptoms, ask the health care provider directly: “Do you think it might be sepsis?”
The post What parents and the public need to know about sepsis appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The Clinton Foundation will undergo some big organizational changes if Hillary Clinton becomes the next president.
In a statement released Monday, Bill Clinton said he would reduce his role at the foundation — which has been heavily criticized in recent weeks by Donald Trump — if Hillary Clinton beats Trump in the fall.
Clinton said he would stop fundraising for the foundation and step down from its board, effectively removing himself from the nonprofit’s chain of command.
The foundation would limit its donors to “U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and U.S.-based independent foundations,” Clinton said. The move would restrict donations from foreign governments, contributions that came under scrutiny when Hillary Clinton was the secretary of the State Department.
Additionally, the foundation’s official name would change from the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation back to the Clinton Foundation. This would be the foundation’s second official name change in the past three years; the nonprofit was rebranded in 2013 as well, when Hillary and Chelsea’s names were added.
Bill Clinton’s announcement included an acknowledgement of the political challenges the foundation has posed for the couple since he started it after leaving office.
Should Hillary Clinton become president, he said, “the Foundation’s work, funding, global reach, and my role in it will present questions that must be resolved in a way that keeps the good work going while eliminating legitimate concerns about potential conflicts of interest.”
Clinton also said the restructuring has been in the planning stages for months. But the announcement also comes at a time when the foundation is under intense attack from Donald Trump.
The Republican nominee stepped up his criticism on Monday, calling for an independent special prosecutor to investigate “the coordination between the pay-for-play State Department and the corrupt Clinton Foundation.”
The post Bill Clinton to reduce foundation role if Hillary Clinton wins election appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.
Question: I am in a technology program at a local community college and trying to score my first job in the field. Since I am a newbie, my salary expectations are realistically low. However, most entry-level jobs I apply for require an Associate of Science and two to five years of experience. How do I stand out when I don’t satisfy the basic requirements? Thanks!
Nick Corcodilos: I have a soft spot for college students and new grads, because schools promise you a degree and “a future,” but fail to teach how to get a job.
You don’t need a degree to get your first job. You need someone who wants to help you, because they see you’re worth recommending to their boss. The challenge is that you have to show them why you’re worth it. Without going to this length, nothing good will happen for you.
You’re wise to ask how to stand out. All I’m pointing out is that there’s a crucial difference between standing out in job applications and standing out to a real, live human being who can help you.
If you can’t satisfy the requirements that HR publishes in a job posting, you need to go around them. You can stand out from your competition by making contacts who will introduce you to a manager and to people who will recommend you. Your competition isn’t doing that; they’re applying for jobs on forms. Presto — you stand out.
This isn’t so hard.
Pick three companies you want to work for. You must choose, or simply responding to ads becomes a total crapshoot. You must focus on these few companies. No kidding — turn it into a sort of Pokemon hunt. (I don’t play, but it’s a decent analogy.) Find the coordinates: Where do people connected to these companies hang out online and in the real world? Where do they gather to talk shop? Go there. Watch them, learn about them, talk to them. Don’t ask for a job.
Start by legitimately making friends. Ask them about their work and their company. Inquire about the technical challenges they face and how they overcome them. Learn. Be patient. As you foster decent back-and-forth dialogues, you will earn the right to ask, “Hey, how does someone like me, with no degree yet, but who has lots of motivation and is willing to work their butt off, get some kind of tech job at your company? Can you give me some advice?”
(Again, do not ask for a job. That turns people off. It’s what makes “networking” icky. But people love to give advice. They even love to help, as long as you don’t make it their problem.)
Then be quiet. Listen. Think about what they told you before saying anything else. Forget about your ideas about how to get in the door. How can you do what they suggested?
If it’s nothing for now, let it go, but stay in touch. Cultivate more friends like this. Don’t be mercenary, don’t do it just for a job. Do it because you actually like them and are interested in what they do. (I can’t stand people who “network” selfishly.) But meeting new people by pushing yourself to start dialogues about “the work” is a healthy thing whether you’re looking for a job or not.
The more people you get to know like this, the closer you’ll get to someone introducing you to a manager or recommending you for a job or internship. About 60 percent of jobs are found and filled this way — not via job boards.
Standing out takes time and effort, but that’s what credibility costs to develop. Make it totally legit — if something feels slimy or awkward, don’t do it. Be honest. Learn to express interest in others’ work — they love to talk about it. That will lead them to give you advice and help you.
This is what gets you in the door and into circles of people who do the work you want to do. Companies pay me loads of money to bring them people I meet this way — and I have a ball because it’s honest, fun, and it’s good business.
Check these Ask the Headhunter articles for more suggestions: “New Grads: How to get in the door without experience” and “Ask The Headhunter In A Nutshell: The short course.”
That’s how to get your first job. Stand out. Be worth recommending.
I compliment you for pursuing a job before you graduate — there is no reason why you shouldn’t. Don’t let “requirements” in job postings stop you — that’s just HR setting up obstacles. Go around the obstacles. Go around HR. Become the job candidate HR claims it really wants — someone referred by a company employee.
Let me know what develops. Just remember: You have to develop it.
No matter what LinkedIn or some job board’s advertising tells you, employers aren’t going to come to you with a job because you filled out a form. It just doesn’t work that way, no matter how much people want it to. There’s a massive employment industry out there that will brainwash and program you to hit the apply button, to wait for the algorithms to process you, to follow the rules, to not stand out and to keep applying while they cash in on your frustration and desperation. It’s frankly unnerving how many people rationalize and justify a system that they know doesn’t work for them.
And please forget about conventional “networking” — it’s unfortunately become a very mercenary, distasteful practice that makes people feel they need to wash their hands when they’re done.
Become a new friend who’s worth helping.
Dear Readers: How did you get your first job out of school? How would you advise this eager student?
Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”
Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!
Copyright © 2016 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.
The post Ask the Headhunter: How to get your first job before you even graduate college appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
To create art that exists outside the traditional white box of gallery space, the husband and wife team of Katy Flaccavento and Zachary Christopher use light and sound as their paint, and old buildings or rock formations as their canvases.
“We want to our art to be available to a broad audience, open to anybody who would stumble upon it,” Flaccavento said.
Creating stunning outdoor installations, the Denver couple works under the name Knomad Colab because their art is always on the move (nomadic) and is a collaboration of technology and nature. It’s also temporary, lasting just one or two days.
The couple usually does a site survey to plan for the installation. Sometimes they get a permit for where they’re working; sometimes not. The audio is often composed in advance, occasionally it is improvised on the spot.
“We’re a bit guerrilla in that way,” Flaccavento said. “We try to anticipate different elements but we can’t predict everything. We certainly can’t predict the weather, and that’s partly what is exhilarating. You never know exactly what you’re going to run into.
The lights that they use are very lightweight and portable, which allows them to hike into remote areas. And they’ve engineered some simple ways to affix the lights so that the original structures aren’t harmed.
They initially supported their work through crowdfunding. “It was always from small donations by people who enjoy what we do. We’re not talking rich patrons,” said Flaccavento with a laugh. They also seek out grants and get some support from the German lighting company Astera.
Flaccavento says their lifestyle is very minimalist. “We try to put 50 percent of any money we raise directly into the art and then we live on the rest.”
The couple has also experimented with selling photos of their projects, but they say it’s no substitute for the real thing.
“For us, the art is the experience outdoors. A photo is just an artifact of that, it’s not the art,” said Flaccavento.
This story originally appeared on “Arts District,” a production of Rocky Mountain PBS. The producer was Leslie Dodson, videograpaher was Paul Cywilko and editor was Dave Wruck. Local Beat is a weekly series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.
The post A perfect marriage of light and sound turns caverns and bridges into art appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — For more than a decade, lawmakers have been pointing at their counterparts to take the blame for what just about everyone agrees is a broken immigration system.
Republicans say President Barack Obama’s immigration enforcement policies encourage more people to sneak into the country. Democrats blame Republicans for blocking legislation that would allow people already here to gain legal status and create a path for future, legal immigration.
But whatever specific policies are being fought over now, immigration experts say the problem took root at least 30 years ago, when President Ronald Reagan signed a 1986 immigration law that has become known as the “Reagan Amnesty” and allowed roughly 3 million people in the country illegally to gain legal status.
The 1986 law was intended to create a new era of enforcement, including strict enforcement of the new law that barred employers from hiring workers who don’t have permission to work in the United States. But that never fully materialized.
Immigration laws were overhauled again in 1990 under Republican President George H.W. Bush and again in 1996 under Democratic President Bill Clinton.
Obama has tried in his eight years in office to overhaul them once again, but nothing has passed.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he will fix the system, build a wall along the border with Mexico and perhaps deport many of the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally. But this week he has indicated he may back off from that idea.
“We’re going to build the wall, and we’re going to stop it. It’s going to end,” Trump said earlier this year. “We’re going to have a big, beautiful wall.”
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has pledged to push comprehensive immigration reform and to act on her own, as Obama has, if Congress doesn’t approve such a measure.
Trump and Clinton have laid the blame for the current state of immigration — and the estimated 11 million people living and, in many cases, working illegally in the United States — on the other party.
But experts disagree.
“I think there’s a lot of blame to go around and spread around for decades,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director for Center For Immigration Studies, a Washington think tank describes itself as “low-immigration, pro-immigrant.” ”There isn’t one person responsible.”
Instead, he said, the problem lies in how the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986 was implemented. He described the passage of the bill as something of a “con-job” that allowed millions of immigrants in the country illegally to have legal status with a promise of workplace enforcement and other measures to curb future illegal immigration.
But that didn’t happen, he said. And there was little incentive to follow through on promises of strict workplace enforcement, he said, once millions of people were legalized.
“I definitely view this as the 30-year problem,” said Doris Meissner, who headed the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service under Bill Clinton and is now a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington.
Meissner said the 1986 bill was intended to “clear the decks” of most people living in the country illegally while curtailing future illegal immigration.
But thirty years after the amnesty bill became law the stringent workplace enforcement many expected, and mandated use of the government’s E-Verify system for employers to check the legal work status of prospective hires, is still being debated by lawmakers and the business community. Multiple iterations of federal legislation to require employment verification have been defeated in Congress.
Meissner said the ability of people in the country illegally to continue to find work during the economic boom of the 1990s was a significant incentive for more to come.
And while an average of about 1.3 million people a year were caught crossing the border illegally over the decade of the 1990s, the Border Patrol was relatively small, not growing above a force of 10,000 until 2002.
Meissner says part of the problem was the two immigration laws that followed in 1990 and 1996 that she said did very little to create a legal path to the United States for low-skilled workers. The government does have a pair of visa programs for seasonal agriculture workers and others who are considered seasonal, nonagricultural workers, but Meissner and other critics of the program argue that it is not sufficient.
“There is no line to get into,” Meissner said. “This is why at the end of the day we need updated laws, we need immigration reform.”
Instead, she said, the focus was on enforcement and making it easier to deport immigrants in the country illegally.
As that happened, the estimated population of people living in the country illegally rose from a few million in the late 1980s and early 1990s to today’s estimated 11 million people.
The focus on enforcement may also have created an inadvertent incentive for immigrants in the U.S. illegally to stay in the country for fear that it would be harder if not impossible to get back in if they left, said Stuart Anderson, executive director at the non-partisan National Foundation for American Policy.
Many people made the decision to stay and try to avoid federal law enforcement as long as they could, he said.
“I don’t think anyone would say that policy was successful,” Anderson said.
In recent years the immigration debate has focused on enforcement versus what to do with the millions of people already living here illegally.
The post Today’s immigration debate rooted in ‘Reagan amnesty,’ experts say appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump portrays himself as an indispensable cash resource for fellow Republicans. So far, they’re not seeing much of a benefit.
The presidential nominee’s July fundraising provided the Republican National Committee with less than half as much as Mitt Romney’s efforts four years ago, an Associated Press review of the campaign finance documents found.
“Typically you see the nominee lift everyone up,” said Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of Trump’s defeated primary rivals. The battleground state features a critical Senate race this year, but Trump has all but ignored the Ohio state party. “This time, if anything, everyone else is carrying his water.”
The RNC received $18.1 million from joint fundraising with Trump last month, but only $10.6 million can be used to help Republicans — including Trump — win elections this fall, the filings show. The remainder is earmarked for convention and legal proceedings accounts, or was eaten up by Trump-centered fundraising costs.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus defends Trump as a strong fundraising partner for Republicans. Trump has made the same argument.
“I’m the one that’s raising the money, and other people are getting to use the money that I raised,” Trump said in an Aug. 11 interview with Fox News, adding that he is “raising a lot of money for the Republican Party.”
The Trump campaign said that as of Aug. 1 his victory accounts contained $37 million to be disbursed to his campaign, the RNC and other partners. Trump’s national finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, said it was a strategic decision not to transfer the money right away.
“It has been a major priority of Donald to fundraise for the party, and the money for field expenses helps not only him but the rest of the ticket,” Mnuchin said Monday.
Still, each day that money isn’t in action puts Republicans a little further behind. Election Day is fewer than 80 days away, and early voting in some states begins in a few weeks. Effective voter contact and turnout operations are time-consuming and costly.
Mnuchin said there is “plenty of money” available. “We’re deploying money as we think we need to deploy money,” he said.
Andrew Weinstein and more than 100 other Republicans wrote an open letter to Priebus earlier this month urging the RNC to ditch Trump and focus on Senate and House candidates. Weinstein said Trump’s lackluster aid to others “validates our entire point.”
“He’s all downside and no upside for the party,” said Weinstein, a former communications director for Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign.
Beyond the RNC, Trump could be helping state parties directly. But he has been particularly stingy with the states that have the toughest Senate elections, such as Ohio and New Hampshire, where Sens. Rob Portman and Kelly Ayotte could be key to maintaining GOP control of the chamber.
Trump’s joint fundraising agreement overlooks those and other states, instead naming 11 partners that are somewhat head-scratching. Several of them, including West Virginia and Tennessee, don’t have a Senate race and are expected to vote Republican in the presidential, while Democrats are heavily favored to win Senate races in other states, such as New York and Connecticut.
Mnuchin called the choice of benefactors a “strategic decision” and declined to explain it.
Regardless, the Trump Victory Committee hadn’t transferred money to any of his state allies as of July 31.
In another change from 2012, Trump is not helping raise money for the National Republican Senatorial Committee or the National Republican Congressional Committee; Romney’s joint fundraising account included both groups.
Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, is taking a broader approach to helping fellow Democrats. Her fundraising agreement spans 38 state and territory party groups and provided them at least $20.3 million last month, federal filings show. That doesn’t include money used for the convention.
The Republican nominee has had a touchy relationship with his party, from threatening to quit the party and run as an independent to disparaging GOP stars and withholding endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Raising money for others could help smooth things over, and that may be a reason Trump frequently talks up his efforts. When he formed his fundraising partnership in late May, Trump told the AP he is only raising money because “the RNC really wanted to do it, and I want to show good spirit.”
Consistently claiming others as the focus of his fundraising also helps Trump obscure his change from a mostly self-funded primary candidate to one who raises money like everyone else.
The self-reliance talk has continued even though it’s no longer entirely true. At a rally Saturday in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Trump said: “I have no donors telling me what to do. I’m my donor.”
That same day, his July finance report showed he gave his campaign $2 million and raised more than $34.7 million from donors other than himself. That means he was about 5 percent self-funded last month.
The post Donald Trump’s fundraising lags behind Romney’s, documents show appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
From zebra stripes to a honeycomb lattice, nature features breathtaking patterns. Now, physicists based in China have found a way to recreate these natural motifs in 3-D — using just a little electricity. Their new device discharges plasma — air and argon gas charged with electricity — or the same stuff found in neon lights. Using different voltages, the researchers were able to create various 3-D shapes in the plasma.
“To experts, this work could advance the development of plasma physics,” co-inventor Lifang Dong of Hebei University told the NewsHour. “But to non-experts, it could explain a whole range of natural phenomena.”
This work began in 2000, when Dong started noticing natural patterns while working with dielectric barrier discharges (DBD). DBD is an electrical discharge technique utilized in tasks like water purification, dying fabrics and sterilizing medical instruments. But Dong’s creation, reported today in the journal Physics of Plasmas, is the first version able to manipulate patterns in 3-D.
Human society has spent centuries investigating mysterious shapes in nature.
The Golden Ratio, dating back to ancient Greek mathematicians, is a numerical pattern that dictates everything from how sunflower seeds are arranged to how pinecones get their symmetrical shape. Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonnaci took things one step further with his Fibonnaci sequence — numbers that follow the Golden Ratio — to explain animal horn growth and shell spirals.
In 1952, Alan Turing, the famous computer scientist, discovered how these patterns appear in nature. He described a reaction-diffusion model, where chemical reactions cause compounds to spread into these patterns. Since its development, Turing’s model has been used to explain leopard spot patterns, chick feathers and the ridges in the mouths of unborn mice.
Applications of Turing’s model, however, have been confined to one- or two-dimensions, like drawings on pieces of paper. Every element in nature, down to the tiniest molecule, exists in 3-D.
Dong and his team’s research fills this void. Their device placed two copper rods in water on either side of an “H” shaped middle chamber, filled with air and argon gas. Power sent through the copper electrified the water. The contact between the electrified water and the gas-filled gap causes a chemical reaction that creates plasma. The plasma settles in myriad ways depending on the voltage, creating different natural patterns.
Traditional DBDs have just a single gap — like an “I” instead of an “H” — allowing only a 2-D view of pattern. But Dong’s “H” shape has three gaps for the plasma, which allow for a 3-D view of the pattern. It’s like looking at a triple-layer cake. With the single-gap, I-shaped DBD, you can only see the outside of the cake. But with the new H-shaped gap, you can cut into the cake, seeing the layers inside.
This technology can serve more than natural pattern recreation, Dong said. DBDs form the basis for materials called photonic crystals, which in turn, fine tune light for telecommunications products for airplane landing strips, power grids, WiFi, cell phones, microwaves and radar. Dong’s device increases the range of possibilities for photonic crystal engineering.
But for right now, Dong and his team will continue to look for classic patterns from nature.
“I hope that people can take what we’ve developed and use it to better understand the wonders of nature,” Dong said.
The post This device turns neon plasma into natural patterns appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Florida’s governor announced five new non-travel cases of Zika virus, including one in Pinellas County in the Tampa Bay area. Health officials, however, are still investigating if this incident is a one-off occurrence or an indication of active transmission in the area. If the latter, it would be the first case of local transmission reported outside of Miami-Dade County, which has recorded 41 cases without links to travel.
“In Pinellas County, the Department of Health and Pinellas County Mosquito Control are already working together and have begun aggressive spraying and mosquito abatement efforts,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement. “Any pregnant woman who would like to receive a free Zika test or a Zika prevention kit should contact the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.”
The governor’s office said health officials would begin door-to-door screening in Pinellas County to identify the affected area. Similar surveillance has cleared 76 blocks of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood and narrowed the impacted area to less than half a square mile.
Elsewhere, South Dakota reported its first travel-related case of the virus, which causes birth defects.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, for one of our “NewsHour” essays.
As students across the country prepare to return to school, Peggy Orenstein, the author of the recent book “Girls & Sex,” shares ideas on how young men and women should rethink intimacy in their relationships.
PEGGY ORENSTEIN, Author, “Girls & Sex”: For several years now, we have been engaged in a national debate about sexual assault on campus.
No question, it’s crucial that young people understand the ground rules for consent. But that’s where the conversation is ending, and when it does, the media and the Internet, that new digital street corner, will educate our kids for us.
If we truly want young people to engage safely, ethically and, yes, pleasurably, it’s time to have frank, honest discussions about what happens after yes.
One thing that’s clear is that we have to broaden our definition of sex beyond intercourse, because, despite the hype, kids are not having intercourse at a younger age, but they are engaging in other behavior. And by ignoring that, by allowing kids to label other acts as not sex, they are not subject to the same rules.
That opens the door to both risky behavior and disrespect. That’s particularly true of oral sex, which teenagers considers less intimate than intercourse, at least if boys are on the receiving end.
The young women I met had a lot of reasons for participating. It made them feel desired. It boosted social status. It could also get them out of an uncomfortable situation.
I heard so many stories of one-sided encounters that I began asking: What if every time you were with a boy, he expected you to get him a glass of water from the kitchen, but he never got you a glass of water?
The girls would laugh and say: I never thought about it that way.
Sex is political, as well as personal, just like the question of who does the dishes in your home or who vacuums the rug. It raises similar issues of personal power, mental health and economic disparity.
Al Vernacchio, a Pennsylvania educator, has suggested that one way to level the playing field is to get rid of it entirely, replacing that infamous baseball metaphor with something else: pizza.
Think about it. You decide with your companion whether you feel like a pie. If you do, you negotiate the toppings. Maybe you like mushrooms and I like pepperoni, so we go halfsies. But if I keep insisting on pepperoni and you keep kosher, you will stop going out to pizza with me.
It’s all about a shared encounter in which everyone is equally invested in their fellow diner’s pleasure. It works regardless of sexual orientation.
Discussing contraception, disease protection and consent with our teenagers is important, but it’s not enough. We need to call out the forces that urge boys to see girls’ limits as a challenge to overcome, that tells girls male pleasure is more important than their own.
Boys need to see models of masculinity that are not grounded in aggression and conquest. Girls need to be taught to articulate their needs, desires and limits and expect those to be respected.
Both sexes need to learn how to balance responsibility with joy, to transform from baseball players to pizza eaters.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You can find our entire collection of essays online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Essays.
The post Why we should be thinking of sexual intimacy in terms of pizza appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a key to slowing climate change. Scientists based in Iceland have made a major breakthrough by transforming carbon dioxide, or CO2, into rock.
And the head of the research group says it’s possible that 40 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions could be dealt with by adopting their techniques.
Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant has been to Iceland to examine this promising discovery, and he reports now as part of our Breakthrough series.
MALCOLM BRABANT: I’m standing about 1,000 feet up a volcano that last erupted about 2,000 years ago. The temperature underground here is about 620 degrees Fahrenheit. According to geologists, this volcano could blow at any time. But that could be any time within the next 1,000 years.
The process of turning carbon dioxide into rock is happening about 6,000 feet below my feet silently. But up here, you can really sense the visceral power of Mother Nature. The only sensation I can compare it to is being rather close to the launch of a space shuttle.
WOMAN: This is Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. The thermal energy is transported towards Reykjavik, where we heat our houses and take showers and so forth.
EDDA ARADOTTIR, CarbFix Project Director: So, as a byproduct of the ongoing energy production, geothermal gases like CO2 are emitted to the atmosphere. But we have been working towards reducing these emissions, capturing them and reinjecting them into the ground and turning them into rock.
MALCOLM BRABANT: The techniques pioneered here are said to be safer than the alternative of storing CO2 as a gas underground, with its expense and potential for leaks.
Under the right conditions, nature takes hundreds of years to transform CO2 into stone. What the scientists have done is to accelerate the process exponentially.
EDDA ARADOTTIR: This represents methods that can be used for fighting global warming and climate change. And to that respect, it’s a powerful box.
So, this is calcium carbonate. And this is what the CO2 injected into the basalt turns into after the chemical reactions have occurred. This one is not representative of what we would see if we were to drill a core or dig a hole into the bedrock where we are injecting the CO2. Rather, we would see something like this, where we have the calcium carbonate in smaller particles.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Carbon dioxide is an invisible gas. But it is ever-present in geothermal areas like this one, where there are hot springs and mud pools.
Iceland’s volcanic rock makes it the perfect test bed for CarbFix. Geologist Bergur Sigfusson drove up the volcano to point out the key ingredient for this chemical reaction: basalt.
BERGUR SIGFUSSON, Geologist: Here we are standing in a basaltic lava field. These rocks here are essentially the same as we are injecting our CO2 into, approximately 5,000 feet below sea level. The basalt contains all the necessary elements we need to combine with the CO2 to form minerals in the subsurface.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Professor Siggi Gislason is the head of the scientific team running this experiment. Among the participating institutions, Columbia University in New York.
As he explains, the key toy ensuring there are no gas leakages is to dissolve the CO2 in water before injecting it into the bedrock.
SIGGI GISLASON, CarbFix: We simulate the injection by having here pure water, pure water that goes in here. And then we have the CO2 that we put in the stream.
It’s something similar to what we have at the CarbFix site, where we have CO2-charged water that enters the basaltic rocks at depth. What we have done so far is a small project, but it’s beautiful, because we have shown that you can actually mineralize CO2 within two years in reactive rocks like basalts.
And that’s the safest way of storing carbon in the earth.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Here, engineers are drilling to extract samples from the carbon dioxide-infused rock. This method requires huge amounts of water to dissolve the CO2, so it can be penetrate the porous and permeable basalt. Twenty-five tons of water is needed for every ton of carbon dioxide.
At present, the CarbFix project is neutralizing 10,000 tons of CO2 a year.
Project director Edda Aradottir:
EDDA ARADOTTIR: We’re looking at a core that was drilled into the CarbFix injection site. And we see when we look at it that, inside the basalt, we have carbonate minerals already formed containing the injected CO2.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Hildigunnur Thorsteinsson is the head of research and development at Reykjavik Energy.
How significant is what you are doing here?
HILDIGUNNUR THORSTEINSSON, Reykjavik Energy: I think the CarbFix project is one part of the solution. I think the problem with climate change and what makes it so difficult is that there is no silver bullet. And so the CarbFix project isn’t a silver bullet, but it’s certainly, certainly another weapon in our armory.
MALCOLM BRABANT: So, how much of the world’s carbon could you get rid of if you employed this around the world?
HILDIGUNNUR THORSTEINSSON: I don’t have the exact numbers, but we do have significant potential in the ocean ridges, in countries like India that could really use this technology.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Only a few places on land, like Northern California and Southern Oregon, have the right kind of geological composition to make this work.
But since basalt is plentiful on the ocean floor, burying CO2 Offshore just might work for other countries trying to contain the greenhouse gas.
To the west of Iceland and slightly closer to the North Pole is the Jakobshavn Glacier in Western Greenland, which is a barometer of climate change. During the 20th century, it alone was responsible for 4 percent of rising ocean waters. Due to warmer sea temperatures, the glacier is shrinking at the rate of 10 miles a year, and spawning a greater number of icebergs of the size that sank the Titanic.
Professor Rene Forsberg is a climate specialist at Denmark’s Technical University.
RENE FORSBERG, Technical University of Denmark: It’s a sign of global warming that Greenland is melting rapidly, the ice sheet is melting rapidly, producing more icebergs. And we know that it’s warmer in Greenland now on average than it’s been for many years. So this is what we see here, that the icebergs get more frequent. They get larger also to some degree.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Because it is self-contained within the geothermal power plant, the CarbFix solution cannot be used for capturing CO2 from planes, cars and ships like this one in a Norwegian fjord.
But Professor Gislason believes there should be international law requiring countries to start using this new technique.
SIGGI GISLASON: The more diffuse emissions like from jets, cars, et cetera, is going to be more complicated, but still 40 percent of the emissions could theoretically be captured and stored in rocks.
There is no question we need legislation to force people to do this. But do you want to do this by an emission trading scheme? Do you want to do it by carbon taxes? Or do you want to do it strictly, directly by legislation. If you do this, then you capture the CO2. It has to be done because it is expensive. And that is the Achilles’ heel of all of the carbon capture and storage. It is expensive.
MALCOLM BRABANT: But even here in Iceland, it’s not being used to its full extent.
BERGUR SIGFUSSON: Seventy-five percent of the CO2 is emitted at the moment. Of the CO we take up to the surface, approximately 25 percent are reinjected directly to form the carbonates, minerals.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Why are you only injecting 25 percent of the carbon dioxide that you are produce into the ground? Why aren’t you going full out and putting in 100 percent?
HILDIGUNNUR THORSTEINSSON: CO2 emissions from geothermal energy are not very large. And so we — but we saw an opportunity here to test a very interesting technology, which we did. And we even proved it works faster than we thought it would.
Now, as for future development, we haven’t decided on that. So we might expand at a later point, but we just haven’t made that decision.
MALCOLM BRABANT: But if you’re trying to save the planet, why don’t you put in 100 percent?
HILDIGUNNUR THORSTEINSSON: Well, when we were testing the technology, we didn’t know if it would work. And so we only started injecting two years ago. We’re still proving that we can keep it all down there, everything turns to minerals.
As the future progresses, we might do more. We haven’t decided.
MALCOLM BRABANT: The scientists aren’t resting on their laurels. They’re trying to determine whether they can speed up the process still further.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant in Iceland.
The post To combat climate change, these scientists are turning CO2 into rock appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: For a decade, the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks has published online millions of original documents and other material — leaks that have exposed the inner workings of the National Security Agency, the U.S. military and State Department, the Saudi government and, most recently, the Democratic National Committee.
But a new report by the Associated Press says that many private individuals are caught up in the disclosures.
William Brangham has more.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The AP went through a sampling of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks released in the last year, and found many personal details about private citizens, Social Security numbers, medical files, sensitive family and financial information.
In what the AP calls particularly egregious, WikiLeaks published the names of two teenage rape victims, as well as the name of a Saudi citizen who’d been arrested for being gay. That revelation could endanger the man’s life because, in Saudi Arabia, being gay is punishable by death.
Joining me now from Paris is Raphael Satter, one of the AP reporters who wrote this story.
Raphael, thanks for being here.
I wonder if you could tell us, what made you, first off, want to do this deep dive into WikiLeaks in the first place?
RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press: I covered the Saudi files released back in 2015, and there was an enormous amount of newsworthy information in there.
But as we were going through the files with my colleague Maggie, who co-wrote today’s story, we noticed that there was a lot of irrelevant information in there, too, including a few medical files. Now, at the time, we sort of shrugged it off. We thought, well, maybe there are a couple of stray files in there.
But we flagged it for further research. And, finally, this year, we have gone back and done some digging.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We mentioned that there was the mention of the Saudi man who had been arrested for homosexuality. What sorts of other things did you find in this — in these documents?
RAPHAEL SATTER: We found all kinds of things.
If it’s personal or sensitive or family-related, we found it. So, we found details of custody battles. We found parents writing to authorities about missing children. We found details of elopements, of divorces, of partners who had sexually transmitted diseases, partners who had AIDS, people who were in debt, in distress, in all kinds of financial difficulty, and, of course, some of the cases that you mentioned earlier, that is to say, people who were raped, including children who were raped.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you have any sense of why these documents were released? I mean, this seems to go at odds with WikiLeaks’ stance as a longtime advocate of privacy for individuals.
Why are these types of documents and this kind of information contained in there?
RAPHAEL SATTER: It’s difficult to know for sure.
I don’t speak for Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks, and I can’t say exactly what goes into these releases. Assange has indeed said that private information would be protected. In fact, he said explicitly that his site would take care with medical data.
For whatever reason, that doesn’t appear to have happened here. And even though I have been trying to get in touch with Assange for the past couple of weeks, he hasn’t spoken to us or offered us any kind of explanation for why this happened.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I know that, in the past WikiLeaks, has worked with journalists, who will then go through some of this information before it’s released and redact information to try to protect people’s data.
Do you have any sense why that didn’t happen in this case?
RAPHAEL SATTER: That kind of thing has not happened for some time, at least not at any great scale.
That indeed happened in 2010 with the release of Bradley Manning’s U.S. diplomatic documents. WikiLeaks worked very closely with journalists from The New York Times and The Guardian and other publications.
But WikiLeaks’ stance on this kind of thing has hardened. And they now argue that any redactions, any redactions at all kind of feed the propaganda that information can be dangerous, and they’re very much against that. Or they say that they’re very much against that.
So, lately, although I believe there have been some redactions left and right, overwhelmingly, the material comes out raw, that is to say, unfiltered.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We reached out to WikiLeaks for comment. And they got back to us and basically argued that none of this is new, this information has been out there for a while, and that you and the AP have some kind of animus against WikiLeaks, and that’s why you’re trying to make a big story out of this.
What’s your response to that?
RAPHAEL SATTER: Well, I have worked with WikiLeaks on several stories, including stories about surveillance in Syria.
And, in fact, my colleague Maggie and I covered the Saudi cables very aggressively last year. That’s one of the reasons we first came across these documents, and no one else did.
I think that WikiLeaks has produced an enormous amount of newsworthy material, but I reject the idea that we somehow did this because we had an agenda. In fact, I have been thinking about this story for the better part of a year.
And the truth is that the fact that I’m here right now speaking with you and speaking with others over the past few hours is a testament to the fact that this story is, in fact, quite new, and I think very disturbing.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Let’s say that I’m someone whose information is contained in these — in this dump of information. Is there any route for me to appeal to WikiLeaks to get my private information taken off their Web site?
RAPHAEL SATTER: That’s a great question.
And that’s a question that we got a lot from the people that we got in touch with. People talked to us in a panic, those who would talk us to, and they said, what can I do? What are my next steps? Who do I write to? Who do I call to get my information taken off this site?
We’re talking about deeply private data, like whether or not a bride was a virgin when she got married. And the truth is, I don’t know. I have asked WikiLeaks. I have asked — I have tried to get that message to Julian Assange. And we have no response. As far as I’m aware, there is none.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Raphael Satter from the Associated Press, thank you very much.
RAPHAEL SATTER: Thanks for having me.
The post Why is WikiLeaks publishing private individuals’ personal information? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first: A new investigation examines the use of corporal, or physical, punishment in public schools. And that is the focus of our weekly education segment, Making the Grade.
The practice is far less common than it used to be, but a report in the journal “Education Week” finds that it’s still utilized in 21 states. And more than 100,000 children were physically punished in one recent year.
Proponents say it can be an effective way to motivate children to behave, but much research suggests otherwise.
We begin with the story of a 19-year-old in Mississippi Trey Clayton, who was paddled repeatedly in high school because of discipline problems.
The piece was produced by our partners at Education Week.
Mississippi leads the nation in the percentage of schools that use corporal punishment.
TREY CLAYTON, Mississippi: My name is Trey Clayton. I’m 19 now. My paddling took place Independence High School eighth grade.
School was fun. I got along with everybody. I was a good student. I just didn’t — I didn’t do my schoolwork. I didn’t do my homework. But, you know, I did good on my tests.
I guess I was happiest at school when I was playing football. I spent a lot of years in school getting in trouble. I have been caught with cigarettes, arguing with people, trying to fight people and stuff. I ran my mouth a lot. I didn’t really like getting told what to do.
But if I had the choice to get paddling, I would usually choose paddling, just to get it over with, because I didn’t want to spend time in school suspension, in ISS, or — because my parents always told me, don’t ever choose suspension, you know, because you don’t need — you can’t miss school. You will miss school.
It’s like any other day. I’m in trouble. My buddy’s in trouble. We’re talking. The librarian starts telling us to hush. I just had something smart to say back. And — but I know I was going to get paddled. I chose paddling.
So, I get three licks. They started to escort me to class. We walk out of his office. I went to walk around him and just woke up on the floor. I felt something in my mouth. And I start holding my hand out just to see what it is. And I start spitting out teeth, like shards of my teeth.
I done bit through both sides of my tongue. I have got one tooth already missing, and my jaw’s broke. And my mouth stays wired shut for six weeks.
When all this happened, we was taking what they call nine-week tests. And in the middle of them is when all this happened, so I never finished them. They never gave me the opportunity to retake them. So, it failed me for that year.
When I had to go back to the eighth grade at the same school, I just didn’t go to school much. And I failed again, until, finally, I was just like, there’s no sense in me staying, doing this.
Well, I have a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old. Now, the 2-year-old is not mine, but I take care of her as she is mine. But I love them. I love them to death.
I do believe in discipline. You know what I’m saying? I do believe they need to know what’s right and what’s wrong. But what happened to me, I wouldn’t want to happen to them. I wouldn’t want them to deal with that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Trey Clayton’s family filed a lawsuit against the school district, but they lost. The family eventually dropped the case. The current school superintendent in that district says corporal punishment is still used there, but that it’s — quote — “used very judiciously now.”
Jeffrey Brown has a closer look at all of this with Sarah Sparks of the Education Week team.
JEFFREY BROWN: Sarah Sparks, welcome to you.
I think a lot of people would be surprised at the continuing prevalence of this thing. Were you and your colleagues?
SARAH SPARKS, Education Week: We were a little surprised at how many states are still using corporal punishment.
We found 21 states and more than 4,000 schools were using physical discipline.
JEFFREY BROWN: All different age levels, grade levels?
SARAH SPARKS: Absolutely.
We found from kindergarten all the way up through high school, there were at least some students at every level.
JEFFREY BROWN: Also surprising and notable in your stories were how much policies can and do vary state to state and even within states.
SARAH SPARKS: Right.
In some districts, it was even school-by-school differences. There is no official training, not much guidance, and not a whole lot of accountability on how corporal punishment gets meted out.
JEFFREY BROWN: What about law?
SARAH SPARKS: We have 29 states who have outlawed corporal punishment; 21 allow it to some degree or another. And from state to state, the policies and practices differ tremendously.
JEFFREY BROWN: So, define terms here. What do we mean by corporal punishment?
SARAH SPARKS: We use the federal government’s definition, which is generally paddling, spanking, any physical discipline that is done to a child.
JEFFREY BROWN: Did you find other kinds of punishment?
SARAH SPARKS: We did.
The data set that we used doesn’t differentiate by what implement gets used. We found everything from paddling with a 20-inch wooden paddle to some cases of chemical spray or even a Taser.
JEFFREY BROWN: And we should say, the data comes from the federal government, right, civil rights?
SARAH SPARKS: Right.
This is the most recent civil rights data from the Education Department. It’s for the 2013-’14 school year.
JEFFREY BROWN: And you also found in the data a disproportionate cases involve African-American children and lower-income children.
SARAH SPARKS: Right.
I was very surprised that black students were twice as likely as white students to experience corporal punishment. If you’re in a state that uses corporal punishment and you’re low-income, you’re also significantly more likely to be in a school that uses it.
JEFFREY BROWN: So, in the case of a student like Trey Clayton, who we saw in the video, do you see that as a special case, or as typical?
SARAH SPARKS: It’s typical of the risks of using corporal punishment in schools.
Trey Clayton said that his corporal punishment was a little more severe than he was used to, but Trey had been paddled many times in school before. And we just don’t know what made him pass out in his case that incident.
JEFFREY BROWN: The arguments that you often heard in favor of this are that it’s an alternative to suspension, for example.
SARAH SPARKS: Right.
We heard from people who were very much against corporal punishment, all the way to people who were defending corporal punishment, that this is something that could be used to get a kid disciplined quickly and bring them back to school. And it’s used for everything from talking back in class to fighting in the halls.
But the research shows that, in the long term, it can have the exact opposite effect that educators think it will and hope it will have. We have studies that find higher aggression rates, higher defiance of adults. There was even a recent neurological study that found students who had experienced corporal punishment several times over time had lower brain matter in the part of the brain associated with self-control.
So, there’s some negative side effects to this.
JEFFREY BROWN: And are people in places where they’re doing this aware of that? Or what was their reaction when you pointed out the research?
SARAH SPARKS: For the most part, they weren’t aware, but also had a sense of, this is part of our community. This is something that we as educators grew up with, and the kids that we have paddled over the years have grown up to be good people.
So, I think there’s a lot of community support in some of the areas that still heavily practice corporal punishment.
JEFFREY BROWN: And let me ask you finally, what rights, if any, do parents have if they want to keep their children from being subjected to corporal punishment?
SARAH SPARKS: In some states, parents are allowed to opt their child out of corporal punishment.
But that opt-out doesn’t carry the force of law. And from what we have seen in the lawsuits that have been brought over the years, you don’t stand a very good chance in court if you are a parent or student who feels you were inappropriately corporally punished.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Sarah Sparks of Education Week, thank you very much.
SARAH SPARKS: Thank you.
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BY JULIE PERCHA
It’s one of the most memorable, recent examples of a third-party candidacy making an impact: the Nader factor.
In 2000, the race for the White House came down to Florida, pitting Republican George W. Bush against Democrat Al Gore. Ralph Nader, the Green Party nominee, was also running — and polling at the time suggested if Nader weren’t, many of his supporters would’ve switched to Gore.
But Nader did run, winning more than 97,000 votes in Florida, and becoming a “spoiler” who effectively cost Gore the state — and the presidency — according to analysts.
Now, 16 years later, the Green Party’s current presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Stein, is quick to shrug off that “spoiler” comparison.
“We’re in a very different moment now historically than we were in 2000, because the majority of American voters have rejected both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,” she said to PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff. “They’re the most disliked and untrusted candidates for president in our history.”
Both Clinton and Trump do have upside-down favorability ratings. According to a RealClearPolitics average of national polls, 53.5 percent of Americans view Clinton unfavorably, compared to 43 percent who view her favorably. The spread for Trump is almost three times larger: 62.7 percent of Americans view him unfavorably, compared to 33 percent who see him as favorable.
“The American people are clamoring for another choice. I think before we try to shut down the discussion, it’s really important to let that discussion go forward and let people see,” said Stein.
Stein, who was the party’s nominee in the 2012 election as well, faces tough chances to win the White House: she polls at 3.4 percent nationally — behind Libertarian Gary Johnson at 8.9 percent, Republican Donald Trump at 37.3 percent and Democrat Hillary Clinton at 41.6 percent, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls.
That’s not enough to qualify her for the presidential debates, which begin in late September — a data point she’s pushing to change.
“Knowing that the majority of Americans [are] unhappy with these two party choices, this is the time for us to open up,” said Stein. “Americans have not only a right to vote, but a right to know who we can vote for. So we’re pushing for opening up the debates. And then let’s see how the chips fall.”
Stein is a physician and advocate who’s twice run for governor of Massachusetts, been a candidate for the Massachusetts House, and made a bid for secretary of the commonwealth. Her only elected offices to date include twice being elected to the Lexington, Massachusetts, Town Meeting.
If elected to the presidency, though, Stein would describe herself as an “organizer-in-chief in the White House,” she said.
She’s hoping to capitalize on momentum from disenfranchised Sen. Bernie Sanders’s supporters, thanks, in part, to her promises of a 100 percent renewable energy plan; a “Medicare-for-all” single-payer health plan; and debt-free higher public education.
“There are 43 million young people who are locked into student debt. Few people think about that. That’s a very powerful force,” she told Woodruff.
“I’d say it’s rushing to judgement to say that this movement is powerless. There is a political revolution that got going strong under Bernie Sanders. It is still going strong.”
Read the full transcript below.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to the 2016 presidential campaign.
The vast amount of attention in this election year, by far, has gone to the two main party nominees for president, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But there are a few third-party candidates competing as well.
Tonight, we hear from the woman who is the nominee of the Green Party for the second election in a row. She is Dr. Jill Stein, and I spoke with her a short time ago.
Dr. Jill Stein, welcome to the “NewsHour.”
JILL STEIN, Green Party Presidential Nominee: Great to be with you, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, let me just start by asking you, what is the main difference between what you and the Green Party offer voters from what, say, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have offered?
JILL STEIN: So, maybe the main difference is that I’m the one candidate in the race that is not corrupted by lobbyists’ money, by corporate money, or by super PACs.
So, I’m the one candidate that can really stand up for what it is that the American people are really clamoring for. And that means jobs, an emergency jobs program. We call for the creation of 20 million jobs, to solve the emergency of climate change, and we call for 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030.
We call for canceling student debt. And, you know, Hillary and Bernie talked about free public higher education going forward, but not dealing with this burden of debt, which has really locked a generation into kind of a hopeless future right now. And we also call for free public higher and health care as…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Free public what? I’m sorry?
JILL STEIN: Free public higher education.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
JILL STEIN: And for health care as a human right.
And I think we differ on foreign policy as well.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me just stop you there with domestic policy, because you said a jobs program, a job for anyone who doesn’t get one in the private sector, the government should provide it, forgiving student loans.
JILL STEIN: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You talk about free child care, free health care, Medicare for all. How much is all that going to cost? How do you pay for it?
JILL STEIN: So, fortunately, most of it pays for itself.
So, for example, providing jobs to transform our economy to the green energy economy of the future, it actually gets rid of what is causing 200,000 premature deaths a year, that is, through fossil fuel. It turns out we get so much healthier when we convert to a green energy economy that our health savings alone are enough to pay for the cost of the energy transition.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it wouldn’t require, say, a tax hike, maybe even a tax hike for those in the middle class?
JILL STEIN: So, the other piece of this is that moving to 100 percent renewable energy means we no longer need and can no longer justify wars for oil, which, mind you, have cost us $6 trillion since 2001, when you include the cost of caring for our wounded soldiers, $6 trillion.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You said wars for oil.
JILL STEIN: That’s right, wars for oils, because we have been fighting these regime change wars, which are not making us safer. In fact, arguably, we are much less safe.
With each new war on terror, we actually have created a new wave of even more difficult terror. So, we call for actually a weapons embargo and freezing the funding of our allies who are sponsoring terrorist enterprises around the world, according to Hillary Clinton’s own leaked e-mails from the secretary’s office.
We will be cutting our military budget, which is one thing we can do when we are 100 percent renewables and heading for it. Enables us to bring hundreds of billions back into true security here in our own economy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I want to ask you about the military as well, because you would cut, you said, the military budget in half. You would close down many, if not all overseas U.S. bases. You said you would cut aid to U.S. — important U.S. allies like Israel, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
So, do you see the United States pulling back and not really playing a global role?
JILL STEIN: Actually, I see us playing more of a global role and a more impactful global role, because we would have a consistent policy.
It’s not about specifically defunding Israel or Saudi Arabia or Egypt. It’s about having an even-handed policy that says that we as the United States, with all due humility, are asking our allies to turn over a new page, where our foreign policy is based on international law and human rights, and that we will not sponsor the governments of countries or their militaries where they are systematically and, importantly, violating human rights and international law.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, very quickly, if Russia, say, went into Eastern Europe, would the U.S. respond, if you were president?
JILL STEIN: You know, the laws of war right now say that we can respond when our country is threatened. That is what international law says.
So, we would need to establish that there is actually imminent danger to the United States. I think…
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, North Korea going into South Korea, the same thing. If that’s not imminent danger to the United States, then the U.S. wouldn’t necessarily…
JILL STEIN: Well, what we would be doing is trying to preempt these conflicts before they occur through a vigorous policy of engagement.
So, we would be sitting down to negotiate, to actually reduce conflict on the Korean Peninsula right now, because there’s never really been a cease-fire. Or there’s been a cease-fire, but there hasn’t been a formal cessation of the war on the Korean Peninsula.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s right.
Jill Stein, I also want to ask you about — as you know, your campaign has drawn parallels with Ralph Nader in 2000. Virtually everybody who has researched that election says that Ralph Nader, who got over, what, 97,000 votes in the state of Florida, cost Al Gore the state. Al Gore lost the state by 537 votes.
So, my question is, if this race gets close, why isn’t it safe to assume that you’re prepared to see Hillary Clinton lose to Donald Trump, because most of your votes would come from Hillary Clinton?
JILL STEIN: Well, I think it remains to be seen where our votes would come from.
Remember, the majority of Donald Trump supporters don’t actually support him. They’re mainly motivated by not liking Hillary Clinton. So how about we give those dissatisfied Clinton opponents someone else that they can vote for?
In fact, many of Bernie Sanders’ supporters — let me put this another way. Many Trump supporters used to be Sanders supporters, and when Sanders was wiped out, they moved over to Trump.
So, we’re trying to bring in the majority of Americans. We’re in a very different moment now historically than we were in 2000, because the majority of American voters have rejected both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They’re the most disliked and untrusted candidates for president in our history.
And the American people are clamoring for another choice. I think before we try to shut down the discussion, it’s really important, you know, to let that discussion go forward and let people see. I think, in America…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me just ask you this. You have made it clear you think both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would be terrible presidents for the country. So, are you saying literally that Hillary Clinton is every bit as bad for the country as Donald Trump, that there’s no difference?
JILL STEIN: I wouldn’t say there are no differences, but the differences are not enough to save your job.
We feel that, in this election, we’re not just deciding what kind of a world we’re going to have, but whether we’re going to have a world or not going forward. And knowing that the majority of Americans is unhappy with those two party choices, this is the time for us to open up.
So we’re pushing for opening up the debates. And then let’s see how the chips fall.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Dr. Jill Stein with the Green Party, we thank you.
JILL STEIN: Thank you, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can watch our extended Facebook Live interview with Dr. Stein online. She answers your questions on Syria, vaccines, and the Black Lives Matter movement. That’s on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/NewsHour.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now the aftermath and long road back from the floods in Louisiana.
President Obama promised a sustained national effort to rebuilding southern Louisiana during his visit today, one that he said would last long after the cameras leave. One of the worst-hit areas was Livingston Parish, where 70 percent of the homes suffered damage from the worst floods in decades.
Layton Ricks is the president of that Parish. And I spoke with him by Skype a short time ago.
Mr. Layton Ricks, thank you very much for talking with us.
First of all, tell us, where is Livingston Parish in the Baton Rouge area, and just what shape is it in right now?
LAYTON RICKS, Livingston Parish President: Well, Livingston Parish is just east of Amite River right across from Baton Rouge. We’re a suburb of Baton Rouge, about 141,000 people.
Right now, we’re not in real good shape. If you drove across our landscape, you will see all the water lines, but that’s where we’re located. We’re a suburb of Baton Rouge.
JUDY WOODRUFF: When you say you’re not in good shape, spell that out for us. What sort of damage there?
LAYTON RICKS: Yes, well, we had roughly 60,000-plus structures that were affected, damaged in some way by the flood that we just went through.
The water has now receded, but we’re still dealing with the aftermath and have begun the recovery process, but if you drove through our parish right now, you would see a lot of people’s belongings beginning to pile up alongside the road, so that we can start picking it up. And that’s just for the aftermath of the devastation that we’re looking at when we drive across from this flood event that we just went through.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you have any idea at this point how much it’s going to cost to bring everything back?
LAYTON RICKS: You know, I don’t. They’re still assessing. They’re still riding around. Our debris haulers are out actually assessing and mapping out, as is FEMA.
So, I really do not. I know just that Juban Crossing Mall alone, the developers tell me that he thinks that is somewhere around a roughly $30 million hit. The mall is roughly a year-and-a-half to two years old. Stores were still opening. We were moving into the second phase actually of the mall opening. That’s just one mall.
So we have got substantial damage here in Livingston Parish.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How would you describe what the main challenges are now facing the people around you? What are you facing?
LAYTON RICKS: Well, I think now we have made it through the rescue phase. We have moved into the recovery phase. Now the hardest part is going to be trying to get people some help to get them back in their homes, which were severely damaged in one way or another by the flood.
It could be anywhere from two inches to eight, nine, 10 feet in some areas. So, the real problem is — because we also have schools that were damaged. So, the real problem and the challenge ahead is to try to get these people back to their homes as quick as we can, so that the kids can get back into the schools once they open, so there’s some sort of normalcy there.
So, we’re hoping to — we certainly will be assessing and helping them do that any way we can, but that is going to be a long, long, drawn-out, slow process, because most people that were severely affected by the flood also lost their vehicles. So they have got to get vehicles. Commercials are down. They’re not working yet. So, they don’t have a job to go to. So, we have got quite a mess right now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what sort of outside help do you need from the federal government or anybody else, and do you think you’re getting it?
LAYTON RICKS: Well, you know, FEMA has really stepped up at this point.
I met with Administrator Craig Fugate last week with Governor Edwards and his staff at the governor’s office. It was a very good meeting. They assured us any asset that we need, asked for, it would happen. And so far, it has.
But what I really need right now, which would be really great for our parish and for surrounding parishes, is for the president to declare this a 90/10 payback for FEMA vs. a 25/75. That would help us in government all across the state tremendously with the enormous impact this storm has had.
He can do that, and I hope he will do that very soon, because what that means is the parish will owe back 10 percent vs. the 25 percent. I, quite frankly, don’t know where the 10 percent is going to come from, but I know 25 percent right now is just going to be astronomical.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, as we reported, the president was there in Baton Rouge today. There has also been some political criticism that he didn’t get there sooner. How do you see that? We know Donald Trump was there last Friday.
What do these visits mean for the area? And did the politicians get there as soon as you thought they should have?ha
LAYTON RICKS: Well, you know, as far as I’m concerned, yes.
I didn’t need him to come in the middle of this thing, in the heat of the battle last week. What I needed him to do then was declare a state of emergency. He did that. FEMA ramped up really fast under Governor Edwards, along with, as I said, Administrator Craig Fugate. They were signing off on declarations, helping us get the assets that we needed at that time.
And so, initially, that’s what I needed out of the federal government. I feel like we got that. The argument about whether or not he should have come last week, quite frankly, in my opinion, had he come in the middle of this thing last week, we would have been pulling first-responders away from where they needed to be, the assets that we were using to rescue people, and then to handle the shelters, trying to make sure he was safe while he came into our parish.
So, I felt like he was OK not coming last week. I do think he should have made a couple of phone calls us to. That would have been nice, to at least heard from him. However, as far as really getting things done for me that I needed, I feel like he did that.
The governor’s office has been extremely, extremely helpful to us, and that’s made a big difference. Now, him coming this week today, I’m disappointed that he didn’t call. I’m disappointed that he didn’t come over into our parish, since our parish was the one that was most severely hit.
But, again, however, as far as him directing FEMA, I think they’re doing all they can do for us at this point. But this is a long, drawn-out recovery process. I’m going to need FEMA for a long time to come to help make sure that we’re going to be able to get this done for our people and that the parish will be made whole, or as much so as we can, in the aftermath of this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Layton Ricks, who is the president of Livingston Parish in Louisiana, we thank you very much. And we certainly wish you the very best with the recovery that’s coming in the weeks and months to come.
LAYTON RICKS: Thank you, ma’am. I appreciate you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The president toured flood damage in Louisiana today after historic storms more than a week ago inundated 20 parishes and left 13 people dead.
President Obama surveyed the damage from streets that just a few days ago were underwater. It’s one sign of a gradual return to normal, but stacked up on the side of the streets were the remnants of just how bad, and historic, the floods had been.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: People’s lives have been upended by this flood. This is not just about property damage. This is about people’s roots.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The president was in East Baton Rouge to meet with officials, first-responders and just some of the thousands who were flooded out of their homes. More than 115,000 people have signed up for federal disaster assistance so far.
Today, Mr. Obama pledged more help is coming.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: What I want the people of Louisiana to know is, is that you’re not alone on this. Even after the TV cameras leave, the whole country is going to continue to support you and help you until we get folks back in their homes and lives are rebuilt.
JUDY WOODRUFF: He said the federal government has already allocated $127 million for flood victims. The flooding was the worst disaster in the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012.
Days of torrential rain dumped more than two-and-a-half feet of water in some parts. Now, more than a week later, the water is receding, but in its wake, it is estimated that more than 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
CARL STEWART, Flood Victim: Heartbreaking, you know, not just for me, but to see. It looks like a bomb went off.
CARL STEWART: I kind of got shook up.
QUESTION: Your whole life is…
CARL STEWART: It’s just ruined.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Officials in East Baton Rouge say it could take up to three months just to clear debris from the streets; 7,000 people are still living in temporary shelters.
And some political criticism continued over the timing of the president’s visit. He had been on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted today: “President Obama should have gone to Louisiana days ago, instead of golfing. Too little, too late.”
Trump, along with running mate Mike Pence, toured the flood zone last Friday.
Earlier, Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, had asked Mr. Obama to delay a visit to avoid tying up local authorities. Today, he welcomed the president. The governor had said after Trump’s visit that it was helpful in attracting national attention.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: An American soldier died in Afghanistan, after his patrol triggered a roadside bomb. Another U.S. service member and six Afghan soldiers were wounded. The explosion occurred in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province. Fighting has intensified there in recent weeks, now that the Taliban has reclaimed about 80 percent of the province. It’s the first U.S. combat death in that country since January.
There are staggering new numbers on the flow of unaccompanied children making the risky journey to the U.S. from Central America. A new report from the United Nations’ children’s agency, UNICEF, estimates about 26,000 unattended children were apprehended at the U.S. border between January and June of this year. Most fled from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to escape brutal gang violence and poverty.
Five new homegrown Zika cases were confirmed in Florida today. They include the first one on Florida’s Gulf Coast in Pinellas County near Tampa, nearly 300 miles away from the other infection zones in Miami. Florida’s surgeon general conceded they still don’t know precisely where that individual contracted the virus, since they had not traveled internationally.
DR. CELESTE PHILIP, Surgeon General, Florida: The Department of Health here under Dr. Cho and his team will speak with that person, get a good history. They’re already testing family members. They will be looking at co-workers as well to better understand where transmission may have occurred.
JUDY WOODRUFF: State officials stopped short of labeling it a new area of active local transmission.
There are new revelations today about Hillary Clinton’s activities at the State Department. An Associated Press review found more than half of the nongovernment figures who met with her while she was secretary gave money to the Clinton Foundation. Combined, those people contributed as much as $156 million to her family charity.
The Nigerian military today said that it believes airstrikes have killed a number of top Boko Haram militants, including the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau. But there was no independent confirmation. And his death has been falsely reported at least three other times. The announcement came as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Abuja for talks with Nigeria’s president on strategies to defeat Boko Haram.
JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: Your country has taken back most of the territory that the terrorists had once captured. But we also know that beating Boko Haram on the battlefield is only the beginning of what we need to do.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Boko Haram, which has pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State, has killed thousands of people and abducted some 300 schoolgirls; 218 of them are still missing.
Turkey has formally requested the extradition of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. A State Department spokesman said the extradition request was unrelated to last month’s attempted coup in Turkey, which the Turkish government has blamed on Gulen and his followers. Gulen lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.
Traffic deaths across the U.S. are on the rise. The National Safety Council reported more than 19,000 people have died on the roads from January through June of this year. That’s up 9 percent over the same period last year, and up 18 percent from two years ago. It attributed the rise to more people traveling on the nation’s roads due to a stronger economy and lower gas prices.
New estimates out today are forecasting this year’s budget deficit will increase after years of declines. The Congressional Budget Office projects it will grow by one-third to $590 billion, due to lower-than-expected tax revenues.
On Wall Street, stocks closed higher, led by gains in the technology sector. The Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly 18 points to close at 18547. The Nasdaq rose 15, and the S&P 500 added four.
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ANKARA, Turkey — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called on Turkish authorities to be patient with the U.S. legal system as Turkey seeks the return of a cleric accused of masterminding last month’s failed military coup.
Biden, who met with Turkish officials in Ankara on Wednesday, said that the extradition process would take time as he reaffirmed Washington’s cooperation in the case of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen has denied any involvement in the July 15 coup attempt that killed more than 270 people.
“I understand the intense feeling your government and the people of Turkey have about him,” Biden said at news conference after meeting with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. “We are cooperating with Turkish authorities.
“Our legal experts are working right now with their Turkish counterparts on the production of and the evaluation of material and evidence that needs to be supplied to an American court to meet the requirements under our law in the extradition treaty to extradite Gulen.”
Biden sought to assuage concerns that the U.S. was shielding Gulen.
“We have no, no, no, no interest whatsoever in protecting anyone who has done harm to an ally. None,” he said. “But we need to meet the legal standard requirement under our law.”
He also warned that President Barack Obama wouldn’t intervene in the extradition process.
“We should make clear under American law that no president of the United States has authority to extradite anyone under his own power, that only an American court can do that.
“Were a president to attempt to do that, it would be an impeachable offense,” he said.
Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have repeatedly called on the U.S. to swiftly extradite Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania in self-imposed exile.
The formal extradition request for his alleged involvement in the coup will be submitted next week, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Wednesday.
“It’s never understood that the wheels of justice move deliberately and slowly,” Biden said. “It’s totally understandable why the people of Turkey are angry. But there should be no doubt that we will continue to work closely with the Turkish government as this process unfolds.”
Biden also rejected suggestions that the U.S. government knew about plans for a coup in advance.
“The United States of America did not have any fore-knowledge of what befell you on the 15th of July,” he said.
Turkey’s prime minister again called on the U.S. to speed up the process in the Gulen case.
“If the process can be sped up for (Gulen) to be returned to our country in order to be punished, if our cooperation in this regard continues to grow, then the Turkish people’s sorrow, its disappointment in this regard will quickly give way to positive sentiments,” Yildirim said.
Earlier, Biden toured the sections of parliament damaged during the coup attempt.
A small group of young demonstrators protested Biden’s motorcade as he headed to Yildirim’s residence, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Anti-American sentiment has been on the rise in Turkey since the coup. Biden hopes to smooth relations, but has limited leverage.
Cinar Kiper in Istanbul, and Frank Griffiths in London, contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON — No one likes an even number on a court that makes decisions by majority vote. Yet that’s just what the Supreme Court has been left with, eight justices, since the death of Antonin Scalia in February.
Four cases ended in a tie after Scalia’s death. With Senate Republicans refusing to confirm President Barack Obama’s choice to succeed Scalia, the outcome of the presidential election will determine whether the ninth, tie-breaking justice moves the court right or left. How much can one vote matter?
In key decisions in recent years on health care, gun rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights and campaign finance, the vote was 5-4. And more Supreme Court appointments probably await the next president because two justices will be older than 80 and a third will be 78 come Election Day.
WHERE THEY STAND
Both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump have made the future of the Supreme Court part of their pitch to their respective party faithful. In talking about the court, Clinton has stressed her support for abortion rights, LGBT issues and immigration. Trump has released a list of 11 conservative state and federal judges whom he would consider nominating if elected.
WHY IT MATTERS
The current vacancy is the moment both sides alternately have wished for and feared. Supreme Court nominations are always important because a justice can serve a quarter century or more. But the stakes are even higher when the president has a chance to put a like-minded justice on the court to take the place of an ideological opponent. Such a switch can change the outcome of some of the court’s most important cases.
That’s the tantalizing opportunity for Democrats and why Republicans have been resolute in refusing to consider Obama nominee Merrick Garland. Though Garland has a reputation as a moderate, he still would be left of Scalia on most issues.
A Clinton victory in November would, with the confirmation of Garland or someone else as the ninth justice, immediately shift the court to the left and result in a majority of justices nominated by a Democratic president for the first time since 1969.
If Trump is elected, he presumably would restore the court’s conservative tilt by appointing a like-minded successor to Scalia.
So the direction of a court closely divided between conservatives and liberals is at stake. The Supreme Court may be the least understood of the three branches of government, but its decisions affect Americans rich and poor.
A switch of one vote would have doomed Obama’s health care overhaul in 2012, kept the heart of a voting rights law in place in 2013 and prevented some Americans from marrying their same-sex partners in 2015.
Chances are Trump or Clinton will have other Supreme Court vacancies to fill, nominations that could cement conservative or liberal domination of the court for decades.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 83, Justice Anthony Kennedy is 80, and Justice Stephen Breyer is 78. Justices tend to retire when their replacement is likely to be of similar ideology.
Garland or another Democratic nominee could be expected to reinforce support for abortion rights, look favorably on executive actions to deal with immigration and climate change and be more willing to uphold campaign finance restrictions. Trump’s choices probably would come down on the other side of those issues and be more skeptical about gun control and consideration of race in higher education as well.
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A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy on Wednesday, destroying parts of popular vacation spots in the mountainous zone.
Reports say as many as 120 people were killed, according to the Associated Press. Rescue crews were working to free people from the rubble.
Among the affected areas: the villages of Pescara del Tronto, Accumoli and Amatrice.
Geologists say the earthquake was caused by the movement of the African Plate toward Europe. The accumulated tension of the under-surface rock erupts into tremors.
“It’s terrible, I’m 65-years-old and I have never experienced anything like this, small tremors, yes, but nothing this big. This is a catastrophe,” said Amatrice resident Giancarlo, quoted Reuters.
Rescuers in one of the hardest-hit towns, Amatrice, pulled several people out of the debris, including a young girl. The injured were flowing into hospitals.
“I remember hearing something, a loud noise, and then hiding under my bed,” said Mariana Lleshi, a Catholic nun in Amatrice, reported the Washington Post. “I was screaming, and I got out and started running when the ceiling started coming down.”
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