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

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    A new poll shows that 41 percent of U.S. baby boomers stayed with a single employer for 20 years or more. That is something younger generations are far less likely to say, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Photo by Getty Images

    Photo by Getty Images

    Editor’s Note: In today’s economy, it’s hard to see how big corporations promote equality. The average CEO-to-worker pay ratio for the top 350 companies, for example, is 276 to 1. But U.S. corporations of the 20th century did offer prosperity, mobility, security and yes, even equality, argues sociologist Gerald Davis. This is the second in a series of excerpts we are publishing from Davis’s new book, “The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy.” For more on the topic, watch this week’s Making Sen$e report below.

    — Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor


    The postwar era of corporate dominance corresponded to a period of remarkable economic growth, social mobility and relative income equality in the United States. GDP, productivity and household income grew at a remarkable rate during this period, which is now widely regarded as a golden era for the American economy. It was not just in the U.S.: the period from 1945 to 1975 is called the “glorious thirty” (“les trente glorieuses”) in France, and both Western Europe and East Asia saw similar periods of growing prosperity. But in the U.S. this era is distinctively associated with the corporate economy.

    The postwar era of corporate dominance corresponded to a period of remarkable economic growth, social mobility and relative income equality in the United States.

    Corporations grew increasingly large and concentrated in assets and employment. Aolf Berle and Gardiner Means’ forecast in their seminal book, “The Modern Corporation and Private Property,” that 200 corporations would control the economy by 1959 turned out not to be entirely accurate, but they got the direction right. Large corporations grew ever larger during the 30 years after World War II, and by 1973, the 25 largest corporations employed the equivalent of nearly 10 percent of the labor force. The following figure shows employment growth among a handful of American corporations during the period from 1950 to 1973. Not all firms grew like this, but enough did to feed a narrative of endless growth. Some of this was “organic” growth: As the population grew and dispersed to suburbs, demand for telephone service, cars and retail also grew. But many firms grew through relentless acquisitions. Although antitrust concerns limited the ability of firms to grow by acquiring competitors or suppliers, many companies like ITT grew by diversifying into any industry where it saw opportunity.

    Employment of selected U.S. corporations in thousands, 1950-1973 (Source: Compustat)

    Employment of selected U.S. corporations in thousands, 1950-1973. Source: Compustat

    At the same time, income inequality dropped to its lowest recorded level in American history, while upward mobility increased. Statistics on household income show that the late 1960s was when the U.S. reached its lowest recorded level of income inequality. Certainly, the U.S. had not turned into Denmark — or even Canada, for that matter — but incomes were more evenly distributed around 1968 than they ever were before or since.

    An entry-level job with a major corporation that had a strong commitment to promotion from within was a ticket to the middle class.

    It was also a period of employment opportunity. Growing firms with clear job ladders provided a straightforward path to mobility. An entry-level job with a major corporation that had a strong commitment to promotion from within was a ticket to the middle class. Rewards based on seniority, including the pensions and retiree health insurance that grew out of the Treaty of Detroit, made a corporate career a safe bet.

    It seems paradoxical to see large corporations as sources of greater equality. What could be more unequal than a giant corporation, with its pyramid-shaped organization chart and executive washrooms? The whole point of “job ladders” is that corporations are full of hierarchical levels to climb up and endless contests for status. Yet corporations, with their detailed job descriptions, career ladders and seniority systems, also managed to limit and rationalize inequality through their centralized personnel systems. Promotion from within meant that salaries were determined not so much by the outside market but by standardized evaluations for what a job was worth.

    READ MORE: Column: The rise and fall of the U.S. corporation

    Consider ITT, the poster child conglomerate that grew through a voracious series of acquisitions in every industry you could name: hotels, casinos, auto parts manufacturers, copper mines, insurance companies, trade schools, bakeries and more. When it acquired a new company, it sent in its people to impose ITT’s personnel system, spreading the ITT way to dozens of industries. The personnel management systems that spread during the War became more standardized and covered ever more employees. Shielded from market processes, jobs and compensation systems followed bureaucratic rules that limited just how unequal they could get.

    The post Column: When corporations were a source of greater equality appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson listens as his running mate vice presidential candidate Bill Weld speaks at a campaign rally in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson listens as his running mate vice presidential candidate Bill Weld speaks at a campaign rally in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the only two candidates at the first presidential debate.

    The commission overseeing the debates invited the two major-party candidates to its Sept. 26 event on Friday. Libertarian party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein did not get invited.

    The commission said the two third-party candidates didn’t register enough support in polls to qualify. The commission has set a 15 percent threshold. Johnson averaged 8.4 percent in the polls the commission considered, and Stein 3.2 percent.

    The third-party candidates could qualify for either of the final two debates in October if their polling average clears 15 percent then. But by missing out on the initial debate, they are losing their best chance to gain the attention needed to achieve that.

    SUBSCRIBE: Get the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks delivered to your inbox every week.

    The post Third-party candidates Johnson and Stein fail to qualify for first debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to the Economic Club of New York luncheon in Manhattan. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to the Economic Club of New York luncheon in Manhattan. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s “Penny Plan” sounds like a painless pinprick in the federal budget — a 1 percent annual cut in a chunk of government spending, adding up to huge savings. “One penny,” he says. “We can all do that.”

    But it’s really an axe that would hollow out much of what it touches.

    In his economic speech Wednesday in New York, Trump said the plan would save $1 trillion over a decade. Military spending, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans programs would be left untouched.

    How can a mere penny on the dollar do that, especially when the biggest budget items are exempted?

    A look at some of Trump’s economic claims and how they compare with the facts:

    TRUMP: “If we just save one penny of each federal dollar spent on nondefense and non-entitlement programs, we can save almost $1 trillion over the next decade. One penny, we can all do that.”

    THE FACTS: It’s far from that simple. Trump only has about a third of the budget to work with, because he’s vowing to protect the vast areas of spending in the other two-thirds. The cuts he’s actually talking about would add up to about 25 percent over the 10 years, compared with what would happen with future spending under current law, calculates the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

    Those cuts are “potentially drastic,” the committee says in its analysis of the Penny Plan, and Trump did not spell out what they would be.

    The chunk of spending he would target — known as non-military discretionary spending — covers health programs, education, the environment, public works, energy and almost everything else the government does, apart from the huge entitlement programs and Pentagon spending. And the cuts would come as the country grapples with rising health costs and an aging population.

    If the country bites the bullet and accepts severe cuts, would that really save $1 trillion in a decade? Not quite, but in the ballpark.

    The group’s analysis estimates savings of $700 to $800 billion. “Still,” it says, “implementing the proposal would be quite difficult without eliminating or dramatically scaling back several government functions, and we would encourage the Trump campaign to identify where at least some of these cuts would come from.”

    Video by Associated Press

    TRUMP, on 14 million people leaving the workforce during Obama’s presidency: “My economic plan rejects the cynicism that says our labor force will keep declining.”

    THE FACTS: It’s not cynicism that’s the problem, it’s mostly aging.

    Roughly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, and many of them retire. That reduces the number of Americans working or looking for work and limits how fast the economy can grow. Fewer people working translates into slower growth. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the labor force participation rate will be 60.2 percent in 2026, down from 62.8 percent today, based partly on population trends.

    To be sure, aging isn’t the only factor. The proportion of Americans in their prime working years — from age 25 through 54 — who have jobs or are looking for work is still about 1.5 percentage points below pre-recession levels. Some have given up looking, while others have joined the disability rolls.

    It’s also true that the number of Americans outside the workforce has increased to 94 million from about 80 million when Obama was inaugurated. That also reflects increasing retirements, and the rising likelihood that those aged 16 through 24 will stay in school rather than seek work.

    READ MORE: AP fact check: How does Donald Trump’s economic plan hold up?

    TRUMP: “Over the next 10 years, our economic team estimates that under our plan, the economy will average 3.5 percent growth and create a total of 25 million new jobs.”

    THE FACTS: That sounds like a lot, but it’s the current pace of job growth, which is a little slower than in 2014 and 2015.

    In the past 12 months ending in August, the U.S. economy has added nearly 2.5 million jobs — the same annual pace Trump is promising. In 2015, the economy added 2.7 million, and the year before that, 3 million. Those were the two best years of hiring since 1998-99.

    Trump’s goal, then, could be quite realistic, but it might be hard to square with his declaration that his plan is “the most pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-family plan put forth perhaps in the history of our country.”

    READ MORE: What is Donald Trump’s 10-Point immigration plan?

    TRUMP: “I believe the Fed is very political, it’s become very political.”

    THE FACTS: Trump offered no evidence to back up this assertion. It’s the Federal Reserve’s job to help make the economy better, and to the extent that happens, political leaders and their party may benefit. But presidents can’t make the Fed, an independent agency, do anything

    The Fed, under chairman Ben Bernanke and his successor and current chairwoman, Janet Yellen, has attracted controversy by pegging the short-term interest rate it controls to nearly zero for seven years. After one increase in December, it is still ultra-low at between 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent, a rate that some economists worry could spark a stock-market bubble or inflation. Bernanke was initially appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, and reappointed by Obama.

    It’s not unusual for those unhappy with Fed policy to see political motives at work — and those critics might not always be wrong.

    In 1993, for example, Fed chairman Alan Greenspan sat next to first lady Hillary Clinton during Bill Clinton’s speech to a joint session of Congress, in a move widely interpreted as support for Clinton’s deficit reduction policies.

    Associated Press writers Josh Boak and Jim Drinkard contributed to this report.

    SUBSCRIBE: Get the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks delivered to your inbox every week.

    The post AP fact check: How Trump’s ‘Penny Plan’ adds up to big cuts appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy, in central London, Britain. Photo by Peter Nicholls/Reuters

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy, in central London, Britain. Photo by Peter Nicholls/Reuters

    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange still has a warrant out for his arrest after a Swedish appeals court upheld a detention order on Friday for a 2010 rape investigation.

    The Svea Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling, saying that, “Assange is still suspected on probable cause of rape …and that there is a risk that he will evade legal proceedings or a penalty.”

    Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant for Assange in August 2010, after two female Wikileaks volunteers accused the 45-year-old of sexual assault and rape in Sweden. An allegation of sexual assault and one of coercion were dropped against Assange last year after the statute of limitations to bring charges expired.

    The rape allegations, involving one of the women, will expire in 2020, if Assange isn’t charged by then. Assange has denied the rape allegations and has challenged the detention order multiple times, the Associated Press reported.

    The Australian computer hacker has avoided extradition to Sweden by sheltering himself in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012. Assange feared that Sweden would extradite him to the U.S. where he believes he could face espionage charges for his role in the mass publication of secret U.S. government documents.

    The most recent request by Assange to overturn the detention order came after a United Nations panel in February said that his stay at the Ecuadorean embassy was “arbitrary detention” and that he should be awarded compensation.

    The appeals court dismissed this argument, saying, “His stay [in London’s Ecuadorean embassy] is not a deprivation of liberty and shall not be given any importance in its own right in the assessment of proportionality.”

    The court also said that there is a strong public interest in continuing the investigation and that the ongoing detention is necessary to move the investigation forward.


    Assange’s legal team issued a statement, saying Assange is disappointed with the court ruling.

    “Mr. Assange will appeal the decision and remains confident that his indefinite and unlawful detention will cease and that those responsible will be brought to justice,” the statement said.

    Ecuador also responded to the ruling by reaffirming the asylum it has granted Assange. The country said its actions are “true to its long tradition of defending human rights, particularly those of the victims of political persecution.”

    An agreement was made allowing an Ecuadorean prosecutor to question Assange at its London embassy on Oct. 17, Reuters reported.

    On Thursday, Wikileaks tweeted an exchange offer that would involve Chelsea Manning, the former army intelligence analyst who leaked thousands of government documents to Wikileaks, who published them.

    “If Obama grants Manning clemency, Assange will agree to US prison in exchange — despite its clear unlawfulness,” the tweet said.

    WATCH: More DNC information to come, says WikiLeaks founder

    The post Swedish court upholds warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on rape charge appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, to another in our Brief But Spectacular series.

    Tonight, Oakland, California, police officer Damon Gilbert offers his candid thoughts on what it means to wear a badge in 2016.

    DAMON GILBERT, Oakland, California, Police Department: Any time you put on a bulletproof vest to start your day off to work, you have to know that you may or may not come back home to your child, to your wife, to your grandmother, to your auntie.

    And that in itself is scary. That in itself is scary.

    Anybody that tells you that they haven’t been scared, I’m under the full impression that they’re a total liar. It’s there, and you’re human. You’re not a robot. You actually have emotions. We train you and put you in realistic predicaments.

    How do I make sure that my finger is not on the trigger, but my finger is indexed? How do I function when I’m talking to the radio while keeping an eye on unknown threats?

    Many times, I have given a direct order or a lawful order, and it’s been met with “F you,” or it’s been met with, come on, let’s fight.

    For me, I have never been in that situation where I have actually had to pull the trigger. Every time you see something on TV, it’s a clip of an officer with a gun. And what tends to happen is, the community thinks that every call an officer goes to, they’re using their gun. That’s not the case. And, in Oakland, we work in one of the most violent cities in North America.

    When we see videos that are definitely disturbing, it hits home. When you see it as a citizen, and it shocks your conscience, a lot of times, when I see the same footage or we see the same footage, it shocks our conscience as well. And then we want answers.

    My heart sank when I have seen everything that I have seen over the past couple months, couple years. Seeing the response to different riots, and different violent protests, protests that go wrong, it’s heartbreaking, because I see both sides.

    I see the officers out there who are probably on a 24-hour day, and people don’t know that. And then I understand the other end, where people are frustrated. They have seen different things that definitely leave some questions that need to be answered, and they’re angry.

    Sometimes, you have to give the people a voice, and that maybe their anger isn’t necessarily towards you. It may be toward another contact that they had with another police officer 10 years ago.

    It’s tough for the African-American community when dealing with the police. I personally have been pulled over multiple times as a police officer. I actually was arrested in high school for doing something I didn’t do.

    Why would I want to impose that feeling on you? Because I was mad, I was angry, I was disappointed, I wanted revenge. There’s a difference between getting into police work for the right reasons and the wrong reasons.

    The wrong reasons would be, I don’t like people, I don’t like talking with people. The wrong reasons would be, well, I want to feel — well, it makes me feel bigger, and badder, and tougher.

    You get into this business to help out the community, to serve the community, to be a servant. I know my circle of influence is very small, but it starts with me.

    So, when I go out there, I have to make sure that I’m doing the right thing. And I believe that will help start the process of doing things correctly and building back the public trust.

    My name is Damon Gilbert. And this is my Brief But Spectacular take on being a police officer.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: You can watch additional Brief But Spectacular episodes on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.

    The post What it’s like to be a black cop in 2016: ‘I see both sides’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    class

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, tonight, we wrap up our week-long series Rethinking College with a look at students who are choosing cheaper and shorter computer coding training as an alternative to a college degree.

    Hari Sreenivasan has our report.

    WES REID, Galvanize Instructor: We’re going to just be taking notes.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s called a high-tech boot camp, six months of intense work that turns a beginner computer coder into a software engineer.

    WES REID: I’m going to show guys a tool. If it stresses you out, don’t use it.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: The academics are difficult, but the camps all but promise jobs that pay more than double the median income in America.

    WES REID: It’s an immersive program. It’s incredibly tough.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So tough, only 20 percent of those who apply get accepted.

    Instructor Wes Reid:

    WES REID: The things that we’re really focused on is, how do we get people as career-ready as fast as possible?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Students are flooding in. From 2014 to 2015, the number of graduates from coding boot camps jumped by 138 percent.

    MAN: And there isn’t, like, any general education classes that you have to take or stuff that’s not necessary used for your end goal.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s a learning model that is not only experiencing explosive growth, but also attracting tens of millions of dollars of private investment.

    JIM DETERS: The world is evolving so quickly that, in these times, we have got to constantly be reskilling, upskilling and moving.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Denver-based Galvanize, one of the new breed of high-tech schools, just received a $45 million investment.

    JIM DETERS: We have grown to 1,700 students we will teach this year.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Jim Deters is the CEO and founder of Galvanize.

    JIM DETERS: We have moved to a skills-based economy, and we want to create alternative paths for anybody with aptitude, drive, and determination to have an opportunity and get more affordable access to skills.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: As the price of a traditional college education soars, what’s emerging are cheaper alternatives like software boot camps, places that teach very specific skills for jobs that pay well.

    So far, federal education officials like what they see. Last month, the Department of Education opened up $17 million for students to pay for boot camps like New York’s Flatiron School.

    Secretary of Education John King:

    JOHN KING, Secretary of Education: We’re trying to identify pathways that will help people get access to good jobs in high-demand fields.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Eight coding schools that partner with accredited colleges will now be able to offer federal loans and grants under a new pilot project called EQUIP.

    JOHN KING: We know that we need to ensure we have the work force ready to compete in the 21st century, and we need new pathways and new innovation to ensure that we have the work force we need. Coding is a good example, huge demand for folks with coding skills, but we’re not producing enough.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Some boot camps aren’t waiting for government funds to help their students pay the $10,000 to $20,000 tuition costs. Galvanize has partnered with the private lender Skills Fund. Skills Fund allows students to pay interest-only loans until they graduate.

    JIM DETERS: Regardless whether they have a B.A., or dropped out of community college, or they came from straight out of high school, we want to create that pathway.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Twenty-two-year-old Isaac Collier held multiple jobs after high school, but never made more than $20,000.

    ISAAC COLLIER, Student: I was an audiovisual technician, and I was also instructing martial arts, and instructing teaching of guitar. The pay was never enough. It just got tiring. It was paycheck to paycheck.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: At first glance, Galvanize seemed too expensive for Collier. The boot camp’s Web development class costs $21,000.

    ISAAC COLLIER: I was like really, really nervous. It was too expensive.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: But, once accepted, Collier found that getting a private loan was easy. That’s because Skills Fund partners only with coding boot camps that have high graduation and job placement rates.

    JIM DETERS: Our placement rates are around 90-plus percent.

    WES REID: Its position, like, this would be like position absolute.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: After boot camp, Collier expects to land an $80,000 salary as a software developer.

    ISAAC COLLIER: It’s something that’s very challenging. It’s very hard, but I feel like the reward is well worth it.

    WES REID: The determining factor isn’t if you had higher education. It’s how much you’re willing to work during the class and really put in the effort.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Alexander Holt is a policy analyst with New America. Holt likes the Skills Fund model, because, unlike traditional student loans, the money is tied to actual job placement.

    ALEXANDER HOLT, Policy Analyst, New America: Effectively, what Skills Fund is trying to do is be a private market accreditor, so they’re trying to mimic what the federal government does, except all the incentives are in the right place in the private market.

    JIM DETERS: We won’t get paid if they don’t get paid. We’re really aligning our interests with both the student and the lender in a way, honestly, that it should be.

    ALEXANDER HOLT: It makes more sense to have the risk on private lenders and private companies, as opposed to the taxpayer.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Critics of the department of education’s new EQUIP program are concerned government lending may encourage the kind of abuses that became notorious with for-profit colleges.

    NARRATOR: We are Corinthian Colleges.

    ALEXANDER HOLT: You open up all of these federal dollars, and you don’t have great accountability, and bad actors flood in. And these schools end up just enrolling a lot of low-income students, and we have terrible outcomes, and the students are left with debt.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: Given that for-profit colleges have a mixed track record, at best, of succeeding in putting people back in the work force, why? Why take this route?

    JOHN KING: This is a very targeted initiative focused on work force development. We will rigorously evaluate it to make sure that it’s working. If programs aren’t working, we will stop them.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: So far, boot camps have won high job placement rates by enrolling students who already have college degrees. But new students with less traditional educations pose new challenges.

    ALEXANDER HOLT: One thing that’s unclear is, are employers hiring these people because they also have a bachelor’s degree? Will they just hire them if they only have the certificate from the boot camps?

    HARI SREENIVASAN: As his first exposure to post-secondary education, Isaac Collier says coding is a good fit.

    ISAAC COLLIER: It’s a good challenge. It’s always overcoming obstacles. And I feel smarter, honestly, after it. I just — I do.

    HARI SREENIVASAN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Hari Sreenivasan.

    The post Why high-tech boot camps are appealing to students and lenders appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Next, to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

    Welcome back, gentlemen.

    MARK SHIELDS: Thank you, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We’re together in person. It’s good to see you.

    Mark, let’s start with the birther lie. It’s the only way to describe it. Donald Trump talked about this for years. Today, he did finally say that he believes the president, President Obama, was born in the United States.

    But then he turned around and said Hillary Clinton started all this. Where does this leave this story about the birther controversy?

    MARK SHIELDS: I’m not absolutely sure.

    But I think it’s important to establish right at the outset that he wasn’t only the loudest and the highest-profile and the most persistent and the most well-publicized birther, he, Donald Trump. He lied. He lied consistently and persistently.

    And, today, without explanation or excuse, he just changed his position and tried to absolutely falsely shift the blame onto Hillary Clinton. And this was an appeal to — he debased democracy. He debased the national debate. He appealed to that which is most ignoble or least noble in all of us

    And I think — I would like to put to rest right now one of the great theories of the Clinton, Bill Clinton, years. Bill Clinton was accused of being a skirt chaser, a draft dodger, trimming the truth. And we were told by all sorts of conservative religious leaders, politically conservative religious leaders, then, character, character was the dominant issue. That’s why you had to oppose Bill Clinton and support his impeachment.

    We have a man running right now for president right now who’s without character. He’s AWOL. He and character are mutually exclusive. And the silence, with rare and conspicuous and admirable exceptions, with Mr. Moore of the Southern Baptists and Mr. Mohler, is — is just deafening.

    We found out that character is not an issue. The Supreme Court turns out to be the defining issue.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: David.

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, I agree.

    What struck me was that, especially reading the comment, the statement from the Trump campaign, which we heard summarized by Trump himself earlier in the broadcast, you know, we’re always used to spin.

    Usually, there’s some tangential relationship to the truth, but a corroding relationship to the truth, frankly, as politics has gone on over the years.

    But now we’re in a reverse, Orwellian inversion of the truth with this. And so we have a team of staffers and then the candidate himself who have taken the normal spin and smashed all the rules.

    And so we are really in Orwell land. We are in “1984.” And it’s interesting that an authoritarian personality type comes in at the same time with a complete disrespect for even tangential relationship to the truth that words are unmoored.

    And so I do think this statement sort of shocked me with the purification of a lot of terrible trends that have been happening. And so what’s white is black, and what is up is down, what is down is up. And that really is something new in politics.

    And the fact that there is no penalty for it, apparently — he’s doing fantastic in the last two weeks in the polls — is just somehow where we have gotten.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it does come, Mark, as the polls are tightening.

    And it’s to the benefit of Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton has slipped. Donald Trump is up. He’s ahead in some of the battleground states. What are we — I asked both of you last week what you think is going on. I mean, do you — is there some new evidence or explanation for what’s happening?

    MARK SHIELDS: I mean, I don’t know if this is a precise explanation, Judy, but certainly I think it’s a valid possibility that, as he has become — he doesn’t punch out the cleaning lady, he doesn’t abuse parking lot attendants on camera, therefore, he’s now presidential.

    The fact that he hasn’t tweeted without — with a couple of exceptions, that he is working off a Teleprompter, which he at one point wanted to outlaw and prohibit, and somehow is talking about — about policies, not talking policy. He is talking about the possibility of policy.

    You know, I — then he becomes somehow more acceptable to people, And I think particularly to Republicans. He was getting a high 70 percent of Republicans. Now several most — or recent polls have showed him getting in the high 80 percent of Republicans. And I think that accounts for his surge or lift.

    DAVID BROOKS: Well, he’s running against a candidate who doesn’t know why she wants to be president, at least that she can express to anybody else.

    And so, as we have been saying for 18 months, this is a change year, what change is Hillary Clinton offering? And so, if you want change, you have only got one option. And so as he becomes only moderately terrible, he becomes acceptable, and I think grudgingly acceptable to most people, not enthusiastically acceptable, but grudgingly acceptable.

    And we’re now at a point he’s doing well in Ohio, he’s doing well around the country. He’s almost tied nationally. But I think we’re now at the point where one adequate debate performance by him and suddenly he almost becomes either even or even a slight front-runner.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Really?

    DAVID BROOKS: And this is at a time, it should be remembered, when, according to the last Washington Post poll, 62 percent of Americans said he’s not qualified to be president. So both these things are happening at the same time.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Which raises some questions.

    But this has happened. And, by the way, we should mentioned again, it now is clear it’s just going to be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, that these other candidate, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, will not be involved.

    But, Mark, it also comes as Hillary Clinton’s has had some problems, the basket of deplorables comment from a week ago. Some people have said that is going to be something the Trump people will hang around her neck for the rest of the campaign. Is that the kind of thing that just is damaging and it keeps on being damaging?

    MARK SHIELDS: Sure. Sure it is.

    I can recall, as you do, David does, in 2008, when — at a fund-raiser, when the front-runner said people in small Pennsylvania towns who had lost hope and lost jobs cling to their guns and religion. And his opponent said Americans deserve a leader who will stand up for them, not a leader who looks down on them.

    That was Barack Obama who said that, Hillary Clinton who took advantage of it, won the Pennsylvania primary. These things happen at fund-raisers, Judy. Mitt Romney, Palm Beach, stand up and says, 47 percent of Americans, I can’t tell them to take responsibility for their own live. They expect a job. They expect a paycheck. They expect health care. They expect food.

    Telling people what they want to hear, that’s what Hillary Clinton was doing last Friday night, telling a New York liberal crowd that, you know, the people on the other side were xenophobic, they were racist, they were homophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.

    And it — I will tell you, what bothered me the most — and Donald Trump took advantage of it, and understandably — she had done the same thing in 2008, when she took advantage of it — what bothered me the most was irredeemable.

    (CROSSTALK)

    MARK SHIELDS: You don’t — America is built on redemption. People came here because things weren’t working out.

    My generation, the old, oldest fart generation, OK, 13 percent of us were in favor of same-sex marriage 15 years ago, now 41 percent. On civil rights, America changed has dramatically and profoundly. We believe in redemption, not just because you’re a liberal, because you’re an American.

    And that — when you write off people and blame the customer, that is really bad.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, David, Barack Obama stayed in a race, overcame that, was elected president.

    Is this more damaging for Hillary Clinton than — clearly that was damaging, too, but…

    DAVID BROOKS: Right, that was damaging, too.

    There’s two elements here. One is snobbery. And as Mark says, it’s just us rich people talking to each other about those poor people. And that never works.

    And then there’s the sociology element. They both — it’s bad sociology. They should leave the sociology to us amateurs.

    (LAUGHTER)

    DAVID BROOKS: But, third, the irredeemable is what leapt out at me.

    And the person who was at the Emanuel Baptist — AME Church in Charleston, they believe the guy who shot and killed their close friends was redeemable, but she thinks millions of Americans aren’t?>

    And that speaks and I think it plays, because there is a brittleness there. And I don’t know if there is a brittleness within. I sort of doubt it. I think she’s probably a very good person within. But there has been a brittleness to her public persona that has been ungenerous and ungracious. And it plays a little to that and why people just don’t want to latch on.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, and, David, your comment a minute ago about Hillary Clinton, and both of you have been saying this in one way or another for a number of months, hasn’t given a rationale, a reason to vote for her for president.

    Mark, do you still feel you’re not hearing that from Hillary Clinton?

    MARK SHIELDS: Judy, I mean, by a 10-to-1 margin in swing states, battleground states, they have outspent Donald Trump on television.

    And their message has been relentless. It’s been in his own words. It’s been true, things he’s said. They have run up all the negatives they can run up Donald Trump. They have told people this is a man who’s a bully, he’s mean-spirited, he’s narrow-minded, he’s all of these things, he’s not to be trusted, not to be believed, and here’s the evidence of it.

    And yet, among 18-to-34-year-olds, a key element in Barack Obama’s winning, his coalition, she’s at 27 percent favorable, 56 percent favorable. It isn’t just a matter of policy. She has adopted Bernie Sanders’ positions on student loans and so forth.

    There’s got to be something there. There has got to be a connection as to what she wants to do, how she’s going to be a better — and it’s going to be a better America and why it makes a difference.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. And it’s too late for her to be likable. She’s not going to win that.

    But she can at least say, OK, you don’t like him, you don’t like me, but here’s my change. Here’s my change. And just four things, here’s my change. And I’m going to burn down the house on this. But somehow that clarity of message has not been there.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And there were some economic numbers, census report, David, that came out this week that said the poverty rate has improved in this country. Middle — people who are earning middle incomes, their salaries have gone up.

    And yet, you know, you still see, as we saw in John Yang’s report from Ohio, many Americans aren’t feeling that.

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes. The numbers were fantastic.

    The poorer you are, the better your increase, basically. And the decline in the poverty rate, decline in inequality, the numbers were just fantastic. And I think two things are going on here.

    One, it’s not touching everywhere. Obviously, if you’re in a coal or an industrial area, you’re still not feeling it. Second, the incomes are still, on average, lower than they were in 1999 in real terms. But, third, we are over-reporting the negativism in this country, that we are — every — if it’s not bad, then we don’t talk about it, because somehow that’s a betrayal…

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s more newsworthy. Yes.

    DAVID BROOKS: And the negativity is exaggerated, compared to what you actually see in the diversity of the country.

    MARK SHIELDS: That’s a good point.

    Judy, cheers to John Yang on that wonderful piece on Trumbull County, Ohio, where, 15 years ago, one out of four jobs have been lost in the past 15 years. And he explained just exactly what has gone to the Rust Belt of America.

    But let’s just say good news. This is good news. The rising tide lifts all yachts. It’s row boats and dinghies. And poverty is down, and income up, the highest, Judy, in 49 years. Something — maybe the president deserves a little credit. Maybe policies are working and America, it isn’t midnight. It could be dawn.

    Mr. Trump, cheer up. Eventually, the news will get worse.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Mea culpa, the news business focuses on the negative. It makes better stories.

    Thank you both, Mark Shields, David Brooks. See you next week.

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    Protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, in Los Angeles, California, September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTSNMMZ

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first: As we reported last week, a protest in North Dakota continues to grow against a major oil pipeline continues to grow. Over 100 Native American tribes have joined the fight against the project, saying that it threatens one tribe’s water supply and its sacred lands.

    While the U.S. Justice Department has put a temporary halt to part of the project, as the “NewsHour”‘s William Brangham reports, the fight is far from over.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: After months of protest, it was a moment to celebrate. Last Friday, the Department of Justice blocked construction on part of the $4 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, the very pipeline that brought these thousands of protesters here to rural North Dakota.

    But celebration soon turned to suspicion. That’s because work on the pipeline hasn’t fully stopped. In areas outside of federal jurisdiction, construction continues, as do efforts to block it. At least 22 people were arrested this week.

    LIZ MCKENZIE, Navajo Tribe: It is most definitely not a victory.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Liz McKenzie drove 1,000 miles from Albuquerque to protest with her fellow Native Americans.

    LIZ MCKENZIE: People are finally noticing us, not as beings of the past, not as, like, costumes you buy in Halloween stores. Like, we are here, we are still fighting, and that does mean a lot.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The Dakota Access Pipeline begins in North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields, and would carry crude oil almost 1,200 miles through South Dakota and Iowa down to Illinois.

    The pipeline’s original path crossed the Missouri River just north of Bismarck, a city that’s 90 percent white. But when concerns were raised about a potential oil spill there, the pipeline was rerouted south to go under the river right next to the Standing Rock Reservation.

    The Missouri River is the reservation’s primary source of drinking water. The tribe says a spill there could be catastrophic for them. So, when construction started, a plea for help went out.

    LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: I am asking anybody who’s willing to stand with us to say that water is important to come stand with us.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Ladonna Brave Bull Allard put out that call. She is a member of Standing Rock, and her land looks over the ridge where the pipeline would be built.

    LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: When I put the call out, I really thought maybe 40 people would come. It’s overwhelming. In my own vision, I didn’t expect this.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Now over a hundred Native American tribes from across North America have joined Standing Rock’s movement. And in this sprawling camp, a community has formed.

    This kitchen serves donated food to all. Kids can take classes at a makeshift school. Cords of donated firewood are split and stacked, free for the taking.

    Why do you think that this has taken off and spoken to so many people from so many parts of the country?

    LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: The water. We know how precious that water is. We know that we must stand for the water.

    Mni Wiconi, we say, water of life. So, every time we drink water, we remind ourself how important the water is. Don’t you do that? You will now.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Protecting the water spurred Brenda Guachena to drive 30 hours from Southern California to be here. She’s from the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians. She came with dozens of people, including her grandkids, and brought trucks full of donated supplies.

    BRENDA GUACHENA, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians: Walking in, it was so humbling to see all of these flags. All of the people, of the native people in all the reservations that showed up here to show Standing Rock, we’re here to support you, and we’re not going to let people do this to us anymore.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Guy Jones was born in Standing Rock. He says the tribes are tired of being ignored.

    GUY JONES, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: They didn’t want it in Bismarck, but it was, oh, it’s OK if the Indians — you can go down and run it through the reservation where all those Indians live. You know, who cares about the Indians? And that’s one of the things that kind of incensed people.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The company that’s building the pipeline energy, Energy Transfer Partners, says it’s followed all the rules. And it points out the pipeline isn’t even on a reservation land. Plus, it argues that moving oil via modern pipelines is a far safer way than putting it on trucks or trains, which statistics show are far more likely to crash and spill.

    It also says the pipeline will generate revenue and jobs for North Dakota. We asked the company several times to talk with us on camera. They didn’t make anyone available.

    We did speak with Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, the trade association that includes Energy Transfer Partners.

    RON NESS, North Dakota Petroleum Energy Council: Pipelines are the most safe — most efficient, safest, and cost-effective way to move oil to market. And the products get there virtually 100 percent of the time without issue.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That said, the 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines across the U.S. do sometimes leak and rupture, and when they do, they often spill far more oil than a single train car carries. Since 1995, there’s been more than 2,000 significant accidents on oil and gas pipelines, causing about $3 billion in property damage.

    For example, in July 2010, at least 800,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Michigan. It was one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history, and the costliest. Almost 5,000 acres of wetland habitat was inundated with oil. Hundreds of animals were killed. Thousands more were recovered, cleaned and released. Full recovery could take decades.

    And just this summer, a pipeline in Canada spilled about 65,000 gallons of oil and other toxins into the North Saskatchewan River, polluting the drinking water used by the James Smith Cree Nation.

    The Petroleum Council says those kinds of spills near the Standing Rock Reservation are very unlikely.

    RON NESS: This pipe is 90 feet below the riverbed. It’s not going to leak right into the river. It’s got the detection equipment and the shutoff valves on each side of this pipeline.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But Ladonna Allard doesn’t believe the industry’s assurances. She says half-a-million gallons of oil coursing every day under their drinking water is not safe.

    LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: When that oil spills, who’s going to come save us? We’re Indian people. We’re expendable. Who is going to come? Who is going to come and give us water?

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The tribe’s other concern is that, even though the pipeline is just off their reservation, it still runs right through areas they say are sacred ancestral grounds.

    Ten days ago, the tribe submitted evidence of newly discovered artifacts and burial sites, asking a state court for an emergency injunction. But before the court could make a decision, bulldozers started digging in that area. Protesters broke through a fence to try and stop them. They were met with pepper spray and guard dogs.

    Last month, the tribe sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, arguing that, in its meetings with the tribe, the Corps ignored their concerns.

    David Archambault II is chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

    DAVID ARCHAMBAULT II, Chairman, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: They never heard us. It was just a process that keeps moving forward because of the interest of economic development, the interest of money, the interest of greed.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But, last Friday, a federal court in Washington rejected the tribe’s suit, allowing the pipeline to proceed. It was at that point that the Justice Department halted the project, directing the Corps and other agencies to take a second look at the tribe’s concerns.

    Now that the Department of Justice has stepped in and said they’re going to halt this construction, temporarily at least, is this over for you?

    DAVID ARCHAMBAULT II: It’s far from over, and we knew this coming in. Regardless of the outcome from the court’s decision, this was the beginning. It’s the start. We finally are getting people to hear.

    WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For now, on the lands near the reservation, construction equipment sits idle while the federal reviews are under way. Despite this delay, work on the pipeline continues elsewhere in North Dakota.

    Back at the camp, people have begun building shelters, so their vigil can carry on through the coming winter.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: On a related note, a large gasoline pipeline that supplies the Eastern United States was shut down this week after a quarter-million gallons of gasoline leaked near Birmingham, Alabama.

    And, online, you can hear more Native American voices from the front lines of the Standing Rock protest in an audio slide show. That’s on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/NewsHour.

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio, U.S., September 14, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTSNSQX

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now part two of our on-the-ground report from Ohio, one of the crucial swing states in this presidential election.

    Tonight, John Yang reports from a county in Northeastern Ohio that’s normally a Democratic stronghold, but where, because of the sluggish economy, Republicans are hoping to make inroads.

    This story is also part of our ongoing reporting initiative Chasing the Dream: poverty and Opportunity in America.

    JOHN YANG: In the Moore household in Newton Falls, Ohio, Donald Trump’s approval rating is just about 100 percent, three generations of voters, including a longtime Democrat who’s never voted Republican, enthusiastically backing the New York millionaire.

    You might call 21-year-old Danny Moore a Trump scholar. He wrote a college paper about his nomination.

    DANNY MOORE, Newton Falls, Ohio Resident: It was about the desire to be part of the movement to return America to its greatness and dominance in the world. The dominance of Donald Trump leads his supporters to believe he can and will do this for America.

    JOHN YANG: He got an A.

    DAN MOORE, Newton Falls, Ohio Resident: We’re on a course that is not sustainable.

    JOHN YANG: Danny gave Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” to his father, Dan, a self-described swing voter who says he was on the Obama bandwagon in 2008 and 2012.

    And now? Who are you voting for this fall?

    DAN MOORE: Absolutely Donald Trump. With him being a real estate developer and being involved in the construction industry, he had to be a good problem-solver.

    FRANCES KIMPTON, Newton Falls, Ohio Resident: He’s going to build the wall, and they’re going to pay for it.

    JOHN YANG: Dan’s 75-year-old mother-in-law, Frances Kimpton, is a lifelong Democrat who switched parties to vote for Trump in the Ohio primary.

    FRANCES KIMPTON: I would go in, and I would vote straight down the ticket everything Democrat. But now I’m going to do everything Republican. And I can’t wait to do it.

    JOHN YANG: Trumbull County is one of Ohio’s most reliably Democratic counties, delivering majorities around 60 percent to the party’s nominees since 1996.

    But Trump is trying to narrow that gap here and across Northeastern Ohio. He’s visited the region five times since August with a message about the economy.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: We’re going to bring jobs back to Ohio.

    JOHN YANG: It’s an appeal tailor-made for Trumbull County. One out of every four jobs that was here 15 years ago is gone, 26,000 in all, including more than 1,000 that disappeared when this steel mill closed in 2012.

    Dan Moore, a member of the United Steel Workers Union, has watched the industry’s slow, painful decline.

    DAN MOORE: working-class families were being hurt. They’re losing their homes, they’re losing their cars. One day, you’re middle class or upper middle class, and the next day you’re poverty class.

    JOHN YANG: He blames trade deals like NAFTA championed by President Bill Clinton.

    DAN MOORE: I believe that Donald Trump can do something to help, you know, make it a fairer playing board. He’s been very clear about his position on NAFTA. I believe that a Trump presidency will take a close look at NAFTA and the language of that agreement, and, if it can’t be reformed, he’s on record saying we will walk away from it.

    JOHN YANG: Like her son-in-law, Frances Kimpton doesn’t think President Obama has done enough.

    FRANCES KIMPTON: When Obama was running, I voted for him. And then I found out that he didn’t live up to what he said he was going to do. I voted for him twice, and I couldn’t believe how the situation is now.

    JOHN YANG: Trade has been an issue in Trumbull County since native son William McKinley was president. It was at his memorial in Niles that we spoke with Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. He wrote a book about Ohio’s significance in presidential elections, “The Bellwether.”

    KYLE KONDIK, University of Virginia Center for Politics: These are areas where anti-free trade populism has been popular for a very long time. This is generally a region that feels like maybe it has not benefited from trade agreements such as NAFTA.

    Trumbull County was actually Trump’s second best county in the whole state in terms of the primary, and there’s some thought that that will translate to the general election as well.

    JOHN YANG: But Trump’s message doesn’t resonate with other Democrats here, even though they see the same economic conditions.

    At Hillary Clinton’s local field office, Marie Yancey, a retired autoworker, was making phone calls.

    MARIE YANCEY: With Obama saving our jobs, she’s going to continue on. If they had let the auto industry fail, how many jobs around here would we not have? So, that’s why she has my vote.

    JOHN YANG: We talked to some steelworkers who talk about the steel jobs that have gone away. And they talked about trade. Some of them are Democrats. They say that is the reason they’re going to vote for Trump.

    What do you say to them?

    MARIE YANCEY: I don’t understand where their thinking comes from. I just don’t trust Trump. I think Trump thinks this presidency is like running “The Apprentice.” You can’t just say, you’re hired.

    JOHN YANG: Jim Roan is a retired banker.

    JIM ROAN: I don’t really see anything concrete about what he’s talking about. It’s fine to say, this has got to change, and I’m going to change it, but unless he’s Superman, which I don’t think he is, it just isn’t going to change that easily.

    There’s some very deep-seated problems here, and they’re not going to go away instantly.

    JOHN YANG: In this topsy-turvy election year, the traditional voting patterns in this crucial battleground state are in doubt.

    Analyst Kyle Kondik:

    KYLE KONDIK: The key question about Ohio is, how much can Clinton gain amongst traditional Republicans in the affluent suburbs vs. how much can Trump gain with traditional Democrats in the maybe-not-so-affluent blue-collar regions of the state?

    JOHN YANG: Like this county, where declining economic fortunes are leading voters like the Moores to rethink their political allegiances.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang in Trumbull County, Ohio.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we will bring you additional Chasing the Dream ground reports in the coming weeks.

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    A general view shows Castello road in Aleppo, Syria September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail - RTSO1TI

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Last Friday, the U.S. and Russia announced a deal to resume a tenuous cease-fire in Syria, in order to get much needed humanitarian aid to badly deprived civilians throughout the country. It went into effect Monday evening, and, thus far, the results are mixed.

    Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner begins our coverage.

    MARGARET WARNER: The day began with claims of progress in the four-day old cease-fire. Syrian state television showed bulldozers apparently clearing the Castello Road into war-ravaged Aleppo.

    That’s the crucial link for humanitarian aid convoys to enter Aleppo from Turkey. The Russians also announced that Syrian army units had pulled out of the area. But, within hours, all that changed.

    LT. GEN. VLADIMIR SAVCHENKO, Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria (through translator): Opposition groups have not started pulling armor and weapons from Castello Road. As a result, Syrian military vehicles and government troops were returned to the positions they occupied earlier.

    MARGARET WARNER: Rebel fighters denied that, and said government forces never left in the first place.

    FAYZ, Free Syrian Army Fighter (through translator): We are currently around a mile away from Castello Road, whereas the regime can be seen over there traveling through normally. Nothing has changed for them. It’s only us who have been forced to retreat.

    MARGARET WARNER: The finger-pointing left U.N. convoys stuck at the Turkish border for another day, without Syrian government permission to enter.

    JENS LAERKE, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: We are as ready to go as we can possibly be. The modalities for ensuring safe passage have not yet been cleared and given to us so that we can move.

    MARGARET WARNER: Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had negotiated the cease-fire in Geneva last weekend. They spoke by phone today, and, according to the State Department, Kerry said the delays on opening access for humanitarian aid were unacceptable.

    The White House went further, blaming the Russians.

    JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: They are the ones that have made a commitment to use their influence with the Assad regime to reduce the violence and allow humanitarian access. And either the Russians are unable to live up to the agreement. Maybe they don’t have the juice and influence that they claim to have and that we all thought they had. Or maybe they’re just unwilling.

    MARGARET WARNER: Meanwhile, there are other signs the cease-fire is fraying. Heavy fighting was reported today around the capital, Damascus. And tensions have cropped up within the U.S.-backed coalition battling the Islamic State in Syria.

    This amateur video today was said to show Americans, possibly special forces, leaving a Syrian border town after rebels protested their presence.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And Margaret joins me now.

    So, Margaret, one week in, it looks like this deal is not holding up well. What has gone wrong, and has anything going right?

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, the one thing that’s going right, Judy, is you don’t have all this heavy bombing of civilians, so we can’t lose sight of that. People are allowed to go out in Aleppo and shop if there’s anything to buy.

    But what’s not happening, as we just showed in the setup, is that humanitarian aid is not getting through. And that was, as Josh Earnest said, the Russians’ job to make sure that President Assad would let these convoys in, and they’re just not getting in.

    The two tracks, if both of those were satisfied, then they were going to set up this joint operations center, where the U.S. and Russians would somehow work together to target the Islamic State and the al-Qaida-linked group which used to be called the Nusra Front. But the White House made clear today, unless the other two checks are satisfied, they’re not going to even get to this joint integration center or operational center.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, the Russians are saying, though, that the United States bears some of the responsibility.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, you know, they have a point.

    The U.S. responsibility was to lean on its clients, which are the U.S.-vetted or CIA-vetted rebels, the so-called moderate opposition. And they have been, in many areas, really entangled with this al-Qaida-linked group, not ideologically, but simply because they fight more effectively together.

    And I have been told by people who have spoken to the military commanders of these groups that many of them are very suspicious. They say, well, if we have to disentangle from the Nusra fighters, who are the most effective ones, means we have to fall back, the U.S. and Russians will bomb the Nusra fighters, and Assad’s forces will come take the territory.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Margaret, explain, though, this apparent division between the State Department and the Pentagon over working with the Russians.

    MARGARET WARNER: Well, it’s really interesting, Judy, because not that you don’t always have this kind of friction — or often — but to have it burst into the open like this.

    The other day, I was at a conference in which the new head of CENTCOM, General Votel, was speaking, and he said, look, we can’t — there’s a trust deficit with the Russians. We don’t know what their objectives are. They will say one thing, and they don’t follow up. And this is particularly true in this whole Ukraine over these years of the Ukraine conflict, where the Russians would promise to do one thing and they would do something else.

    There are also specific risks. They are not going to really operate together. They were supposed to share intelligence. So, here are the Nusra fighters, here are the ISIS fighters.

    But what the Americans are very afraid of is that the Russians will take the information that superior U.S. intelligence has, either use that information to bomb the U.S.-backed rebels or pass that info on to the Assad forces. One military colonel, one Army colonel suggested that to me.

    And that also it’s hard to tell the Russians what we know without indicating how we know it. So the secretary of defense, Ash Carter, has actually spoken out.

    And the other interesting I heard today, Judy, is that this debate is being used by opponents of this deal in Moscow to say, well, if the American military isn’t even going to obey the orders, why should we do anything?

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is this really, though, Margaret, the last gasp of this information on Syria, and if that’s the case, then what happens after that?

    MARGARET WARNER: I’m afraid so.

    I went to the very first — Secretary Kerry keeps saying, we want to get to this political transition, these talks where there will be a discussion of a process and President Assad will slowly fade away.

    But I went to the very first talks back in, you know, Switzerland almost three years ago. I don’t think it’s moved at all. And at this point, that is a distant dream. If they could only get at least an end to a lot of the carnage on the ground — in other words, they — Kerry and Lavrov are now negotiating over a fifth of a loaf, and that now even appears in doubt.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Tough, tough story to follow.

    MARGARET WARNER: Yes, very.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Margaret Warner, we thank you.

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    BAJAUR, PAKISTAN - SEPTEMBER 16: A wounded kid is seen at the hospital after a Taliban suicide attacked at a mosque in Payee Khan, a village in tribal district of Mohmand, near Bajaur Agency in Pakistan on September 16, 2016. At least 25 people were killed and 30 people were wounded in attack. (Photo by Muhammad Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news:  A suicide bomber killed at least 24 worshipers and injured dozens more at a Sunni mosque in Northwest Pakistan.  The attacker struck at the village of Ambar in a tribal region near the Afghan border.  Despite this, security in Pakistan has actually improved since 2013, with attacks dropping by nearly half.

    President Obama made a new push today for the Trans-Pacific trade deal.  It’s been roundly denounced by both Democrats and Republicans during this campaign season.  The president blamed that on misinformation.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  If you’re frustrated about rules of trade that disadvantage America, if you’re frustrated about jobs being shipped overseas, then you want to get this thing passed, you want to get this thing done.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio was among political and business leaders meeting with the president, and urging Congress to approve the deal.  But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says there won’t be a vote before Mr. Obama leaves office.

    On Wall Street today, dropping oil prices were a factor as the Dow Jones industrial average lost 88 points to close at 18123.  The Nasdaq fell five and the S&P 500 dropped eight.  For the week, the Nasdaq rose 2 percent.  The Dow and the S&P gained a fraction.

    And as of today, beer began flowing beneath the streets of a medieval Belgian city.  After five months of construction, a brewery in Bruges opened a two-mile-long underground pipeline to pump beer to a suburban bottling plant.  It replaces heavy trucks rolling down narrow, cobblestone streets.

    XAVIER VANNESTE, Managing Director, Halve Maan Brewery:  We have up to four to five of these tanker trucks a day sometimes, and that’s really becoming difficult for environmental reasons.  But also, just in general, the livability of the inner center of Bruges is sometimes threatened to that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  The pipeline was partially financed through a crowdfunding appeal.  Top contributors receive a bottle of beer every day for the rest of their lives.

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacts as reporters yell questions to him after he stated that he believes U.S. President Barack Obama was born in the United States at a campaign event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSO2Y0

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  The presidential campaign took a sudden detour today, back to President Obama’s origins.

    For the first time, Donald Trump said publicly the president is, indeed, American by birth.  But, in the process, he stirred up a new storm of criticism.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  For the presidential opponents both holding events within blocks of the White House, the day was a battle over truths.  His aides had said it recently, but, for the first time, Donald Trump himself acknowledged President Obama is a natural-born American citizen.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.  Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

    LISA DESJARDINS:  It was a complete reversal for the man who years stoking the so-called birther controversy.  This is on “The Today Show” in 2011.

    DONALD TRUMP:  You are not allowed to be president if you are not born in this country.  He may not have been born in this country.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  When the White House made the president’s birth certificate public two weeks later, Trump questioned if the document was real.  And even as a presidential candidate, in January of this year, Trump refused to acknowledge the president was indeed born in Hawaii.

    WOLF BLITZER, CNN:  Is he a natural-born citizen?

    DONALD TRUMP:  Who knows?  Who knows?  Who cares right now?

    LISA DESJARDINS:  Today, clearly, Hillary Clinton cared, even before Trump spoke.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president.  His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie.  There is no erasing it in history.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  There was more outrage from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who said Trump is unrepentant and an opportunist.

    REP. G.K. BUTTERFIELD (D-N.C.):  By any definition, Donald Trump is a disgusting fraud.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  At the White House today, President Obama declined to respond to Trump’s public change on the issue.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  I was pretty confident about where I was born.  I think most people were as well.  And my hope would be that the presidential election reflects more serious issues than that.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  But Trump today raised another birther controversy.  He alleged Clinton is to blame.

    DONALD TRUMP:  Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy.  I finished it.

    LISA DESJARDINS:  There is no evidence of that.  Fact-checks proving it to be false abound.  Clinton’s 2008 campaign did fight tooth and nail with President Obama, but she never questioned his birthplace.

    There was one more geographic story today, where Trump chose to hold his event, his new D.C. hotel.  When Trump took cameras on a hotel tour, but wouldn’t allow producers who would ask questions, all of the major networks refused to use the footage, seeing it as a publicity stunt.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.

    JUDY WOODRUFF:  And Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be the only candidates at the first presidential debate in 10 days.  The Commission on Presidential Debates said today that Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein don’t have high enough standings in public opinion polls to qualify.

    The post Trump ends one Obama ‘birther’ rumor by starting another appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Video by ESPN

    Echoing the protests of football quarterback Colin Kaepernick, American soccer player Megan Rapinoe kneeled during the national anthem Thursday night, a decision U.S. Soccer later did not support.

    “Representing your country is a privilege and honor for any player or coach that is associated with U.S. Soccer’s National Teams. Therefore, our national anthem has particular significance for U.S. Soccer,” the organization said in a statement during the U.S. women’s team’s friendly match against Thailand in Columbus, Ohio.

    Although the governing body didn’t mention any punitive actions against Rapinoe, it added, “we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.”

    In a movement that began with San Francisco 49ers back-up quarterback Kaepernick, Rapinoe joins other pro athletes — and high schoolers — who have protested racial inequality in the U.S. by refusing to stand during the presentation of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

    “I think that the term ‘represent your country,’ when you play for your national team, is thrown about a lot,” Rapinoe told ESPN after Thursday’s game. “I truly feel like I’m representing my country in doing this, and representing everybody that lives in this country, not just the people that look like me or the people that I know [and] people that I have experiences with.”

    She also said that she plans to continue kneeling during the national anthem.

    After his team’s game on Monday night, Kaepernick said he does not “want to kneel forever,” but “there are some major changes that we can make that are very reasonable.”

    “For me it was something that, I couldn’t see another #SandraBland, #TamirRice, #WalterScott, #EricGarner. The list goes on and on and on,” he said, per the San Jose Mercury News. “At what point do we do something about it? At what point do we take a stand and as a people say, this isn’t right?”

    Thursday was the second time Rapinoe took a knee during the national anthem, but the first time she has done so wearing the U.S. uniform. On Sept. 4, the midfielder knelt as the anthem played ahead of a game between her club team, the Seattle Reign, and the Chicago Red Stars. She then stood and locked arms with her Seattle teammates during the anthem before a game on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

    Rapinoe was also denied an opportunity to kneel on Sept. 7 when an opposing team chose to play the anthem while the teams were still in the locker room.

    “I am very proud to pull on the shirt and be able to play for my country, and also represent my country in a different way, in speaking out for people that are oppressed,” she told ESPN.

    Rapinoe said she spoke with her coach and U.S. Soccer about her decision to kneel during the anthem.

    Rapinoe’s coach Jill Ellis told ESPN that even though she supports her player taking a stand, she expects members of the women’s national team to remain on their feet for anthem.

    “I was very clear in what I expected and needed,” she said. “Everything for me, from the day I took over this job, it’s about the team. And if something supersedes the team, that’s where I get concerned. And I think that’s something I have to reflect on now at this point.”

    READ MORE: Nearly a quarter of young black people say they’ve been harassed by police, poll finds

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    Diagram (left) and photo of 6,000-year-old fabric from Huaca Pieta, Peru. Photo by Lauren Urana/Jeffrey C. Splitstoser

    Diagram (left) and photo of 6,000-year-old fabric from Huaca Pieta, Peru. Photo by Lauren Urana/Jeffrey C. Splitstoser

    Indigo dye for clothing is a lot older than the invention of blue jeans — almost 6,000 years older, to be exact.

    Scientists have found Andean cotton fabric from Peru with traces of the popular dye, according to new research in the journal Science Advances. The team behind the discovery say this blue scrap of fabric may rewrite the history of clothing.

    “This finding forces us to see the history of the ancient Americas is our history too,” Jeffrey C. Splitstoser, an anthropologist at George Washington University, told the NewsHour.

    The artifact was recovered in Huaca Prieta, a coastal settlement in the Chicama Valley of Peru. Archaeologist Junius Bird first excavated the site in the 1940s. He found that the prehistoric village was big on textiles and created the oldest known cotton fabrics with recognizable patterns in the Americas. Bird noticed a blue shade in a few woven goods, but could not confirm if it was actually indigo.

    That’s where Splitstoser entered the fray.

    Trench dug by Junius Bird in the late 1940s. Textiles are visibly embedded in the mound. Photo by Jefrey C. Splitstoser.

    Trench dug by Junius Bird in the late 1940s. Textiles are visibly embedded in the mound. Photo by Jefrey C. Splitstoser.

    He visited Huaca Prieta and examined the fabrics in question with chemist Jan Wouters of University College London. Taking pieces of blue yarn from ancient blue-striped fabric and other textiles, they analyzed the samples and found indigotin, a plant-based indigoid dye. Before this discovery, the earliest known use of indigo was in ancient Egypt 1,500 years later.

    “Discoveries like this one in Peru help us gain a better understanding of humanity’s’ evolving relationship with color – how civilizations have created, applied and manipulated color in their environments,” said Jennifer Cohlman Bracchi, reference librarian at the Smithsonian Design Museum and curator of the “Color in a New Light” exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “This relationship should be considered just as insightful about a culture as studying their architecture, writings, and artifacts.”

    Cotton plain weave with indigo blue yarns forming a warp stripe on one edge and weft bands with a float patterning for a 6,000-year-old artifact. Photo by Lauren Urana

    Cotton plain weave with indigo blue yarns forming a warp stripe on one edge and weft bands with a float patterning for a 6,000-year-old artifact. Photo by Lauren Urana

    Splitstoser said cotton would not be a staple fabric for our t-shirts and blue jeans without innovations like this one by pre-Hispanic farmers of Huaca Prieta settlements. They domesticated cotton almost 8,000 years ago, and we still wear hybrids of those cotton plants today — even if the indigo dye we use now is synthetic.

    “We tend to be Eurocentric in our view of history, seeing a direct line from the ancient Greeks and sometimes the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Middle East to us, and we treat the histories of Africa, Asia and the Americas together as separate evolutionary history,” Splitstoser said.

    But other textile experts have split opinions over the discovery and its place in humanity’s color timeline.

    6,000-year-old, all-cotton band made of warp-faced plain-weave band with a decorative stripe down the center that is two-color complementary-warp weave in indigo blue and gold iron oxide (ochre). Photo by Lauren Urana

    6,000-year-old, all-cotton band made of warp-faced plain-weave band with a decorative stripe down the center that is two-color complementary-warp weave in indigo blue and gold iron oxide (ochre). Photo by Lauren Urana

    Susan Brown, textile curator at the Smithsonian Design Museum, told the NewsHour that these findings do not radically change the facts of human history. She said that cave drawings almost 40,000 years old used colors, and the reason we don’t have examples of older textiles is that they are biodegradable.

    Andrea Feeser, art historian and author of the book “Red, White, and Black Make Blue: Indigo in the Fabric of Colonial South Carolina Life,” agreed. She told the NewsHour that most of the existing research on indigo — including that different cultures developed the dye independent of one another — would still stand. But the culture behind the history of this dye could shift.

    “The authors begin their article by noting that the Spanish who colonized much of the Americas were almost as taken with Inca tapestry cloth as with gems and metals,” Feeser said, “This framing device is instructive: Value is first cast in the terms and context of Western empire.”

    With the growing number of Latino immigrants to the United States, Splitstoser said we need to recognize the influence of their culture on our own.

    “Indigenous South Americans were sophisticated dyers, weavers and farmers who were the first people known to have grown and woven cotton and used indigo dye to decorate it,” he said. “The Old World does not have a monopoly on technological or agricultural achievement. Some advancements were made in the New World first.”

    The post Blue jeans have a 6,000 year-old Peruvian ancestor appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Pope Francis talks during the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli - RTX2OG7L

    Pope Francis talks during the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican on Sept. 7, 2016. Photo by Remo Casilli/Reuters

    VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has encouraged Europeans to welcome refugees, calling authentic hospitality “our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.”

    Francis Saturday spoke to alumni of Jesuit schools in Europe who were in Rome for a conference on refugees.

    The pope said: “I encourage you to welcome refugees into your homes and communities, so that their first experience of Europe is not the traumatic experience of sleeping cold on the streets, but one of warm welcome.”

    Telling his audience that more than 65 million persons are forcibly displaced around the world, he advised going “beyond mere statistics.”

    [Watch Video]

    He said each refugee “has a name, a face and a story, as well as an inalienable right to live in peace and to aspire to a better future” for their children.

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump states that he believes U.S. President Barack Obama was born in the United States at a campaign event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTSO2HL

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump states that he believes U.S. President Barack Obama was born in the United States at a campaign event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 16, 2016. Photo by Mike Segar/ReutersL

    MIAMI — Donald Trump was making his usual sarcastic call for Hillary Clinton’s Secret Service agents to be stripped of their firearms when he added an aside to his rally remarks: “Let’s see what happens to her.”

    Soon after, Clinton’s campaign said such a reference to violence was out of bounds.

    Trump has long incorrectly suggested his Democratic opponent wants to overturn the Second Amendment and take away Americans’ right to own guns. In Miami on Friday, his riff about confiscating the agents’ guns went further.

    “I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm, right?” Trump asked the crowd. “Take their guns away, she doesn’t want guns. Take their — and let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away. OK, it would be very dangerous.”

    Trump’s meaning was not immediately clear and a campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for an elaboration.

    But the Clinton campaign had a quick reaction. Her campaign manager, Robby Mook, released a statement saying Trump “has a pattern of inciting people to violence. Whether this is done to provoke protesters at a rally or casually or even as a joke, it is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of Commander in Chief.

    “This kind of talk should be out of bounds for a presidential candidate,” Mook wrote.

    [Watch Video]

    A spokeswoman for the Secret Service declined to comment.

    The seemingly ominous comment evoked a remark Trump made last month that many Democrats condemned as a call for Clinton’s assassination. Speaking at a rally in North Carolina, the Republican nominee erroneously said his opponent wants to “abolish, essentially, the Second Amendment.”

    He continued: “By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

    Within minutes, the Clinton campaign condemned the remark. Mook said then, “A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”

    Trump later disputed that criticism, saying everyone in his audience knew he was referring to the power of voters and “there can be no other interpretation.”

    Trump, who has the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, eventually took to Twitter to say the Secret Service had not contacted him about the remarks.

    The comments Friday in Miami came hours after Trump finally reversed his long-held position that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Appearing in Washington, he said Obama was born in the United States but then incorrectly suggested that the Clinton campaign had started the conspiracy theory.

    Trump ignored questions from reporters about his switch and has yet to explain why he abandoned the “birther” stance that fueled his political fame and was viewed by critics as an attempt to delegitimize the nation’s first African-American president.

    While campaigning in South Florida, which has a large Cuban-American population, Trump also said that if he’s elected president, he will reverse Obama’s efforts to normalize relations with Cuba — unless the country abides by certain “demands.” Among those, he said, would be religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of all political prisoners.

    Trump says he’ll “stand with the Cuban people in their fight against communist oppression.”

    The comment marks yet another reversal for the GOP candidate, who previously said he supported the idea of normalized relations, but wished the U.S. had negotiated a better deal.

    Trump also said the U.S. has a broader obligation to stand with oppressed people — a comment that seems at odds with his “America first” mantra. “The next president of the United States must stand in solidarity with all people oppressed in our hemisphere, and we will stand with oppressed people, and there are many,” he said.

    He added that the people of Venezuela “are yearning to be free, they are yearning for help. The system is bad. But the people are great.”

    Trump has often cited the country as a model of a failed state, warning that if Clinton is elected, she’ll turn the U.S. into Venezuela.

    Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

    The post Disarm Clinton’s bodyguards, ‘let’s see what happens,’ Trump says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Edward Albee accepts applause from the audience after he was awarded his Lifetime Achievement Tony Award at the American Theatre Wing's 59th Annual Tony Awards show at Radio City Music Hall in New York, June 5, 2005. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen/File Photo - RTSO4FL

    Edward Albee accepts applause from the audience after he was awarded his Lifetime Achievement Tony Award at the American Theatre Wing’s 59th Annual Tony Awards show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 5, 2005. Photo by Jeff Christensen/File Photo/Reuters

    Edward Albee, who interrogated contemporary life with plays that exposed the drama and psychology of human relationships, died Friday at 88, his personal assistant Jakob Holder confirmed.

    Albee’s long career earned him Pulitzer Prizes for A Delicate Balance, Seascape and Three Tall Women, along with two Tony Awards and a Tony Lifetime Achievement Award. But his most famous work, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” was his biggest source of acclaim.“The purpose of serious theater has always been to hold a mirror up to people and say, ‘Hey, this is you. If you don’t like what you see, why don’t you change?'” — Edward Albee

    The play captivated audiences with its acerbic portrayal of marital dysfunction between Martha and George, her history professor husband. Told in three acts, the play follows the course of an evening between Martha and George and the young couple they’ve invited to visit their home: Nick, a biology professor, and Honey, his wife.

    The conversation between the older and younger couple eventually devolves into “a series of horrifying, macabre psychological games, cruel challenges and spilled secrets,” The New York Times wrote. In one monologue, Martha describes her husband George: “George, who is out somewhere there in the dark, who is good to me – whom I revile, who can keep learning the games we play as quickly as I can change them. Who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy.”

    Albee said he wrote the play’s cutting dialogue to dig “so deep under the skin that it becomes practically intolerable.”

    LONDON - APRIL 14:  Matthew Kelly (L) and Louise Kempton perform in Edward Albee's multi award winning play 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' at Trafalgar Studios on April 14, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)

    Matthew Kelly, left, and Louise Kempton, right, perform in Edward Albee’s multi award winning play ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ at Trafalgar Studios on April 14, 2009, in London, England. Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage/Getty Images

    His approach to the play reflected his general approach to theater. He told the NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown in 2005, “The purpose of serious theater has always been to hold a mirror up to people and say, ‘Hey, this is you. If you don’t like what you see, why don’t you change?'”

    And it worked: upon the play’s opening in 1962, The New York Times’ Howard Taubman said it was “possessed by raging demons. It is punctuated by comedy, and its laughter is shot through with savage irony. At its core is a bitter, keening lament over man’s incapacity to arrange his environment or private life so as to inhibit his self-destructive compulsions.”

    It was first staged in 1962 at the Billy Rose Theatre on Broadway, starring Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1963, but the advisory board, who awards the prize, said it was not “uplifting” enough — a complaint “related to arguments over sexual permissiveness and rough dialogue,” according to the Pulitzer Prizes website. Two Pulitzer jurors resigned in protest of the decision.

    The 1966 movie adaptation of the play — starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, whose own rocky marriage regularly dominated headlines — cemented the play’s cultural legacy.

    Actors Maria Bill as Martha and Guenter Franzmeier as George perform during a dress rehearsal of Edward Albee's play "Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf...?" on stage of Vienna's Volkstheater, October 4, 2007. The play is directed by Antoine Uitdehaag and will have its premiere night October 7.  REUTERS/Herwig Prammer  (AUSTRIA) - RTR1UKSE

    Actors Maria Bill as Martha and Guenter Franzmeier as George perform during a dress rehearsal of Edward Albee’s play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” on stage of Vienna’s Volkstheater, on Oct. 4, 2007. Photo by Herwig Prammer/Reuters

    Albee told the Paris Review in 1966 that the play’s name came from soap graffiti on a saloon mirror:

    “There was a saloon — it’s changed its name now — on Tenth Street, between Greenwich Avenue and Waverly Place, that was called something at one time, now called something else, and they had a big mirror on the downstairs bar in this saloon where people used to scrawl graffiti. At one point back in about 1953 …1954, I think it was — long before any of us started doing much of anything — I was in there having a beer one night, and I saw ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ scrawled in soap, I suppose, on this mirror. When I started to write the play it cropped up in my mind again. And of course, who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf means who’s afraid of the big bad wolf who’s … afraid of living life without false illusions. And it did strike me as being a rather typical university, intellectual joke.”

    Over the years, Albee’s success interspersed with plays that were panned by critics, in a mix that Playbill called “a roller-coaster output of hits and misses.” He found that Virginia Woolf’s success “hung about my neck like a shining medal of some sort – really nice but a trifle onerous,” as he described in 1996.

    He told the NewsHour in 2005 that people expected him to write the same play over and over again. “When I wrote a metaphysical melodrama about ‘Tiny Alice,’ that upset people because it wasn’t ‘Son of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.’ There are two bad things for a writer: Imitating other people and imitating himself. I never wanted to do either one. So you always keep on guard for both of those,” he said.

    He acknowledged that many playwrights become known for one key piece. “It’s better to have one that people know you for than none, and you put up with the other stuff,” he told Brown. “It should never be comparative, because any playwright, every play he writes is the first play he’s ever written.”

    Arlene Lormestoire contributed reporting.

    The post How Edward Albee felt about his most famous work appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    File photo by Getty Images

    “Bedless hospitals” are treating patients without holding them overnight. Photo by Getty Images

    BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — Get in, get a new knee, go home.

    As treatments get less invasive and recovery times shrink, a new kind of hospital is cropping up — the “bedless hospital.”

    They have all the capabilities of traditional hospitals: operating rooms, infusion suites, and even emergency rooms and helipads. What they don’t have is overnight space.

    “It reduces cost, and it reduces the risk of infection,” said Dr. Akram Boutros, CEO of MetroHealth System, which just opened a $48 million bedless hospital near Cleveland that he expects will serve about 3,000 people in the first year. “People go home to a less-risky environment, where they tend to get better faster.”

    The growth in outpatient healthcare is a fundamental shift in US medicine. MetroHealth, which gets part of its funding from taxpayers and serves a large Medicaid population, has expanded outpatient visits from 850,000 to 1.2 million in the last four years, a 40 percent increase.

    Outpatient visits, experts say, subsidize more expensive inpatient treatment.

    But some observers worry that the development of bedless hospitals is part of a financial shell game hospitals must play to make the dollars match up with the care they offer. And they wonder if such facilities are diverting resources away from a large population of patients who still require more complex treatment.

    “The untold story is what’s happening to all of those patients who do still need to be in the hospital,” said Harold Miller, chief executive of the Center for Health Care Quality and Payment Reform. “And are the places where they are going getting paid enough to support good care?”

    What’s driving the development of bedless hospitals, said several hospital executives, are changes in reimbursement, both from the federal government and private insurers.

    At UCLA Medical Center, keeping patients out of the hospital — and delivery care in their communities — is a key part of the financial strategy. The health system operates about 160 clinics across the Los Angeles area, including several outpatient surgery centers. In many cases, said CEO Johnese Spisso, those facilities are needed because insurers will no longer pay for procedures to be performed in a regular hospital.

    “Hospitals tend to be the highest-cost setting because of the intensity of services there,” she said. “You see a dramatic difference in the payment for inpatient and outpatient services.”

    The rise of bedless hospitals has also tracked the development of streamlined treatments. Several years ago, doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center started brainstorming plans for more surgical space — an exercise that led to efforts to create standardize protocols for routine surgeries, such as mastectomies, that could be done without prolonged hospital stays.

    The end result was the Josie Robertson Surgery Center, a 16-story building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where doctors perform outpatient cancer surgeries. It has 28 short-stay beds, but most patients leave within hours of their procedures.

    Dr. Brett Simon, director of the surgery center, said physicians now use standard sets of instruments and antibiotics during each procedure and order the same lab tests to monitor patients afterward. Not having to house patients for two or three days postsurgery saves them money.

    “We can manage patients along what we know is an effective pathway,” Simon said.

    And if problems arise, patients can quickly be stabilized and transferred to the inpatient hospital located nearby, the executives said.

    While none of the health systems could produce system-wide cost-saving data, the harder calculation, said Simon, is how much revenue will be generated. Payments to Josie Robertson come from Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurers. In prior years, when funding was based purely on the length of stay, moving patients through the hospital quickly would have been a money-loser. In its first year, the surgery center is expected to perform about 7,600 procedures, with that number to rise to about 12,000 over the next five years.

    But under the Affordable Care Act and other reforms, reimbursement is linked more directly with the effectiveness of treatment, meaning providers are rewarded financially if they can deliver better care at a lower cost.

    For MetroHealth, building and buying bedless hospitals is part of a strategy to compete with Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. While a helipad at its new building offers the capability to treat patients facing medical emergencies, most people will come for the convenience of having all medical services — primary care and specialty services — in one location near their homes.

    ”We know that convenience matters for patients,” Boutros said. “They would like to do the least amount of travel between themselves and the health care organization. The closer you are, the more likely you are to have a closer relationship with them.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Sept. 16, 2016. Find the original story here.

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    Two boys from Standing Rock tribe overlook the huge encampment of people who've come to support their efforts to stop construction of a $3b oil pipeline near their reservation in North Dakota. Photo by William Brangham

    Two boys from Standing Rock tribe overlook the huge encampment of people who’ve come to support their efforts to stop construction of a $3b oil pipeline near their reservation in North Dakota. Photo by William Brangham

    FORT PIERRE, S.D. — Henry Red Cloud’s recent trip to the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation filled him with conviction, compelling the South Dakota Democratic candidate to dance, sing — and campaign.

    The 56-year-old Oglala Sioux green energy entrepreneur hopes the vigor focused on defeating the $3.8 billion, four-state Dakota Access pipeline will help win his longshot bid for election to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, which regulates oil pipelines.

    Red Cloud, a direct descendent of famous Lakota warrior and leader Red Cloud, is applying a new approach among tribal members working to stop oil development: become a regulator instead of having to ask for their help. He is one of at least two Native Americans nationwide running for such a post.

    “A whole lot of people are going to start voting here in the state of South Dakota,” Red Cloud, who lives near Oglala, told The Associated Press. “I’m also bringing the awareness out on what the PUC regulates, and it’s all about currently what’s happening in Standing Rock camp.”

    Since April, there’s been a tribal protest at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers in southern North Dakota, and it has grown considerably. Owned by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile project would carry nearly a half-million barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota’s oil fields through South Dakota and Iowa to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Illinois,

    The Republican-controlled Public Utilities Commission, which approved the Dakota Access pipeline project last year, is leading South Dakota in a “downward spiral” rather than toward its huge potential for leadership in renewable energy, said Red Cloud, who is running as a Democrat. He is running on a green energy platform for a six-year term against Chris Nelson, a Republican former secretary of state who has served on the three-member commission since 2011.

    Nelson, 52, has been campaigning on keeping electricity rates low and expanding broadband internet access in rural areas. He said he has a record of making decisions absent a political agenda or personal whims.

    “What I think of an oil pipeline is absolutely irrelevant in the job that I do as a Public Utilities commissioner,” Nelson said, adding that he has to make judgments on each case based on the facts presented and the law that applies.

    It will be hard for Red Cloud to get elected in the strongly Republican state. The first-time candidate recently told a group of about 20 aging Democrats in Fort Pierre that he’s looking for strong turnout by Native American voters.

    Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Minnesota-based Indigenous Environmental Network, said Red Cloud’s bid is exciting because pipeline opponents have spent so much time and energy struggling from the outside against the commission in the permitting process.

    It was the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and the efforts to thwart them before state regulators, that helped illuminate for many people the power the Public Utilities Commission holds, he said.

    “It’s nice to see Native folks get the motivation to run for office like this, but it’s the content of his character and the qualities that he brings that really send it over the top as far as my support for him,” Goldtooth said.

    Red Cloud owns a solar air heating system company and co-manages the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, which offers green jobs training. He plans to return this month to deliver a mobile solar power plant to the North Dakota protest camp hundreds of miles from the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

    Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun said the protest south of her home in Bismarck, North Dakota, has propelled her Public Service Commission campaign “into insanity.”

    Hunte-Beaubrun, a Democrat, opposes the Dakota Access project, but she’s taken a pragmatic position on pipelines in general, recognizing the role oil production plays in North Dakota’s economy.

    Still, Hunte-Beaubrun wants to make sure that tribes in North Dakota are represented on the commission, so she’s challenging Republican Julie Fedorchak. So far, voters have seemed receptive about her work, said Fedorchak, who was appointed in 2012 and elected in 2014.

    “It is 2016, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t have a room of speckled people instead of a solid sheet of paper,” Hunte-Beaubrun said.

    The post Native American candidates hope for pipeline protest boost appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. first lady Michelle Obama smiles after speaking during the first session at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young - RTSJMIH

    U.S. first lady Michelle Obama smiles after speaking during the first session at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young – RTSJMIH

    FAIRFAX, Va. — Stepping deeper into the political fray, Michelle Obama warned young voters against being “tired or turned off” in the 2016 election. She urged them to rally behind Hillary Clinton, “particularly given the alternative.”

    Mrs. Obama is emerging as one of Clinton’s most effective advocates, especially with voters who backed President Barack Obama but are less enthusiastic about his potential Democratic successor. The Clinton team’s biggest challenge regarding Mrs. Obama is getting the reluctant campaigner to commit to more events.

    The rally Friday in Virginia was Mrs. Obama’s first solo campaign event for Clinton and comes nearly two months after her star turn at the Democratic convention. Speaking to mostly students at George Mason University, she repeatedly jabbed Trump without mentioning him by name, declaring that being president “isn’t anything like reality TV.”

    The first lady pointedly called out those who continue to question the president’s citizenship “up to this very day.” Drawing on a frequently quoted line from her convention speech, Mrs. Obama said her husband had responded to those questions by “”going high when they go low.”

    Hours earlier, Trump stated for the first time that the president was born in the United States, though he did not apologize for devoting years to promoting false allegations that Obama was not an American citizen.

    Beyond her ability to take on Trump with a smile, Mrs. Obama’s real value to Clinton is her wild popularity with Democratic voters, particularly young people and blacks. She vouched repeatedly for Clinton’s resume and character, urging voters motivated by her husband’s history-making campaigns to feel the same way about the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. party.

    “When I hear folks saying that they don’t feel inspired in this election, well let me tell you, I disagree— I am inspired,” Mrs. Obama said.

    Clinton aides want Mrs. Obama in battleground states as much as possible between now and Election Day. Friday’s rally in northern Virginia, less than an hour drive from the White House, is the only event she’s publicly committed to, though the Clinton campaign expects her to make additional appearances.

    Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director and a former Obama adviser, called the first lady “an advocate without peer.”

    “There is no other surrogate with the reach, credibility and respect she has,” Palmieri said.

    Clinton herself has started referencing Mrs. Obama in her campaign remarks, using her convention address as a guidepost for what she promises will be a more aspirational finish to her campaign.

    “As Michelle Obama said in her fabulous speech at the Democratic Convention, when we go to the polls this November, the real choice isn’t between Democrat or Republican. It’s about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four years of their lives,” Clinton said Thursday during a campaign stop in Greensboro, North Carolina.

    That convention address ran just about 10 minutes, yet it was perhaps the most powerful of the four-day gathering. In the midst of a heated campaign, with two candidates who are viewed negatively by so many Americans, the first lady provided a striking contrast by speaking as a mother hopeful about her daughters’ future.

    “Part of what makes her so appealing and effective as a surrogate is that she’s relentlessly positive, even when things on the campaign trail get negative,” said Olivia Alair Dalton, Mrs. Obama’s former spokeswoman.

    Mrs. Obama has carefully cultivated her image as a devoted mother who prefers to stay out of the political fray. She sets limits on how often she’s willing to campaign, even for her husband’s White House races, and largely steers clear of controversial topics. And she’s embraced her role as a pop culture fixture far more willingly than her role as one of the most popular figures in Democratic politics.

    Unlike her husband, who forged a strong bond with Clinton during her four years as his secretary of state, Mrs. Obama does not have a particularly close relationship with the Democratic nominee, though the two are said to be friendly.

    Yet the first lady is fiercely protective of her husband’s legacy and has been a major player in discussions about his presidential library and other post-White House projects. And there’s perhaps nothing more crucial to preserving Obama’s legacy than a Clinton victory.

    The post Michelle Obama warns young voters against being ‘turned off’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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