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

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    This Saturday, the PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown and Book View Now’s Rich Fahle will co-host a live broadcast from the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival. Brown and Fahle will be interviewing more than a dozen authors, including Stephen King, Salman Rushdie, Yaa Gyasi, Bob Woodward, Jacqueline Woodson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Marilynne Robinson and Joyce Carol Oates, along with others. You can watch the interviews on Saturday beginning at 12 p.m. EDT in the player above and join in the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #NatBookFest.

    READ NEXT: The new Librarian-in-Chief picks her favorite children’s book

    The post Watch: Jeffrey Brown interviews authors at the National Book Festival appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Washington State Trooper Mark Francis speaks to the media at the Cascade Mall following reports of an active shooter in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 23, 2016.  REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight - RTSP7HA

    Washington State Trooper Mark Francis speaks to the media at the Cascade Mall following reports of an active shooter in Burlington, Washington, on Sept. 23, 2016. Photo by Matt Mills McKnight/Reuters

    Authorities are searching for the man who fatally shot five people at Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, about 65 miles north of Seattle, on Friday evening.

    Witnesses heard gunshots at the mall around 7 p.m. local time, Seattle station KIRO 7 reported. Police said four people died at the mall, and a fifth died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle early Saturday morning.

    Police spokesman Sgt. Mark Francis released a photo of the suspect on Twitter, who was last seen walking toward Interstate 5, and said that authorities believe there was one shooter.

    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.

    Tari Caswell told the Skagit Valley Herald she heard “what sounded like four balloons popping” while in a Macy’s dressing room.

    “Then I heard seven or eight more, and I just stayed quiet in the dressing room because it just didn’t feel right. And it got very quiet. And then I heard a lady yelling for help, and a man came and got me and another lady, and we ran out of the store.”

    The shooting came a week after a stabbing attack left 10 people injured at the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

    The post Washington mall shooting leaves five people dead appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Businesswoman sitting at table in restaurant with head resting on hand

    Businesswoman sitting at table in restaurant with head resting on hand

    It often starts with the aura.

    Zig-zagging lines come into view, everyday light becomes searingly bright, and vision starts to slip. These are signals that a debilitating migraine is on its way.

    “It’s like you’re possessed,” said Lorie Novak, who has suffered from chronic migraines since childhood. “I almost feel separate from my body, like it’s just this painful shell around me that’s not me.”

    Novak, now in her 60s, is one of the roughly 35 million Americans who suffer from migraines. There are few effective treatments, and no new drugs have been developed since the early 1990s.

    But that could soon change. A handful of drug companies are pressing ahead with novel injectable therapies for migraines, chasing a blockbuster market that Wall Street analysts say could reach $8 billion a year in worldwide sales.

    The new drugs target a bodily protein called CGRP, which plays a role in the dilation of blood vessels in the brain. Scientists haven’t nailed down just how the protein affects migraines, but they’re sure about two things: CGRP levels rocket up when headaches attack and normalize when they go away.

    And thus four drug makers — Amgen, Eli Lilly, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Alder Biopharmaceuticals — have fashioned antibodies that can bind to CGRP molecules and block their activity. The goal: to relieve the scourge of chronic migraines by stopping CGRP in its tracks.

    So far, it seems to be working. In mid-stage clinical trials, each of the four treatments has eased symptoms for about half of study participants, cutting the number of days they’re afflicted by migraines roughly in half. It’s by no means a cure for migraines, but it should be enough to merit Food and Drug Administration approvals if the companies can replicate those results in larger trials, according to Eric Schmidt, a securities analyst at Cowen and Co.

    Each treatment is now in late-stage development, targeting the roughly 38 percent of migraine sufferers who, like Novak, have at least four headache days per month. The first therapy could hit the market in 2018, and, if everything works out, all four could available by the end of the decade.

    So far, the four drugs have performed similarly in clinical trials, and analysts expect the contenders will have to compete on price to grab market share.

    “There will certainly be hypercompetition,” said William Ratner, Lilly’s senior director of global headache marketing. But the companies’ fortunes are intertwined, he said, and “the class only wins if headache care in America improves.”

    Aiming to prevent migraines before they start

    There’s plenty of room for improvement. Existing therapies are plagued by inconsistent efficacy and troublesome side effects, and patients are often left to rely on a repurposed treatment for epilepsy. That medication, Topamax, has been dubbed dubbed “Sleepomax” by doctors and patients because it’s also a heavy sedative.

    “I’m very enthusiastic, as I think everyone in the field is, about having another treatment option for people with migraines,” said Dr. Elizabeth Loder, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and chief of the headache division in the department of neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

    Targeting CGRP is not a particularly new idea. Researchers picked up on the protein’s scent more than 30 years ago, and drug companies spent years trying to craft pills that might block its activity. Merck got all the way into late-stage trials with an anti-CGRP tablet, spending more than $1 billion only to find in 2011 that the drug had toxic effects on the liver and thus no future.

    With the “exquisite sensitivity” of an antibody, however, scientists believe they can block CGRP without triggering dangerous side effects, Alder CEO Randy Schatzman said.

    Because antibodies stay active in the body for weeks, the drug companies see their new products as preventative therapies, injected monthly or quarterly to keep headaches at bay. (Merck’s failed pill, by contrast, was meant as an on-the-spot treatment after the pain started.)

    “So in some senses, it’s a paradigm shift,” Schatzman said.

    But there are still hurdles to clear. Only about half of patients seem to respond to CGRP antibodies, and the companies have no way of predicting who they are ahead of time. A genetic test would be “the Holy Grail of personalized medicine,” said Rob Lenz, Amgen’s global development lead for neuroscience, but no one has made one yet.

    And long-term safety remains a major question mark. To date, none of the companies has reported serious side effects in clinical trials, but they’ve only reported data from 12-week studies on about 1,500 total patients. It will take years to determine just what the new therapies do to the body over time, Loder said.

    ‘I felt like my life was being stolen from me’

    Any advance, even an incremental one, would be a major leap for the field, said Emily Bates, who studies the genetic causes of headaches at the University of Colorado and is not affiliated with any of the companies working on migraine treatment.

    Bates struggled with chronic migraines in high school and college. Like many patients, she didn’t respond to any of the preventative therapies available.

    “The pain is more than anything I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve run on broken legs before,” she said. “I felt like my life was being stolen from me.”

    Collectively, Americans miss about 113 million workdays each year because of migraine. That lost productivity costs society about $13 billion each year, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

    Yet scientific progress has been slow, in part because migraine was long considered a psychosomatic condition not worthy of serious research funding, Bates said.

    It’s a “subjective symptom that predominantly affects women,” said Loder, the Harvard neurologist. “That’s a perfect combination of things that make people feel able to dismiss it.”

    Novak, a professor of photography at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, spent years trying to hide her migraines because of the stigma attached to the condition. But she decided to change all that in 2009 with a project called Migraine Register. She posts a photo of herself each day she has a migraine. Some years, that’s more than 120 pictures.

    The idea, in part, was to humanize chronic migraines. But the project also forced Novak to reckon with the toll of the disease, something she had tried to ignore for years.

    “That for me was like a concrete proof of how it really does affect my life,” Novak said, “of how much time I lose.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Sept. 23, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post The drug industry might finally have an answer for migraines appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Aston, Pennsylvania, U.S. September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTSP1JN

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Aston, Pennsylvania, U.S. September 22, 2016. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    NEW YORK — Since he entered the presidential race, it’s been Donald Trump’s style to break with convention. It’s no different when it comes to debate prep.

    The New York billionaire has skipped practicing a full debate as he gets ready for his first on-stage meeting with Hillary Clinton. While he has studied policy ideas and practiced answering questions he may face Monday night, experts who have been through the process call his decision to skip time-intensive mock debates a mistake.

    “I think he’s putting himself at an incredible disadvantage,” said Brett O’Donnell, a Republican strategist and veteran debate coach who compared Trump’s decision to a football team failing to scrimmage.

    Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, has run through full-length mock debates against a stand-in for Trump during her preparation sessions. For good reason, O’Donnell said. Gaming out every potential permutation of what might happen in the 90-minute showdown helps a candidate calculate how to respond.

    “If you simulate what could happen in the debates, then you understand how to handle those moments when they actually do happen,” he said.

    [Watch Video]

    Trump’s approach couldn’t be more different than the one pursued in 2012 by Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who started holding practice debates in late August — more than a month before the first general election debate.

    His preparations were meticulous: The practice podiums were built to match those he would find on the debate stage and the mock debates were precisely timed. Later rehearsals were held in hotels across the country as he campaigned, with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman playing the part of President Barack Obama.

    In all, Romney held 16 mock debates and arrived in Denver, the site of his first meeting with Obama, several days in advance for final run-throughs and even to prepare for the host city’s altitude. He won high marks in the opening debate against a lackluster Obama, who picked up his game in later debates.

    Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who played then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in mock debates against Vice President Joe Biden in 2008, described such sessions as “absolutely crucial.”

    Granholm said Biden’s mock sessions aimed to “replicate the circumstances as close to the real thing as possible,” with the stand-in and candidate testing out different approaches to the debate.

    That includes practicing for the added challenge of debating a woman. Research has shown that a combative debating style can backfire when it’s used against female opponents, especially among women who are watching, said Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University.

    Granholm said that Biden’s advisers were acutely aware of that as they prepared to take on Palin, and he practiced to make sure he never came across as paternalistic or lecturing.

    “There’s a slice of the voters who are very sensitive about a man appearing to bully a woman,” Granholm said. “So whether it’s in your physical space or verbally, I think it sets off alarms bells and it’s something that Donald Trump has to worry about.”

    Trump’s advisers have coached the celebrity businessman to resist attempts by Clinton to provoke him with questions about his business record, wealth or contentious comments about minorities, including his fabricated theories about where Obama was born.

    But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is part of a rotating cast of advisers helping the Republican nominee get ready for the debates, said there’s also a risk of coaching Trump too much.

    “His instincts are so different than everyone else’s that I think trying to coach him will screw him up,” Gingrich said. “He won every debate he was in by saying things no one else would. Don’t mess with that.”

    The post Trump’s unconventional debate prep skips mock debates appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Law enforcement officers mark evidence near the site where Ahmad Khan Rahami, sought in connection with a bombing in New York, was taken into custody in Linden, New Jersey, U.S., September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSOGL3

    Law enforcement officers mark evidence near the site where Ahmad Khan Rahami, sought in connection with a bombing in New York, was taken into custody in Linden, New Jersey, on Sept. 19, 2016. Photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The man accused in the Manhattan bombing was flagged for an interview with Customs officials in the course of an overseas trip, was accused two years ago of stabbing his brother and had once been angrily described by his father as a terrorist.

    But none of that was enough to keep Ahmad Khan Rahami on the FBI’s radar for long — and it’s not clear it should have been.

    The case illustrates the difficulties investigators face in identifying and stopping individuals who might be violent extremists.

    Constitutional protections permit people to hold abhorrent views — and even view jihadist videos — without automatically coming under investigation. Finite resources mean more intrusive investigative tactics, such as round-the-clock surveillance, are generally reserved for those thought to be more imminent threats or those conceiving an attack. And preliminary FBI inquiries like the one conducted in Rahami’s case are, by design, not meant to be open-ended.

    Some questions and answers about the investigation into Rahami and how the FBI conducts terrorism investigations.

    [Watch Video]

    How did Rahami become known to the FBI?

    The FBI says it opened an assessment on Rahami in 2014 following a domestic disturbance in which he was accused of stabbing a brother, when the agency was alerted to his father’s concerns that he might be a terrorist.

    The elder Rahami told The Associated Press that he told agents about his son’s apparent radicalization, but the FBI says he never shared those concerns at the time, and law enforcement officials say he backed off his earlier characterization of his son.

    The FBI says it checked its databases and reviewed Rahami’s travel records and found nothing tying him to terrorism. The review was closed with no further action.

    Rahami, an Afghan-born naturalized U.S. citizen, traveled in recent years to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The length of one trip to the region automatically triggered a secondary interview with Customs and Border Protection following his return in 2014. Details of his trip and his interview were forwarded to the agency intelligence center charged with identifying potentially high-risk travelers, according to a U.S. government official who was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. The advisory was not sent as an urgent alert but a more routine notification that was then distributed to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    While an extended stay or repeated trips to a region such as Pakistan or Afghanistan may raise questions among law enforcement, including CBP, such travel is not illegal and doesn’t automatically arouse suspicion.

    It’s not yet clear that any obvious red flags were missed, through the FBI is certainly looking at its past interactions.

    What steps are the FBI permitted to take in terrorism investigations?

    That depends entirely on how much information investigators have to indicate terrorist activities.

    An assessment, the type of inquiry used in Rahami’s case two years ago, is the most basic and least-intrusive of FBI reviews and is meant to last only a matter of weeks.

    Agents checking out a tip may peruse publicly available records, check government documents and request information from the public. Though agents may seek extensions, assessments are meant to resolve in a matter of weeks with agents either closing out the inquiry or finding sufficient grounds to continue the review.

    “Assessments are supposed to be quick-hit investigations to determine if there was anything that would lead you to probable cause to investigate a person,” said David Gomez, a retired FBI official who oversaw counterterrorism investigations in the Seattle field office.

    The system, laid out in the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, is meant as a triage to help discern between dead-end tips and more compelling ones.

    If the FBI opened a full investigation each time it conducted an assessment, Gomez said, there’d be long-term inquiries on many individuals for whom there’s minimal basis for suspicion — a prospect Gomez said would be “repugnant to people.”

    More formal investigative steps — such as surveillance and recording of phone calls — require a higher level of approval and a firmer basis for suspecting wrongdoing.

    How is it that individuals who are known to the FBI later go on to commit violence?

    This is certainly not the first instance in which someone who was at one point on the FBI’s radar went on to be accused of an attack.

    The FBI investigated Omar Mateen, the Orlando nightclub shooter, for 10 months in 2013 after boasting of mutual acquaintances with the Boston Marathon bombers and making statements to co-workers that suggested he had radical, violent intentions.

    Agents conducted surveillance, contacted confidential informants and even undertook multiple interviews but ultimately found nothing to justify continued scrutiny. The FBI looked into him again the next year as part of a separate investigation into a suicide bomber who attended the same Florida mosque.

    The FBI was also aware of Elton Simpson, one of the two gunmen who attempted an attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas last year. Simpson had previously been prosecuted in Arizona in a terrorism-related case and was placed on probation for lying to a federal agent. He came back onto the government’s radar soon before the May 2015 violence because of postings on social media.

    Law enforcement officials say it’s unrealistic to expect indefinite investigations of everyone who was once on the FBI’s radar. FBI Director James Comey said in May that the FBI had “north of 1,000” cases in which agents were trying to evaluate a person’s level of radicalization and potential for violence.

    “We are looking for needles in a nationwide hay stack, but we are also called upon to figure out which pieces of hay might some day become needles,” Comey said in June when discussing the FBI’s past interactions with Mateen.

    “That,” he said, “is hard work.”

    Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan and Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report.

    The post NYC bomb case shows difficulties for investigators appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A front loader removes debris in a damaged site after airstrikes on the rebel held Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria September 24, 2016. Photo By Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

    A front loader removes debris in a damaged site after airstrikes on the rebel held Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria September 24, 2016. Photo By Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

    Nearly two weeks after a tenuous ceasefire was declared in Syria, Russian and Syrian government warplanes on Saturday pounded rebel-held territory with a barrage of airstrikes in the embattled city of Aleppo.

    The attacks allowed government troops to capture a key area encompassing a Palestinian refugee camp located north of the city, which is on higher ground above a main road into Aleppo, according to Reuters.

    Dozens of people have reportedly been killed during the strikes, which began on Thursday. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 33 people were killed, including some children.

    Witnesses near the scene of the strikes described massive carnage and toppled buildings surrounded by rubble and hospitals filled with those wounded by the airstrikes.

    Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 24, 2016. Photo By Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 24, 2016. Photo By Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    Running water has also been cut off in recent days to nearly 2 million people living in sections of Aleppo controlled by each side of the conflict. At least 250,000 civilians are now trapped in an area of Aleppo controlled by opposition forces.

    The United Nations said on Friday that it would increase emergency water supplies as a “temporary solution.”

    “In the eastern part of Aleppo, the population will have to resort to highly contaminated well water,” a statement released by the organization read. “In the western part, existing deep ground water wells will provide a safe alternative water source.”

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said during the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday in New York that the government is gaining territory with the assistance of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon.

    The post Syrian government forces advance on Aleppo two weeks after ceasefire appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    An example of gerrymandering in Maryland's 3rd congressional district. Photo by PBS NewsHour Weekend

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    By Sam Weber and Laura Fong

    The vast majority of votes cast for the United States House of Representatives this fall will be in races where the winner is an almost foregone conclusion. Only about 25 of the 435 races are considered truly competitive by the Cook Political Report.

    In Maryland, Republican Dr. Mark Plaster is running an underdog campaign for one of those seats, considered “safe” for the incumbent, who is a five-term Democrat.

    The challenge of unseating an incumbent is made all the more difficult by the actual make-up and shape of Maryland’s 3rd congressional district, which has been called one of the most gerrymandered in the country.

    “It’s pretty clear that it was politically motivated,” Plaster said. “The idea was to hand the district to the Democratic candidate.”

    In 2014, Democrats got about 57 percent of the vote in Maryland, but won seven out of eight House seats.

    Gerrymandering is a practice that dates back to the 19th century, and today state legislatures across the country draw lines to maximize their party’s advantage.

    In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan has proposed that the state take the power to draw lines away from the legislature and instead charge an independent commission with the task, a system already in use in four states.

    But is it possible to create a body to draw lines that is truly independent?

    Maryland State Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a Democrat, argues that it’s almost impossible to find truly nonpartisan actors and that Maryland shouldn’t have to change when far more states draw their lines to benefit Republicans.

    “I don’t think Maryland should be in a position to change unless it’s a national change,” Conway said.

    In North Carolina, a state where Republicans won 56 percent of congressional votes in 2014, and 10 out of 13 races, Republican Rep. David Lewis agrees that it is difficult to find truly independent people.

    “Those people don’t exist,” he said. “I think it’s more honest and upfront to say that as a Republican I’m going to follow the law and if there’s a discretionary decision to be made I will make it from my partisan point of view.”

    While the U.S. Supreme Court has generally permitted redistricting with a partisan purpose, there have also been hints that a legislature can go too far.

    Earlier this year, Democratic election law attorney Marc Elias sued North Carolina arguing that a map enacted earlier this year was an so overtly partisan it was unconstitutional.

    “You don’t necessarily need to worry about where to draw the line because if there were a place where we knew it was 100 percent, it was in North Carolina,” Elias argues.

    His case in North Carolina is one of several still working their way through the courts.

    Read the full transcript below.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: For Dr. Mark Plaster, it’s another day on the road, racking up mile after mile on a bus that’s seen better days.

    MARK PLASTER: We’ve worn it out. I mean we’ve put a lot of miles on it. All this upholstery that’s all beat up right now used to be pristine.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: But Plaster isn’t making rounds as the emergency room doctor he was, he’s running for congress as the Republican nominee in a Maryland district whose shape seems inspired not by geography, but by pure partisan politics.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Was this district drawn that way just because a couple of guys got drunk, or is there a political motivation to this?

    MARK PLASTER: It’s pretty clear that it was politically motivated. The idea was to hand a district to the Democratic candidate. The state pretty much is about even, roughly. Maybe a slight advantage for Democrats in registration. But by drawing it the way they have, it now is 7-1 in representation in the House.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: What Plaster is talking about is called “gerrymandering”—the art of drawing districts to put as many of your voters together—or, more often, to make sure the other party’s voters are broken up and scattered.

    It gets its name from a nineteenth century politician named Elbridge Gerry. As governor of Massachusetts, he helped shape a congressional district so blatantly one-sided that one critic said it looked like a salamander. “No, another replied, a Gerry-mander.”

    Today, state legislatures across the country, the majority of them Republican, draw congressional district lines, something required with every new census every ten years to maximize their party’s advantage.

    That had particular impact after Republicans dominated the 2010 midterm elections, taking control of both legislative chambers in 25 states, and governorships in 29 states.

    DAVID ROHDE, DUKE UNIVERSITY: 2010 was a real benchmark because it produced so many states in which the Republicans completely controlled the process.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: David Rohde is a political scientist at Duke University in North Carolina, one of the states where Republicans won control of the state legislature.

    DAVID ROHDE: Gerrymandering has a larger impact on bigger states. That is, the more the population, the more ways you can divide it up, the more seats you have to distribute. So the Republicans were fortunate enough to gain control of a number of large states in 2010 where they had not controlled redistricting before.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: In Pennsylvania, for example, 44 percent of the voters chose Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives in 2014. But 13 of the 18 districts – more than two-thirds – are represented by Republicans.

    In Ohio, about 40 percent of the voters chose democratic candidates for the House of Representatives, but 12 out of 16 seats – three-quarters of them – are represented by republicans.

    In Maryland, which was controlled by Democrats in 2010, the partisan tilt is, unsurprisingly, reversed.

    If you want an example of gerrymandering at its most creative, come here to Maryland’s 3rd congressional district. So attenuated, so detached, that to get from one end of the district to the other you would need a tank full of gas, or a boat.

    The district’s perimeter runs about 225 miles, with a shape described by one federal judge as “a broken-winged pterodactyl lying prostrate.” Its body is broken up by four other congressional districts, making campaigning a logistical nightmare.

    Indeed, so disconnected is the 3rd that protestors staged a “gerrymander meander,” showing just how sprawling it is.

    MARK PLASTER: It’s not so much going through other districts as much as how different the people are in each one of those areas. Annapolis is a very military town, somewhat conservative. It goes all the way up to Pikesville, which is a Jewish community. It incorporates Gibson Island, which is the ultra-rich waterfront. It involves the inner harbor, what I call the hipsters of Federal Hill. It’s very, very different. And those folks have a tendency to not know each other, nor do they have a lot of issues in common, which makes it difficult.

    GOV. LARRY HOGAN, R-MARYLAND (August 2015): Maryland has been singled out for one of the most gerrymandered districts in the entire country. This is not a distinction we should be proud of.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Larry Hogan, a moderate republican, was elected governor in 2014, and had made redistricting a major campaign issue.

    Last year, the governor created a commission that looked at the issue, it recommended Maryland join California, Arizona, Idaho and Washington state in taking the power to draw these lines away from the legislature and putting it into the hands of an independent commission.

    STATE SEN. JOAN CARTER CONWAY, D-MARYLAND: They’re never going to reach them by that date…

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Democrat Joan Carter Conway, a Maryland state senator for 19 years, served on the panel that studied the issue. Legislation that would have given a commission power to draw legislative lines in the future failed.

    JOAN CARTER CONWAY: In the state of Maryland today, we are Democratic, and we have a process in terms of how we redistrict, and at this juncture we don’t see any errors or flaw in it.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: Senator Conway says she was unwilling for her state to change its pro-democratic tilt, while far more states draw their districts lines to benefit republicans.

    JOAN CARTER CONWAY: I don’t think Maryland should be in a position to change unless it’s a national change. It’s very partisan. The Democrats have been accused of drawing lines to help them. The Republicans draw the lines to help them.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: She could well be thinking of North Carolina, which holds the distinction of being one of the other most gerrymandered states in the union. Though Republicans won a 56 percent statewide majority of votes for congress in 2014, they hold a 10-3 majority in the delegation.

    For Republican state representative David Lewis, who co-chaired the state’s committee on congressional redistricting. It’s simply impossible to take partisanship out of the process.

    STATE REP. DAVID LEWIS, R-NORTH CAROLINA: I think it’s more honest and upfront to say that as a Republican I’m going to follow the law, I’m going to follow the rules of the law, and if there is a discretionary decision to be made I will make it from my partisan point of view.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: The Supreme Court has long told states they must draw lines that provide for equal populations—“one person, one vote”—and since the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act has looked with suspicion on racially motivated lines. But as a rule, the court has permitted redistricting with a partisan purpose.

    That’s a point that Lewis made in a remarkable display of candor on the state house floor back in February: the lines were drawn — in part, he said — to give Republicans the biggest possible benefit.

    DAVID LEWIS (February 19, 2016): A further criteria was partisan advantage. We believe that this map will produce an opportunity to elect 10 Republican members of Congress.”

    And as for those independent commissions, Lewis sees them as politically motivated by Democrats.

    DAVID LEWIS: I think it’s great politics. If I felt there were any way in the world that I could stand before my constituents and say, “I believe that it’s possible to come up with a group of people who have no political bias whatsoever who will simply sit down in a room and magically create districts,” I’d be behind it. I’d be behind it 100 percent. But those people don’t exist.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: It’s a rare point of agreement with Democrat Joan Carter Conway in Maryland.

    JOAN CARTER CONWAY: The concept is a marvelous concept. And I will not sit here and say I disagree with the independent commission. The problem then becomes, who are you considering independent?

    JEFF GREENFIELD: But the Supreme Court has warned against too much partisanship. In a 2004 concurring opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote “partisan gerrymanders… are incompatible with democratic principles.”

    DAVID ROHDE: The Supreme Court has said that this is a political question and that legislatures are allowed, expected to try to extract advantage, but justices have also said- some justices disagreed with that, but other justices say, “yes, that’s true, but you can go too far.”

    JEFF GREENFIELD: That’s Kennedy.

    DAVID ROHDE: That was Kennedy, among others. So the question is, “What’s too far? It’s sort of Potter Stewart’s old obscenity definition: “I’ll know it when I see it.”

    For Marc Elias, a prominent Democratic election law attorney advising the Hillary Clinton campaign, North Carolina has clearly gone too far.

    MARC ELIAS, PERKINS COIE: You don’t necessarily need to worry about where you draw the line for know it when you see it, because if ever there were a place where we knew it was 100 percent, it was in North Carolina.

    Elias sued the state in 2013, arguing the congressional lines unconstitutionally diluted African-American voting strength.

    And then earlier this year, he argued the replacement map was also unconstitutional. Why? Because he said it was “a bald partisan gerrymander.”

    MARK ELIAS: The states need to have meaningful elections, and if you create a system in which the votes for Congress are simply meaningless because the incumbent electors, the incumbent members have essentially drawn districts that they can never be defeated; query whether or not you even have a republican form of government.

    JEFF GREENFIELD: One of the assertions of Rep. Lewis is, “There’s no such thing as a nonpartisan person.” He says you can’t take politics out of politics…

    MARK ELIAS: The fact that you may never be able to find someone who is entirely nonpartisan isn’t really an- isn’t really an excuse for leaving it in the hands of a legislature in North Carolina that said we’re going to draw the map 100 percent based on partisanship

    JEFF GREENFIELD: In addition to the challenges in North Carolina, cases in Maryland and Wisconsin challenging partisan redistricting are all making their way through the courts.

    That’s too late to help Dr. Mark Plaster in his underdog campaign.

    After hopscotching Maryland highways for 45 minutes, in and out of the 3rd congressional district, we returned to the area he hopes to represent.

    MARK PLASTER: We’ve made this problem. It just doesn’t need to be. There are enough people to form a congressional district within 20 minutes of where we started. But instead we have to travel an hour and a half this way, an hour and a half that way, an hour and a half that way. And it’s by design.

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    People hold up rainbow flags during an lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) parade. Photo by Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images

    People hold up rainbow flags during an lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) parade. Photo by Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images

    INDIANAPOLIS — A transgender man granted asylum by the U.S. last year is challenging an Indiana law that prevents him from changing his first name to a male name that matches his gender identity.

    The 31-year-old, who was brought to Indiana from Mexico illegally by his parents at age six, contends in his federal lawsuit that Indiana’s law requiring anyone seeking a name-change to provide proof of U.S. citizenship is unconstitutional and essentially forces him to “out” himself as transgender whenever he must display his driver’s license.

    That law was passed in 2010 amid what his attorneys say was a spate of “anti-immigrant lawmaking” in several states.

    The man’s federal lawsuit says his driver’s license lists his sex as male alongside the female birth name he wants changed, a contradiction that’s forced him to disclose to complete strangers the “deeply personal information” that he’s transgender, causing him embarrassment, humiliation and fears of harassment and violence.

    The man, identified in the suit only as “John Doe,” recalled in an interview the humiliation he faced when he visited an emergency room in 2013 for neck pain and nurses began talking about him and laughing when he told one he was transgender after she noticed his ID’s female name.

    “I felt really ashamed. I was in pain and I had to go through all that just to get medication,” he told The Associated Press, declining to give his name to protect his privacy. “I’ve done everything I can and just because of that law I can’t live a normal life like everyone else. I just hate it.”

    The male gender and female name on his driver’s license are the result of dissonance between state and federal rules.

    The Indiana man was granted permission in 2013 to live and work legally in the U.S. under a federal government program that shields immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. At the same time, his gender was changed to male on all his U.S. government documents based on his diagnosis of gender dysphoria, in which a person feels extreme distress because of a disconnect between their birth sex and gender identity, his attorneys said. He used those documents to get an Indiana driver’s license indicating he is male, but he can’t change his name on the license because he needs a state court order, which Indiana won’t grant because of its law.

    The only similar state law is in North Dakota, which requires anyone seeking a name change to be a citizen or a permanent resident, said Shawn Meerkamper, an attorney for the Transgender Law Center, which filed the suit Sept. 13 on the Indiana man’s behalf.

    Indiana’s attorney general’s office declined to comment on the suit, saying it would review the complaint “and file a response in court at the appropriate time.”

    The man, who’s married to a woman who is a U.S. citizen, takes hormones that have deepened his voice and given him a more masculine appearance. He won asylum last year as “a protective step” in case he were deported to Mexico, where he could face persecution for being transgender, said Thomas Saenz, general counsel for the Los Angeles-based Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which joined his lawsuit.

    Saenz said the man expects to apply for permanent U.S. residency this month, but will still face at least a 3-year wait before that’s approved.

    Hiroshi Motomura, a law professor at UCLA who studies immigration and citizenship law, said Indiana’s law is “very vulnerable” to the legal challenge because the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that states cannot treat U.S. citizens and permanent residents differently.

    “And when someone gets asylum, they are on a normal track to getting permanent residency,” he said.

    The author of Indiana’s law, former Democratic state Rep. Dave Cheatham, said he would support amending it to avoid difficulties for immigrants who “have legal status and want to change their name.”

    Transgender advocates say a growing number of foreign-born people are asking the U.S. to grant them asylum because of fears of LGBT persecution in their country of origin.

    The New York-based advocacy group Immigration Equality put 366 foreign-born LGBT people into the asylum application process last year — more than double the 179 cases it handled in 2010. The group has about 600 open asylum cases for LGBT and HIV-positive people, said its executive director, Aaron C. Morris.

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    Police officers wearing riot gear block a road during protests after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Adam Rhew/Charlotte Magazine MANDATORY CREDIT. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. - RTSOP7E

    Police officers wearing riot gear block a road during protests after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 20, 2016. Photo by Adam Rhew/Charlotte Magazine/Reuters

    North Carolina police have released two videos with footage of the fatal police shooting of a black man, Keith Lamont Scott. The shooting has led to days of widespread protests in the city of Charlotte.

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney said late Saturday afternoon the department would show footage taken from a police body cam and and dash cam during an encounter with Scott in Charlotte.

    Scott was shot dead by police in the parking lot of an apartment complex. The footage shows a black man leaving an SUV and “walking backward as he’s shot at four times,” the Associated Press reported.

    Putney said during a press conference Saturday that the video does not show Scott carrying a weapon but that he “absolutely” was in possession of a handgun. He also said officers were attempting to serve a warrant to another individual nearby when they saw Scott with marijuana.

    “When they see the weapon and they see marijuana, they say ‘Uh-oh, this is a safety issue,’” Putney said.

    The announcement comes after Scott’s wife released her own shaky video taken on her cell phone in the moments leading up to his death. The video did not show the the fatal gunshots nor whether Scott had a weapon. Scott’s family were able to view police video footage this week, which they said did not show him carrying a weapon.

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    Marchers protest the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September, 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek - RTSPA6K

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR:  Wesley Lowry of the “Washington Post” is in Charlotte and he joins me now.

    There is a much larger amount and volume of camera footage from police departments around the country, but there doesn’t seem to be a consistent policy.  And when you look at maybe even the top 20 police departments, there’s differences in whether or not they’re using it and how they’re using it.

    WESLEY LOWERY, WASHINGTON POST:  You know, one thing is about body cameras and dash cameras.  You know, like this video is in many ways a new frontier for police.  Civil activists say this all the time.  The police shootings aren’t new.  What’s new is the video.  You know, unarmed man or the person who had a weapon planted, and so often, we didn’t believe those people.  We believed the police officers.  And now, we have video that in some cases shows us the officers’ stories are not true.

    However, the spread of cameras, you know, and there was a huge spread of cameras, especially post-Ferguson — there still remains not a ton of best practices or set of standards for how those cameras are deployed.  You will see a lot of instances in which officers aren’t turning them on or not turning them on until after.  But then, on top of that, there are no best practices governing the release of this video.  So, you have a public record that’s being created by taxpayer dollars, these videos, but when are they released and when are they not released?

    You know, our review found while many were shootings were being caught on camera this year than last year, not more of them are being released.  In fact, it’s more likely than not when a fatal shooting is captured on camera, it will not be released to the public.  Rather, it will be something that the police department holds on to.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  Some police departments say, hey, we don’t try cases in the court of public opinion.  We don’t stack all the pieces of evidence out there as we get it.  And that, sometimes, this release of the videos could actually jeopardize the investigation.

    WESLEY LOWERY: You know, I think we very often hear that.  I think it would be really interesting to interrogate that further, right?  I mean, the man’s name is a piece of evidence.  The idea that he was armed is a piece of evidence.  Even saying that is a piece of evidence that theoretically could help color the perception of witnesses, right, because now they’ve heard from the police he was armed.  So, now, maybe they remember a weapon in his hand.

    And the other thing that’s interesting here — and this comes from our reporting as well — in many of these cases, the officers themselves are allowed to watch the video before writing their statements.  And so, you are potentially changing their statement because they are given the benefit of seeing the video.  Could that not have an impact on the investigation?

    In a post-Ferguson world, I have heard people argue that when you put out factual information, it prevents some people who did not really see things from coming out and claiming themselves to be witnesses, or helps you weed out people who clearly did not see what happened.  That’s one of the arguments I’ve heard from several sides here.

    HARI SREENIVASAN:  All right.  Wesley Lowery of “The Washington Post”, joining us from Charlotte tonight — thanks so much.

    WESLEY LOWERY: Anytime.  Thank you.

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Roanoke, Virginia, U.S. September 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTSPAGB

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Roanoke, Virginia, U.S. September 24, 2016. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    ROANOKE, Va. — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is arguing that he’ll do more to help women from the White House than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. At the same time, he’s taunting her over the infidelities of her husband.

    As Trump campaigned in the battleground state of Virginia, Clinton stayed close to home in New York while preparing for Monday night’s opening debate. She was spotted at a Westchester hotel near her home in Chappaqua, but her campaign would not comment on whether she was holding practice sessions at the hotel.

    Clinton and Trump were expected to meet separately on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has sought to project neutrality in this year’s election. There were perceptions that he favored Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama in 2012.

    Trump told supporters at a rally Saturday in Roanoke, Virginia, that Clinton has not delivered for women and children.

    “My opponent likes to say that for decades she’s been fighting for women, that she’s been fighting for children. Why, then, are 70 million American women and children living in poverty or on the brink of poverty in our country?” Trump asked. “For years she’s been doing this and she’s done nothing.”

    The appeal came hours after Trump threatened on Twitter to invite a woman who’d had an affair with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, to sit in the first row at their first debate. The Clinton campaign had invited Mark Cuban, a fellow billionaire and Trump rival, to the event.

    “If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!” Trump said.

    Trump’s campaign officials did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday, and it remained unclear whether Flowers would actually attend.

    Earlier Saturday, one of Clinton’s supporters, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, accused Trump and his fellow Republicans of “making hate OK.” She told Clinton campaign volunteers in Nashua, New Hampshire, that she never predicted a major presidential candidate would base a campaign on scapegoating Mexicans, women and Muslims.

    Warren was particularly critical of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who denounced Trump in the primary campaign but announced Friday that he strongly opposed Clinton and would vote for his former rival.

    “Is that really what your word is worth, Ted Cruz?” she asked.

    In Texas, Cruz described as “agonizing” his decision to announce that he would vote for Trump but denied that he had given in to pressure to support his rival for the Republican nomination. His announcement Friday, from which the word “endorsement” was conspicuously absent, drew criticism because of his longstanding antipathy for the man he had called a “pathological liar.”

    “Any path we took, if I supported Donald, if I didn’t support Donald, the criticism was going to be there,” Cruz told a packed Austin auditorium during a policy forum organized by The Texas Tribune. He had refused to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention and instead urged Republicans to vote according to their conscience.

    Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, assured home-schooling advocates in North Carolina that Trump would be their champion if elected. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Clinton’s running mate, praised American Indian culture and highlighted his efforts to win federal recognition of the state’s tribes while visiting the Chickahominy Indian Tribe Fall Festival near his home in Richmond.

    Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in New York; Kathleen Ronayne in Nashua, New Hampshire; Will Weissert in Austin, Texas; Bill Barrow in Des Moines, Iowa; and Alan Suderman in Richmond, Virginia, contributed to this report.

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks at the Hudson Institute's Herman Kahn Award Ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RTSP1VS

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers remarks at the Hudson Institute’s Herman Kahn Award Ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, New York, on Sept. 22, 2016. Photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are meeting separately with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in sessions that could set the tone for relations between the allied countries during the next presidential administration.

    Trump met Sunday with Netanyahu at Trump Tower, where he lives. Clinton also was expected to meet with the prime minister in New York on the eve of the first debate between the candidates. The Israeli leader has sought to project neutrality this time after perceptions arose that he favored Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama in 2012.

    The one-on-one discussions will follow what was likely Netanyahu’s final meeting with Obama last week, capping what has been a sometimes rocky relationship between the leaders of the two allies.

    The Obama administration has opposed Israel’s push to expand settlements in the West Bank while Netanyahu has been a leading critic of the U.S. nuclear agreement with Iran. More recently, Netanyahu has urged Obama to avoid pushing for a Palestinian state in his final months in office.

    Clinton has supported a negotiated two-state solution in the region, vowed to enforce the Iran nuclear agreement and help defend Israel’s security. The former secretary of state suggested in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 earlier this month that the Islamic State group was “rooting for Donald Trump’s victory” and he had helped strengthen the hands of extremists by his provocative statements about Muslims.

    Trump has been a fierce critic of the Iran nuclear agreement and promised during a speech to AIPAC earlier this year that he would deepen ties between the two countries if he was elected president, adding the days of “treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one.” But he also raised eyebrows when he questioned Israel’s commitment to a peace deal last year and said he didn’t want to show any bias in favor of one side or the other.

    The meetings will also come after the U.S. recently completed a 10-year, $38 billion military aid package for Israel. Clinton said in a statement that it would help “solidify and chart a course for the U.S.-Israeli defense relationship in the 21st century as we face a range of common challenges.”

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    The team envisions that freeze-dried components could be carried in portable kits, such as this mock-up. Photo via Wyss Institute/Harvard University

    The team envisions that freeze-dried components could be carried in portable kits, such as this mock-up. Photo via Wyss Institute/Harvard University

    The contraption looks and sounds like a washing machine: a rumbling box with a circular window near the floor.

    But if you look inside, you won’t see a whir of clothes; instead you’ll see a ring of crystalline ice. This device is called the Freezemobile, and it isn’t your standard household appliance. By hooking up a few test tubes to its metal piping, chemists have used the Freezemobile to make drug ingredients designed to be transported into the remotest corners of the developing world.

    That might sound like overkill when you could just send blister packs of pills. Yet for some medicines and vaccines, pills don’t do the trick. That’s because those types of drugs are often harvested from living cells — and just like your leftover lasagna, they probably won’t still be good after days in a hot car.

    On Thursday, researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of Toronto published a possible solution. Instead of making the drugs and then trying to keep them refrigerated over thousands of miles, they want to give people the ingredients. These components don’t require refrigeration, and the instructions are as simple as they come: Just add water.

    “It’s essentially how you make ramen,” said Peter Nguyen, a research fellow at the Wyss, and one of the first authors on the paper.

    But creating those tiny make-your-own-drug kits is hard.

    Usually, to produce biologics — as these drugs are called — a company uses living cells as their factories, often turning to bacteria like E. coli. By injecting new bits of DNA into the bacteria, the researchers modify them to produce proteins that prevent or beat back disease.

    These proteins, however, can be delicate things, destroyed by deep freezing or temperatures warmer than a refrigerated chill.

    So Nguyen and his team set about extracting cells’ innards to create what amounts to cellular machinery in powder form. To break open the cell membranes, they used a needle vibrating at supersonic frequencies. The metal moves so fast that it can cause test tubes to shatter or melt. “It feels like a tuning fork times a hundred,” said Nguyen.

    With a centrifuge, they separated out the molecules important for protein production from all the other gunk, such as baubles of fat and the cell’s own DNA.

    Sprinkle in some fuel and preservative, put into the Freezemobile, and voila — a speck comes out, looking like cotton candy, which could potentially be shipped out to some remote location. Tip in a pinch of freeze-dried DNA and a bit of sterile water, and a chemical reaction would begin, with the genetic material programming the cell innards to make the desired protein. The more different kinds of DNA you take with you, the more different kinds of drugs and vaccines you can make.

    “It’s no longer living, but all of its internal components are still there, the ribosomes, all of the machinery that makes that protein,” said Nguyen.

    The project was partly funded by Department of Defense. As Nguyen explained, with a little tweaking, these technologies could allow soldiers to carry a whole arsenal of drug ingredients into the field so they are ready for all kinds of medical needs.

    To prove that this technology works, Nguyen’s team made and tested four different categories of biologics, including a diphtheria vaccine, an antimicrobial peptide, and a bacteria-fighting antibody. Their results were published in Cell.

    To other scientists, the prospect is exciting. Bradley Bundy, an engineer at Brigham Young University, had already used similar technology to produce what may be a cancer-fighting protein. “Instead of stockpiling a whole bunch of vaccines and therapeutics, this allows us to stockpile the machinery that makes them,” he explained. That would “be more cost-effective and a little bit more versatile.”

    Yet there is still a ways to go. For the diphtheria vaccine, the scientists had to filter out the active proteins from the cellular factories before they could inject them into mice — and they still don’t know exactly how that purification would happen, say, in a village with no electricity, or behind enemy lines.

    David Shoultz, a drug development specialist at the global health nonprofit PATH, said that while he loves that these labs are thinking about using their technologies in the developing world, this kind of gizmo is not about to solve vaccine and medication shortages in one fell swoop.

    “In two or three years, will we be able to ship these freeze-dried materials and have an instant vaccine, or an instant drug?” he asked. “Probably not. It’ll probably be more like 10 to 12 years. And we’re still going to need facilities, know-how, and people to implement them.”

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Sept. 22, 2016. Find the original story here.

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    WASHINGTON, :  Consumer advocate Ralph Nader steps from the podium following the announcement for his bid for the Green Party nomination for the US presidency 21 February, 2000 in Washington, DC.  Nader announced he will run on issues including the corporate financing of elections and excessive disparities of wealth. The Green Party will hold their nominating convention in Denver in June 2000.   AFP PHOTO/Chris KLEPONISAFP PHOTO AFP/CHRIS KLEPONIS/CK/DEC (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)

    Ralph Nader steps from the podium after announcing his presidential campaign on February 21, 2000 in Washington, DC. Photo by CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK — If given the chance, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein would have used the upcoming debates to remind voters that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton won’t be the only presidential candidates on the ballot come November.

    But Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian Party nominee, and Stein, who is running on the Green Party ticket, failed to qualify for the presidential debates, which begin next week at Hofstra University on Long Island.

    The news, which was announced last week, was not a surprise. Neither third-party candidate came close to meeting the polling threshold of 15 percent to participate in the debates.

    Nevertheless, in an election driven by voter frustration with the political establishment, Johnson and Stein could still do reasonably well in November — and potentially play a spoiler role in the final outcome, if the third-party candidates hurt Trump or Clinton in critical swing states. The prospect of a solid showing this year highlights one of the most confounding aspects of American politics: the electorate’s inconsistent, back-and-forth appetite for third-party candidates.

    When it comes to non-major-party candidates, differences in political talent and experience help explain why some perform better than others.

    But in interviews, political scientists, strategists and current and former third-party nominees all agreed that structural factors — such as access to campaign cash and media exposure — determine whether third party candidates break into the national consciousness or not.

    “It has less to do with the characteristics of the individual candidate, and more to do with how well things are going in the country,” said Robert Shapiro, a political scientist at Columbia University. “What it really comes down to is the level of dissatisfaction with government, and whether there’s an open space on the ideological spectrum for a third or fourth-party candidate.”

    In an interview on Wednesday, Johnson argued that voters this election were seeking alternative options to avoid supporting Clinton and Trump. “In this case you’ve got the two most polarizing figures of all time and space that are the two major party candidate nominees,” Johnson said.

    Third-party candidates have been shut out of the presidency since the rise of the two-party system in the mid-1800s. The most successful third-party candidates in the past century have capitalized on political divisions within the two major parties that came about as a result of economic and cultural turmoil in the country.

    Consider Theodore Roosevelt. In 1912, four years after his presidency ended, Roosevelt took advantage of a split in the Republican Party to mount an independent run on the Progressive Party ticket. Roosevelt had unusually high name recognition for a third-party candidate, but still only managed to win six states and 88 electoral college votes, finishing a distant second to Woodrow Wilson.

    The next serious third-party challenger, George Wallace, built his 1968 presidential campaign around a strategy of appealing to white Southern Democrats who opposed the party’s embrace of the Civil Rights movement.

    Wallace, a former governor of Alabama who was best known for his support of segregation, won a total of five states and 46 electoral college votes. He is the last third-party candidate to sweep a state’s electoral college votes, according to the historian Dan Carter, who has written about Wallace and the rise of modern American conservatism.

    But all of Wallace’s victories took place in the Deep South, in states that Richard Nixon was likely to win in a two-way contest against Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic nominee.

    Wallace seized on the racial prejudice of the era to run the most successful third-party campaign since Roosevelt’s, but his divisive approach only took him so far. “His main impact was carrying states that probably would have gone for Nixon,” Carter said. “In terms of the final vote, he was a regional candidate.”

    Reform Party presidential nominee Ross Perot is joined on stage by wife Margot (R) and other family members after speaking at the party's national convention in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania August 18. Perot, launching his second presidential campaign said he would not bankroll his campaign from his personal fortune as in 1992, but would rely on federal funding and private contributions. - RTXGKIC

    Ross Perot, seen here in 1996, became a household name as a third-party presidential candidate in the 1990s. Photo by Peter Morgan/REUTERS

    More than two decades later, Ross Perot turned out to be that rare third-party candidate with true national appeal.

    A Texas-born billionaire with no prior political experience, Perot used his wealth to run lengthy, chart-laden campaign ads that raised his standing in the polls in the 1992 presidential election, helping him land a spot in the debates with George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

    “He was so weird that he captured the imagination. His tone of voice, his style, we’d never seen anything like it before,” said Bill Miller, a veteran lobbyist and political observer in Texas.

    Perot was a gifted performer. But he also benefited from events at the time that created a unique opportunity for a plainspoken, outsider candidate to step in and challenge the status quo. In 1992, the economy was mired in a recession; Republicans were upset with President Bush for breaking his campaign promise not to raise taxes; and many voters were eager for a change after 12 years of Republican rule in the White House.

    “For a third-party person to be successful, there has to be voter anger, and the candidate has to channel that,” Miller said. “And that’s not easy. That’s why most of them are unsuccessful.”

    That fall, Perot won 19 percent of the popular vote, the second-highest total for a third-party candidate in modern U.S. history (after Roosevelt, who won 27 percent in 1912). But because Perot’s supporters were evenly distributed around the country, he failed to win a single electoral college vote. He fared even worse in his second presidential campaign four years later.

    Perot “was so weird that he captured the imagination. His tone of voice, his style, we’d never seen anything like it before.”

    The most famous American third-party presidential candidate, arguably, is Ralph Nader, whom many Democrats still blame for the outcome of the 2000 presidential race.

    Running as a Green Party candidate, Nader received 2.7 percent of the popular vote, a fraction of George W. Bush and Al Gore’s support. But Nader won about 97,000 votes in Florida, which Bush ultimately carried by just 537 votes after a recount battle that reached the Supreme Court.

    Nader’s critics have long argued that Gore would have also won the state of New Hampshire, and avoided a recount, if Nader had not been on the ballot and a majority of the state’s Green Party supporters had backed the Democratic nominee.

    Nader defended his 2000 campaign in an interview on Monday in New York, arguing that the race in Florida was decided by the thousands of Democratic voters who crossed party lines to support Bush.

    In reflecting back on that race, and his subsequent, less-controversial White House bids in 2004 and 2008, Nader blamed the two major parties and the media for making it difficult for third-party candidates to compete in presidential elections.

    “Here’s the interesting thing when you don’t get media,” said Nader, who sat for an interview in between promotional stops for a new book, “Breaking Through Power.” “I was probably known by 80 percent of the people as a consumer advocate. And I think 80 percent of the people didn’t even know I was running.”

    Nader cited a study in a book by the academics Stephen Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter that found he received just three minutes of speaking time on the evening news shows of the three major broadcast networks between Labor Day and Election Day in 2000. During that same time period, ABC, NBC and CBS broadcast a combined 53 minutes of uninterrupted speech by Gore, and 42 minutes by Bush.

    Farnsworth, one of the report’s co-authors and a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, confirmed the statistics in a phone interview.

    “What’s very clear is that reporters focus on the two major-party candidates. So if you’re a third-party candidate and you don’t posses the vast personal fortune of a Ross Perot, you’re going to be ignored,” Farnsworth said. “Presidential candidates who do not have a D or R after their name are finished before they even start.”

    Terry Holt, a former top Bush campaign adviser, argued that Nader wasn’t a factor in the race. “There’s always an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the major party candidates,” Holt said. “Al Gore had a weak spot in his base of support that he could never close.”

    In the interview with PBS NewsHour, Nader, who is 82, focused on the media’s role in covering third-party presidential candidates. But he also acknowledged that he could have chosen to run more traditional campaigns that centered on a few signature issues.

    “My problem is, I ran on too many issues,” he said. “People would say, ‘Narrow the issues.’ And I would say, ‘No, I don’t want to. I want to make a declaration.’”

    CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 23: Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil Goode (2nd R) makes a point as Jill Stein (L) from the Green Party, Rocky Anderson (2nd L) from the Justice Party and Gary Johnson (R) from the Libertarian Party look on during a debate hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation and moderated by former CNN talk-show host Larry King on October 23, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The 90-minute debate held at the Chicago Hilton hotel featured presidential candidates from the Green Party, Libertarian Party, Constitution Party and Justice Party. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    Jill Stein, far left, and Gary Johnson, far right, at a third-party debate in Chicago during the 2012 presidential election. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

    Johnson and Stein have largely followed Nader’s make-a-declaration approach in 2016. It may not have gotten them into the debates, but Johnson is averaging around 8 percent in national polls, and Stein is polling around three percent. In one Quinnipiac University survey earlier this month, they polled a combined 17 percent — nearly the total Perot received on Election Day in 1992.

    Johnson is drawing support from Democrats and Republicans, though some polls show that a majority of his backers are Republican, a sign that he could hurt Trump more than Clinton. In a recent CBS/NYT poll, for instance, Johnson received 13 percent support from likely voters. Among that group, 8 percent said they leaned Republican, compared to 6 percent who said they leaned Democratic.

    With seven weeks left in the race, it’s still too early to tell what the third-party effect will be. But if Johnson, who is polling better than Stein, maintains his current level of support, he could change the outcome in some key battleground states.

    In Florida, Clinton and Trump were tied at 43.3 percent in a national average of polls taken in the first three weeks of September. Johnson averaged 6 percent, more than enough to sway the race towards one of the major party nominees. Johnson is currently polling at roughly 8 percent in Ohio, another crucial swing state that has tightened in recent weeks.

    Johnson claimed that he would finish much higher if he had qualified for the debates. “Ross Perot was polling lower than I am right now when he was allowed into the debates,” Johnson said in his interview with PBS NewsHour. “And when he was allowed into the debates at one point he was actually leading in that race.”

    But experts cautioned that many polls inflate the public’s support for third-party candidates.

    “In a poll, the voter is offered the candidates’ names; this isn’t the same thing as what a random voter may know,” Micah Sifry, the author of “Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America”, wrote in an email.

    He added, “while many voters may be unhappy with the choice of Trump or Clinton, not that many are aware of Johnson or Stein, because they have little money or visibility. That’s why typically third-party presidential candidates always underperform their polling.”

    Sifry noted that Perot was the sole exception.

    Robert Shapiro, the political scientist at Columbia University, said that future presidential races could feature more third-party candidates if the two major parties continue to grow further apart.

    “The one thing that’s been happening since the 1970s is increasing polarization and divergence between the parties,” he said. “The Republican Party is becoming a consistently conservative party and the Democratic Party is becoming consistently liberal, leaving an opening in the middle.”

    But Shapiro said that doesn’t guarantee the next generation of third-party candidates will be any more successful than the last.

    “What makes it imprecise is that you don’t know what would happen if [third party candidates] weren’t on the ticket. Would people vote for the mainstream candidates or not vote at all?” he said. “There’s no science.”

    Watch: PBS NewsHour’s interview with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson:

    Watch: PBS NewsHour’s interview with Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

    The post What would it take for a third-party candidate to make it to the White House? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    RECEPTIONIST: Gravity Payments, this is Korinne.

    JOHN LARSON: About a year-and-a-half ago, life changed for the 100 employees of Gravity Payments in Seattle when their boss, Dan Price, announced the company’s minimum wage would jump to 70-thousand dollars a year.

    DAN PRICE: Effectively immediately, we are going to put a scaled policy into place, and we are going to have a minimum 70-thousand dollar pay rate for everyone that works here.

    JOHN LARSON: The hikes would be phased in. A 50-thousand dollar a year minimum wage took effect immediately, and would rise to 60-thousand by the end of 2016, and 70-thousand in 2017. Price said he’d help pay for the increases by slashing his own million dollar a year compensation by more than 90 percent to 70-thousand.

    DAN PRICE: I’m curious if anyone has any questions?

    JOHN LARSON: Stories of his announcement went viral.

    CBS/SCOTT PELLEY: Everyone is getting a raise at a Seattle-based company.

    NBC/LESTER HOLT: One boss just changed the lives of his employees.

    JOHN LARSON: One of six kids, homeschooled in an evangelical family in Idaho, Price was a member of a local Christian rock band until he was 16. And that’s when, with assistance from his dad, he helped a local coffee house owner with her credit card processing — the fees charged by banks and credit card companies each time her customers used a card.

    DAN PRICE: I was able to get her costs lowered, and it was a good experience for her. All of a sudden I had a reference.

    JOHN LARSON: Price parlayed that reference and a passion for helping small businesses into hundreds of clients and created his company. By his early 20’s, he was getting rich, but growing increasingly troubled by what he called extreme income inequality in the United States.

    DAN PRICE: Frankly, the reality was disturbing, but the trend was even more disturbing.

    JOHN LARSON: According to the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, the average income of the nation’s top one-percent of families last year was about $1.4 million dollars, while the average income of the bottom 99-percent of families was 49-thousand dollars a year.

    DAN PRICE: When you create a society that has so much inequality, where the rich and the poor have a divide that is hundreds of times over. To me the way we were going everybody was going to be hurt.

    JOHN LARSON: All this was happening at a time when the cost of living here in Seattle was skyrocketing. The cost of housing, especially rent, was going up so fast that many medium and lower income families couldn’t afford it.

    JOHN LARSON: Two years ago, Seattle voters approved gradually raising the local minimum wage from 10 to 15 dollars an hour — the first major American city to do so. A study published in July by the University of Washington found the city’s lowest-paid workers experienced a significant increase in wages. Which is precisely the effect Price wanted for his staff – and then some.

    ALYSSA O’NEAL: Gravity Payments, this is Alyssa.

    JOHN LARSON: Alyssa O’Neal, a single mom, used to make 21-thousand dollars a year before coming to Gravity Payments. Now she makes almost 60-thousand as a customer support representative. She’s paid off her car loan, credit card debt, and moved into a better home.

    ALYSSA O’NEAL: It’s something I never could have imagined.

    KORINNE WARD: Let me see if I can find that for you.

    JOHN LARSON: Korinne Ward, in customer support, used to have a long commute. Now she can afford to live close enough to walk to work.

    KORINNE WARD: And I’m able to afford the cost of living in Seattle, which is incredible.

    JOHN LARSON: Many employees told me they now feel secure enough financially to start families.

    EXPECTANT FATHER: He’s due on october 12th, and he’s a male, a boy, yes!

    JOHN LARSON: Typically the company had one or two employee pregnancies each year, Now? Seven or eight.

    GRAVITY PAYMENTS EMPLOYEE: Our daughter, Laylee Rose, she’s 11-weeks-old today.

    JOHN LARSON: Some proclaimed Price “The Best Boss in America,” but in protest of the minimum wage policy, some higher paid employees quit, and a few clients dropped the company’s service. Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh predicted Price’s downfall.

    RUSH LIMBAUGH: This is pure, unadulterated socialism, which has never worked. That’s why I hope this company is a case study in M.B.A. programs on how socialism doesn’t work, because it’s going to fail.

    JOHN LARSON: Turns out, Harvard Business School did study Price for class discussion. It found the 70-thousand dollar minimum wage announcement generated not only a flood of job applicants, but many new clients. And, as for Limbaugh’s prediction about Price’s company?

    PROF. MICHAEL WHEELER: He still has to hold his breath, because it hasn’t failed, I think on balance it’s prospered.

    JOHN LARSON: In fact, Gravity Payments now reports company revenue has grown by 75 percent, and its number of new clients has risen 67 percent.

    PROF. MICHAEL WHEELER: Some of their success might be attributed to increased productivity on the part of the workers, who feel respected and understand they are going to have a hard time finding another job that pays so well, but it also has generated a lot of publicity, and that has been good in terms of pulling in business.

    TOM OSBORN: Mangoes, peaches, nectarines, cherries, yes, ma’am?

    JOHN LARSON: Clients like Sosios Produce in Seattle’s Pike Place Market predict as long as Gravity Payments offers good service and low cost, clients won’t care about their high minimum wage.

    TOM OSBORN: To me, if they’re running their business in a way that their staff feel better about being part of the company, work harder with their customers, to me as a vendor, that’s a good thing.

    JOHN LARSON: And if you get a sense that these higher wages somehow raise your bill?

    TOM OSBORN: Then we’ll have a conversation.

    PROF. MICHAEL WHEELER: Well, there was a colleague of mine years ago who taught that our mission at the Harvard Business School ought to be to teach people to make a decent profit decently. There are lots of forces in the world that may overpower that or may make it difficult, but it’s nice to see these examples of people who can swim against that tide.

    JOHN LARSON: Which may be one reason why Price’s employees agreed to buy him a gift.

    ALYSSA O’NEAL: We had tried to think of a way that we could thank Dan for what he’s done for us.

    JOHN LARSON: A little payback?

    ALYSSA O’NEAL: A little payback, yeah.

    JOHN LARSON: Customer support representative Alyssa O’Neal got the idea rolling.

    ALYSSA O’NEAL: We have one more gift for you. It’s outside though.

    JOHN LARSON: She convinced the other employees to all chip in and in July they bought him a Tesla Model S worth almost 90-thousand dollars.

    DAN PRICE: Are you kidding me?

    ALYSSA O’NEAL: When it happened, it was like it was meant to be.

    DAN PRICE: Oh my gosh!

    ALYSSA O’NEAL: I was really surprised by his reaction.

    DAN PRICE: Thank you!

    ALYSSA O’NEAL: He said, ‘I don’t want to even see the car, I want to see you guys.’ And he turned around and hugged everybody and made sure he hugged everybody first before getting in the car and touching it.

    JOHN LARSON: So you had sort of a crush on this car for a long time and never thought you’d have one?

    DAN PRICE: I thought I’d have one one day, but you ever have one of those goals where you say it’s three years or two years, but it never becomes one year, it’s always three years? And three years goes by, and it’s still three years? It was kind of one of those deals.

    JOHN LARSON: Since his promise of a 70-thousand dollar a year minimum wage, higher profile companies like Starbucks and Wal-Mart have raised their minimum wage too, though none nearly as much.

    JOHN LARSON: If there is an ethic, what is it?

    DAN PRICE: I think it’s ‘what’s your purpose? And business is really missing its potential, if it sees its purpose as creating money. It should have some larger purpose. I think it’s a recipe for a better life and more success in business.

    JOHN LARSON: Price says for now he wants to live modestly, grow his company for his clients and employees and see to what degree other companies follow suit.

    DAN PRICE: The truth is I’m still trying to figure all this out.

    JOHN LARSON: And, we are sitting inside a Tesla

    DAN PRICE: And we are sitting inside a Tesla, and I’m doing my best to try to deconstruct what I think here as a 32-year-old guy who has a lot more to learn.

    The post This company raised minimum wage to $70,000 — and it helped business appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to reporters after holding a "National Security Working Session" with national security advisers in New York, in September. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to reporters after holding a “National Security Working Session” with national security advisers in New York, in September. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Democrats wasted no time looking for political opportunity after Donald Trump falsely accused Hillary Clinton of starting the rumor that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.

    Just hours later, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York was on Philadelphia R&B station, WDAS, critiquing Trump’s behavior. Days later Clinton’s North Carolina state organizers met in Raleigh, in part to chart how to use negative reaction to Trump’s statement to motivate the state’s disproportionately high black voting bloc to turn out. And Clinton’s team welcomed Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights activist, to a Philadelphia voter registration event where he railed against Trump’s claim.

    Polls suggest Clinton can count on an overwhelming percentage of support from African-Americans. But she can’t necessarily count on them to vote.

    “If they feel like they have the African-American community locked up, they should be very, very careful about making that assumption,” Sara Lomax Reese, president of Philadelphia’s independent black radio station WURD, said of Clinton and her team.

    One of the biggest questions of the 2016 election is whether African-American voters will turn out for Clinton as they did for the first black president. They voted at a historic level in 2008 and an unexpectedly high rate in 2012.

    Also to be seen is how political consequences play out over tensions between majority-white police departments and black communities, stirred by police shootings of African-Americans and ensuing unrest. Saturday marked the fifth day of rallies in Charlotte, North Carolina, since a black man was shot by police earlier in the week. Violence peaked Wednesday before the National Guard was called in the next day to maintain order.

    Trump this month put to rest the myth he had peddled for years that Obama might have been born outside the U.S. But in the same breath, he said Clinton started it. In fact, she steered clear of the conspiracy theory when it bubbled up in the 2008 primary campaign and disregarded advice from her pollster to contrast her American roots favorably with Obama’s.

    Although Clinton campaign aides said the birther issue would stay at the forefront in outreach to African-Americans and undecided voters, they declined to say whether they expected to run TV ads about it. The campaign did produce an online ad that could convert to a television spot.

    Former Obama campaign pollster Paul Harstad said the added pressure, if kept up, could make a difference in competitive states with large segments of black voters.

    “Trump further alienates blacks and gives them marginally more motivation to turn out, which could be a significant factor in close states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina or Georgia,” he said.

    It’s hard to know whether it’s worth spending the money to advertise about the issue because it’s uncharted territory, said University of Florida voter statistician Mike McDonald. “Romney and McCain didn’t go there,” McDonald said, referring to the two previous GOP presidential nominees who didn’t question Obama’s birthplace.

    Seven in 10 blacks nationally say they would be afraid if Trump is elected, compared with 56 of all likely voters nationwide, in an Associated Press-GfK Poll taken Sept. 15-19. About two-thirds of African-Americans would be excited if Clinton is elected president, twice the percentage of all likely voters.

    Mo Elleithee, a former Clinton adviser, said ads taking Trump to task on the birther issue might be worth it in states such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina if there’s a chance that would help Clinton even marginally increase her support from black voters. “They ought to make that play,” Elleithee said.

    The post Clinton team hopes ‘birther’ flap will motivate black voters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks during 2016 TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach - RTSNKYP

    United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks during 2016 TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 13, 2016. Photo by Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — As defense secretary to a president who famously envisioned “a world without nuclear weapons,” Ash Carter has said remarkably little about them.

    He has been quiet on a range of nuclear issues, including the Pentagon’s $8 billion effort to correct an array of morale, training, discipline and resource problems in the Air Force nuclear missile corps, revealed by The Associated Press in the last three years. Nor has he publicly explained in detail the utility of nuclear weapons in an age of attacks by non-state actors like the Islamic State to build support for spending hundreds of billions on a new generation of them.

    When asked, he has left no doubt that he sees nuclear weapons as the “bedrock” of U.S. security. But he rarely reveals the underpinnings of his thinking.

    This is all the more notable because Carter, a physicist by training and policy wonk by reputation, cut his professional teeth on nuclear weapons during the Cold War. He probably knows more about them than any defense secretary since William Perry, a longtime nuclear expert, led the Pentagon a generation ago.

    This quiet approach is expected to end when Carter visits Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on Monday. There he plans to deliver a speech on nuclear deterrence, the notion that a robust and ready U.S. nuclear force will make clear that the cost of hitting the U.S. would outweigh any benefit. It will mark his first visit to a nuclear weapons base since becoming defense chief in February 2015.

    Minot is home to Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles that stand in underground silos, ready for nuclear war. A portion of the Air Force’s B-52 bomber force, including a number equipped to carry nuclear bombs, also are at Minot.

    Like the three other men who have run the Pentagon for President Barack Obama, Carter has plenty of other high-priority issues to consume his time and attention, including the war against the Islamic State group. Carter also has chosen to focus on what he calls the “force of the future” — a set of policy initiatives meant to modernize the way the defense establishment recruits and develops members of the armed services. And he has given a great deal of attention to Silicon Valley and other technology hotbeds that he sees as potential keys to translating civilian innovation into U.S. military advantage.

    Nuclear weapons issues have taken a back seat, at least publicly.

    “Secretary Carter has not said much on nuclear weapons, but his actions speak volumes,” says Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, an advocacy group that argues for nuclear reductions and against the administration’s plan to commit hundreds of billions to build a next-generation nuclear arsenal. “He has been the Dr. No of nuclear reductions, defending every program contract and resisting every cut in the nuclear force.”

    A spokesman for Carter disputes that the Pentagon chief has been quiet about nuclear issues.

    “He regularly speaks about the importance of the nuclear triad to our security, its importance in reassuring our allies and deterring potential adversaries, and the need to ensure that we maintain and modernize that capability,” said Gordon Trowbridge, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary.

    Carter has talked quite a lot about the nuclear weapons of other countries. He chastised Russia for nuclear “sabre rattling,” endorsed the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran and criticized what he has called North Korea’s nuclear “pursuit and provocations.” But when it comes to America’s own weapons, he has mostly limited himself to broad references to their importance.

    Before this week, Carter had not given a speech about nuclear weapons nor visited a nuclear weapons base. His immediate predecessor, Chuck Hagel, visited two of the three Air Force bases that operate Minuteman 3 missiles, plus one of the two Navy bases for Trident nuclear submarines. Hagel also visited a B-2 bomber base to highlight his support for an Air Force’s plan to build a new nuclear bomber.

    Among Carter’s most substantial remarks about nuclear weapons was his response earlier this month to a question from a student at the University of Oxford in England after Carter spoke about the American defense relationship with Britain. Carter was asked whether he worries that important nuclear issues are being ignored or neglected.

    “Well, it’s a blessing to be able to take the public’s mind off the nuclear question,” Carter began. He said he was thankful that nuclear issues are “not in the headlines.”

    He called deterrence the cornerstone of U.S. strategic defense policy because “we’ve never found another way to manage the unprecedented risk inherently posed by the technology of nuclear weapons.” He added, “we’re going to have nuclear weapons as far into the future as I can see. And they need to be safe, they need to be secure, they need to be reliable.”

    “Fortunately you don’t see us using” nuclear weapons, Carter said in response to a question last week from a sailor at the Pentagon. “And that’s a good thing.” Nuclear weapons, he said, are “there in the background as a guarantor of our security.”

    During his long career as a national security specialist, Carter has written extensively about nuclear weapons issues. In a 1985 article titled “The Command and Control of Nuclear War” he dissected the intricate issue of how wartime decisions would be communicated to and executed by the nuclear force. He was the lead author of a report, “Crisis Stability and Nuclear War,” in 1987, again examining nuclear command and control issues.

    During Bill Clinton’s first term in the White House, Carter served as assistant secretary of defense for nuclear security and counter-proliferation.

    The post Pentagon chief is expert on nukes but says little about them appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Protesters march during another night of protests over the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 24, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Blake - RTSPAOC

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    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Joining me now for some perspective on the police-involved shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte is Carla Shedd, an assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Columbia University. She is also the author of “Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice”.

    You know, last night, a lot of people were waiting for some clarity saying, “OK, well, the police department would not have said that they will release these things unless the video is on their side. But it wasn’t conclusive.

    CARLA SHEDD, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I know. We keep asking people to release tapes. But you know that there is something else going on. And this lack of transparency, I think it’s probably making the public much more upset because he showed them a piece of footage, instead of showing them the full thing. So, there are ways in which the release just muddies the issue even further and I know it makes more people upset.

    SREENIVASAN: What does it do to the fabric of the community when something like this happens and when there is essentially a heightened tension, especially around race?

    SHEDD: Well, I’ve been studying what I call the carceral continuum, so it’s the range of contacts that people had with the police from just being stopped and asked questions, to being stopped and searched to perhaps a deadly encounter with the police. And along that range, there are people who say, wow, my side of the story wasn’t taken or the police record would not even reveal what happened from my standpoint, we were only getting their standpoint.

    SREENIVASAN: Are there any things that are working in framing how a community approaches police and getting results? I mean, because we saw very different outcomes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, than we did in North Carolina.

    SHEDD: Right. I think, you know, measures of accountability, the difference with Tulsa was that they released that footage very early that people felt like they had a sense of, you know, here is more data about what was going on. If we have people who actually have connections to police officers, where they know them from the community, so it comes to having some stronger connections amongst the people and being seen as fully human and that one-to-one reach could, you know, scale up to a general perception of trust.

    But it’s really hard to do that. And we have to work from both ends in changing in the only the culture of policing but the structure of inequality that would make it so that police are the first people that we call, and see, that I’m recognized fully as a person.

    SREENIVASN: With all of the video that’s out there, does it make it more difficult for communities to engage in a conversation or does it force the police to the table and what does it do in that kind of larger context having these incredibly impassioned flare ups occur?

    SHEDD: There are no definitive accounts. And I think having the video gives some solace to people in saying this should be an objective record and often it’s not. But it means that we are really grasping for something to show that there might be a different side because people don’t have great trust in what is the police record and what is the sort of side of that — of the officers.

    So, even with the advantage point of body cameras, this comes where you are seeing it from the police’s vantage point. It’s not from that other citizen’s vantage point. And I think we can take that metaphor to mean, how do we get the record of the people? How do we understand their accounts and what they go through?

    SREENIVASAN: All right. Carla Shedd from Columbia University — thanks so much.

    SHEDD: Thank you for having me.

    The post Questions remain after Charlotte police release videos of shooting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Hostra University students playing the roles of the candidates and moderator go through a rehearsal for the first U.S. presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York September 25, 2016. Left to right are Joseph Burch, Christian Stewart and Caroline Mullen.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTSPCT5

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Joining me now from Santa Barbara, California, to talk about what the first presidential debate is “NewsHour Weekend” special correspondent Jeff Greenfield.

    Jeff, I’m hearing Super Bowl-esque number potentials for the audience that might be watching this. And do most of us wait for the one-liners, the moments, the verbal and nonverbal communications? Or are we actually paying attention the whole 90 minutes or two hours, or whatever it is?

    JEFF GREENFIELD, NEWSHOUR WEEKEND SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, not just the audience, but this army of journalists tend to look for that kind of moment. In fact, if you ask a journalist to recite the history of presidential debates, it would be, Nixon looked shallow. Ford prematurely liberated Poland from Soviet domination. Reagan said, “There you go again”. Du kakis didn’t seem it care if his wife was raped and murdered. George H.W. Bush looked at his watch. That’s what always makes the next day’s stories.

    But I think that often it’s the entire 90 minutes that viewers take away. If you think about the Obama-Romney debate four years ago, it wasn’t any one moment that caused people to say Romney had won, it was the overall difference between what seemed to be a kind of defensive, sometimes petulant Obama and very assured, in command Romney. So, that’s what I think you need to pay as much attention to as those moments.

    SREENIVASAN: What about that level of expectation when Romney looked presidential and perhaps the expectation for Donald Trump is can he look presidential, can he contain himself for this period of time, is that a different level of expectation we have for him than say Hillary Clinton who has had such a long career in public service?

    GREENFIELD: Yes, first of all, I’m developing an app which will deliver a nonlethal but painful shock to any analyst that says they have to appear presidential. You know, I always suggest someone should put on 200 pounds to look like William Howard Taft.

    But more seriously, I think there is a danger of overstating the fact that Donald Trump is so out of the mainstream of candidates, you know, not only no public office but no civic engagement, that he is going to be held to a, quote, “lower standard”. I think — I understand the point, but I do think that 90 minutes one-on-one with one of these two people is going to be president of the United States, and I’m not sure that a one-liner or a dismissive answer t a question about the complexities of say, dealing with NATO countries under attack is going to be enough for him.

    You know, I think that if he after 90 minutes can’t offer a coherent account of what he means, that’s going to cost him.

    SREENIVASAN: You in a former life have also helped candidates prepare for these events. Going into it, what would you tell both of these candidates today?

    GREENFIELD: Well, I have to say, I do think that I would advise Hillary Clinton, it would be a much tougher — a much tougher piece of advice because it is true that what Trump is — I’m sure is being told is provide an answer that suggests you are familiar with the topic, and also counter her experience — this is what I once called political judo, take the strength as a weakness. If you are so experienced, why did you vote for the war in Iraq? How did we make such a hash of Syria and Libya?

    Her challenge, I think, would be both to acknowledge error, and then say, but, you know, one of the key things you need to do as a president is to learn from your mistakes the way John Kennedy learned after the Bay of Pigs not to put too much trust in the military during the Cuban nuclear crisis. And then turn it and say, but one of your issues, Donald — and I think she might all him Donald — is you don’t seem ever to admit a mistake. That’s a very bad notion for a president.

    The other thing, the oral history of the Gore-Bush in “The New York Times” today, and what happened apparently is both side agree was that Gore had such contempt for Bush’s knowledge that he let it show in all those sighs and impressions of exasperation. And that’s all everybody remembered from the first debate.

    So, in the case of advising Hillary Clinton, there needs to be this fine line between trying to prove that she’s smarter than he is, which would, you know, not be the right way to go, and then take his lack of knowledge and explain why that matters, that this isn’t just a civics test. It’s about, you know, governing as president.

    SREENIVASAN: How about the role of moderator? What should Lester Holt be doing tomorrow night?

    GREENFIELD: Well, you know, one of the things, you know, as I fantasize in my former non-virginal life as a political operative (ph), what would you do if 10 minutes into the debate, Trump turns to Lester Holt and says, you know, you’re being very unfair?

    All through the primaries, in fact Gingrich did this four years ago and it was many did this in the spring, particularly in the Republican primary, beating up on a moderator from the mass media, from the mainstream media, doesn’t cost you any points. But in terms of Holt, Lester Holt, it’s a very difficult position.

    I think Jim Lehrer was right who moderated many of these debates saying this isn’t an interview, because are you moderating a debate, what you need to do if you think that Donald Trump has stepped way over the line on factual matters which I think as a matter of fact he has, that to his opponent say, “What is your reaction to that, Secretary Clinton?” It is not his job to correct because then you wind up completely you know, unsettling the whole framework of the debate. I know that there are a lot of people who think that’s what should happen particularly after the criticism leveled at Matt Lauer. But I really think it’s a role that almost doesn’t permit to do that.

    SREENIVASAN: All right. “NewsHour” special correspondent Jeff Greenfield joining us from Santa Barbara — thanks so much.

    GREENFIELD: Pleasure.

    The post What to expect from the first presidential debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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