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- 10/23/16--12:57: _South Dakota voters...
- 10/23/16--12:57: _Humanitarian concer...
- 10/23/16--14:14: _Looking past Trump,...
- 10/24/16--04:34: _Tom Hayden, 1960s a...
- 10/24/16--04:57: _With email dumps, W...
- 10/24/16--05:26: _Watch and learn how...
- 10/24/16--08:16: _Crowdfunding raises...
- 10/24/16--14:06: _5 important stories...
- 10/24/16--14:45: _Obama administratio...
- 10/24/16--14:50: _Justice Souter’s ol...
- 10/24/16--15:10: _Who’s footing the b...
- 10/24/16--15:15: _Long-suffering fans...
- 10/24/16--15:20: _In a tough-talking ...
- 10/24/16--15:25: _For this Syrian act...
- 10/24/16--15:30: _What will Dakota Ac...
- 10/24/16--15:35: _How the push to reg...
- 10/24/16--15:40: _How Clinton and Tru...
- 10/24/16--15:45: _News Wrap: AT&T con...
- 10/24/16--15:50: _Trump focuses on Fl...
- 10/25/16--07:04: _As race speeds to a...
- 10/23/16--12:57: South Dakota voters have choices to reshape state government
- 10/23/16--12:57: Humanitarian concerns grow in Mosul
- 10/23/16--14:14: Looking past Trump, Clinton aims to help other Democrats
- 10/24/16--04:34: Tom Hayden, 1960s anti-war activist, dies at 76
- 10/24/16--04:57: With email dumps, WikiLeaks probes the limits of full transparency
- 10/24/16--05:26: Watch and learn how termites turn your house into a poop palace
- 10/24/16--08:16: Crowdfunding raises $300,000 in a week for ruby slippers restoration
- 10/24/16--14:06: 5 important stories getting buried by Clinton and Trump news
- 10/24/16--14:50: Justice Souter’s old warning finds new life in this election
- 10/24/16--15:10: Who’s footing the bill to restore the ruby slippers
- 10/24/16--15:15: Long-suffering fans savor Chicago-Cleveland World Series matchup
- 10/24/16--15:25: For this Syrian activist, hope, like his hometown, is gone
- 10/24/16--15:40: How Clinton and Trump are strategizing with two weeks to go
- 10/24/16--15:45: News Wrap: AT&T confident in Time Warner deal approval
- 10/24/16--15:50: Trump focuses on Florida as Clinton rallies for other Democrats
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — On a recent morning, former U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland walked between businesses in downtown Sioux Falls, pushing a trio of ballot measures he’s dubbed the “trifecta of reform.”
The Democrat rattled off the measures’ inscrutable names to a clothing shop employee using a slogan invented by his mother: “If you want to change the channel, vote yes on ‘T-V-22.'”
It’s shorthand for three proposals with the potential to radically reshape South Dakota politics: Candidates wouldn’t be identified with a party on ballots, campaigns could receive public funds and the Legislature would no longer control the redistricting process.
The initiatives have the potential to diminish Republicans’ domination of state government. All three are opposed by the state GOP, which holds every statewide office and supermajorities in both legislative chambers. The South Dakota Democratic Party supports the redistricting measure but hasn’t taken a stance on the other two proposals.
The groups running each ballot measure campaign say they’re needed government reforms with bipartisan supporters.
Weiland, who runs a self-described nonpartisan group supporting the proposals, makes no bones that the goal is to upend South Dakota’s political establishment. If successful, he hopes to do the same in other states.
“We’re in the process here of starting a fire on the prairie, and we’re hoping the fire spreads to other areas of the country,” Weiland said.
Together, the measures would strengthen minority Democrats, with the biggest potential gain in legislative races, Northern State University political science professor Jon Schaff said. But, he said, the proposals face an uphill battle because of the GOP opposition and voters’ historical defeat of ballot measures.
Opponents of the measures haven’t yet filed campaign finance reports, though foes of the nonpartisan election plan say they’ve raised about $100,000 so far. Political committees supporting the measures each have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind contributions.
Perhaps the most sweeping changes would come from Constitutional Amendment V, which would establish a nonpartisan primary that would send the top vote-getters to the general election. It wouldn’t apply to presidential races.
Nebraska uses such a system for its one-chamber Legislature. California, Louisiana and Washington also use a top-two format, though unlike the South Dakota proposal, their systems include some form of party notation.
Former California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who helped lead the push for the state’s nonpartisan open primary that voters approved in 2010, wrote an op-ed for a top South Dakota newspaper in favor of the amendment. In a statement to The Associated Press, he said voters are angry at a political system that rewards party extremists and discourages moderation.
“I’m calling on all Americans to join me in creating a future where we elect public servants, not party servants,” Schwarzenegger said.
But some believe it would reduce transparency at the polls. It makes sense to list party labels on the ballot, said Judith Ryan, 80, of Sioux Falls, who voted against the amendment when she recently cast her absentee ballot.
“I think the expectation that our voters will be sufficiently informed of the substantive issues in an election without having those parties identified, I think it’s just too hard to vote,” said Ryan, who described herself as a moderate Republican.
Ryan did vote for Initiated Measure 22, which would allow voters to tap a state fund to send two $50 credits to participating political candidates, tighten campaign finance and lobbying laws, and create an ethics commission.
Opponents have argued in several venues — radio, mailers, phone calls and canvassing — that public campaign financing would pull state resources from other priorities. The opposition includes Americans For Prosperity-South Dakota, the state Retailers Association and the state Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Don Frankenfeld, a former GOP state senator who co-chairs the main group backing the plan, said it would fight corruption, hold politicians accountable and make elections more transparent. Supporters spent over $100,000 on TV advertising last week, he said.
“There’s no reason for a Republican in South Dakota to oppose political reform or to favor the potential for corruption,” he said.
Tim Wilka, a Democrat from Sioux Falls, supported all three measures on his absentee ballot. The 61-year-old retired attorney said he thinks there’s too much cronyism at the state Capitol, and wants political boundaries drawn by an independent commission to make redistricting fairer.
“I’m skeptical, but I’m hopeful,” he said.
The post South Dakota voters have choices to reshape state government appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Read the full transcript below.
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Iraqi government troops allied with Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, launched a new offensive today on towns and villages around Mosul, the country’s second largest city. The Kurdish forces say they’ve advanced to within five miles of Mosul, gaining control of villages and highways along the way. The long-planned offensive, which began last week, involves more than 25,000 Iraqi forces as well as U.S.-led coalition aircraft and advisers.
The battle for Mosul presents a challenge, to say the least, for the civilians still living in a city controlled by ISIS for the past two years. The United Nations warns as many as a million residents could be displaced during the battle.
To discuss these humanitarian concerns, I’m joined via Skype from Baghdad by Katharina Ritz, the head of Iraq delegation for the International Red Cross.
Thanks for joining us.
From your position now, what are the largest source of concern for you on a humanitarian front?
KATHARINA RITZ, INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS: The largest concern at this stage is obviously it’s very challenging to reach people, that people are still — most of the people are still in cities or in the city centers. We talk maybe about around 5,000 families or persons who could leave from the villages. But they are not yet at the outskirts.
So, there are different challenges. We know there is displacement going on. There is sulfur smoke, which is toxic up to a certain extent. This also affects already the residents of the villages which are around, or people displaced to these camps in the area of Qayyarah, which makes everything even additional challenging, because also we have to look at the safety of our staff. But still try to dispatch medical supplies to this area which are now under an additional stress.
SREENIVASAN: Are there any safety corridors or any avenues where civilians could get out as the troops advance closer and closer to their cities?
RITZ: Most of the places have not seen massive displacement of civilians. But generally they try, or they announced to try to have a safe passage open. How this is going to work out when you talk about thousands of civilians, we have to see. I think it’s not yet very clear. They are definitely making plans of opening safe passages for civilians to leave.
SREENIVASAN: How quickly after the city is under the control of Iraqi forces can humanitarian aid agencies get in there and try to either treat the wounded or evacuate who needs to be?
RITZ: Well, we have a little bit of experience with the situation that happened in Anbar, in Ramadi and Fallujah. I think it’s very difficult just to think that we can go quickly inside, because we do expect there might be heavy mines, contamination of mines or booby traps or maybe still some security concern for the humanitarian workers. So, I think the first thing preferably is to clear and that the people we can assist might not be in front of the front lines.
SREENIVASAN: Finally, what’s the most immediate oppressing concern? As a city gets cut off like this, what happens to water or access to food or certainly medicine when there’s not any goods or services coming in and out?
RITZ: If it’s besieging or an isolation over a long period, this might put lots of pressures on the civilians which we have seen also in Fallujah. But I think that the major concern is then to get access to the people, to evacuate the wounded and get treatment. And I think if nobody works any more in the hospitals or can go safely to a health structure, and then it is a real concern and I think it’s — people will lose life just because they cannot access hospitals and health structures.
SREENIVASAN: All right. Katharina Ritz from the International Red Cross, joining us live via Skype from Baghdad today — thanks so much.
RITZ: Thank you very so much. Thanks.
DURHAM, N.C. — Newly confident and buoyant in the polls, Hillary Clinton is looking past Donald Trump while widening her mission to include helping Democrats seize the Senate and chip away at the Republican-controlled House.Though Trump’s campaign insisted Sunday it was premature to count him out, it’s Clinton whose path to winning the White House has only grown wider in the race’s final weeks. Even longtime Republican strongholds such as Utah and Arizona suddenly appear within her reach on Nov. 8, enticing Democrats to campaign hard in territory they haven’t won for decades.
The shifting political map has freed Clinton and her well-funded campaign to spend time and money helping other Democrats in competitive races. Clinton said she didn’t “even think about responding” to Trump anymore and would instead spend the final weeks on the road “emphasizing the importance of electing Democrats down the ballot.”
“We’re running a coordinated campaign, working hard with gubernatorial, Senate and House candidates,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager.
And for good reason.
After a merciless two-year campaign, the next president will face the daunting task of governing a bitterly divided nation. If Clinton wins, her prospects for achieving her goals will be greatly diminished unless her victory is accompanied by major Democratic gains in Congress.
“We’ve got to do the hard and maybe most important work of healing, healing our country,” Clinton said Sunday at Union Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina.
For Democrats, there’s another reason to try to run up the score. With Trump warning he may contest the race’s outcome if he loses, Clinton’s campaign is hoping for an overwhelming Democratic victory that would undermine any attempt by Trump to claim the election had been stolen from him.
In a rare admission of fallibility by the typically boastful Trump, his campaign acknowledged he’s trailing Clinton as Election Day nears.
“We are behind. She has some advantages,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said. Still, she added, “We’re not giving up. We know we can win this.”
Conway laid out in granular detail Trump’s potential path to winning: victories in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio, to start. If Trump prevents Arizona and Georgia from falling to Democrats and adds in some combination of Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, he could reach the 270 electoral votes needed, Conway said.
It won’t be easy. A current Associated Press analysis of polling, demographic trends and other campaign data rates Virginia as solidly Democratic, while Colorado, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are all leaning Democratic. Arizona, remarkably, is a toss-up.
If Clinton wins, Democrats would need a net gain of four Senate seats to retake the majority. House control would be much harder, considering Republicans currently enjoy their largest House majority since 1931. Democrats would need a 30-seat gain, a feat they haven’t accomplished in roughly four decades.
Clinton’s nascent focus on helping fellow Democrats comes with an inherent contradiction. For months, she deliberately avoided the strategy employed by other Democrats of trying to saddle all Republicans with an unpopular Trump. In August, she said Trump represented the “radical fringe,” rather than the mainstream of the Republican Party.
“We have not run this campaign as a campaign against the GOP with the big broad brush — we’ve run it against Donald Trump,” Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, said in a weekend interview with The Associated Press.
Painting Trump as beyond the typical GOP was a strategy intended to help Clinton win over voters who identify as Republicans but dislike Trump. Yet it’s been a major sore point for Democratic campaign groups, illustrated by an internal Democratic National Committee email in May that was hacked and later disclosed by WikiLeaks.
“They don’t want us to tie Trump to other Republicans because they think it makes him look normal,” top DNC official Luis Miranda wrote under the subject line “Problem with HFA,” an acronym for Hillary For America.
Andrea Bozek of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, said Clinton’s last-minute push to aid Democrats was insufficient to make up for her party’s shortfalls in recruiting competitive candidates this year.
“Democrats have relied on political gravity from the presidential race to carry them across the finish line,” Bozek said.
Indeed, as Clinton campaigned in North Carolina, where Democrats hope to unseat GOP Sen. Richard Burr, Clinton’s argument appeared to rest on the hopes that voters offended by Trump would vote against Burr, too. She said Democratic candidate and American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Deborah Ross knows that Trump “is wrong for America.”
“Unlike her opponent, Debra has never been afraid to stand up to Donald Trump,” Clinton said.
Clinton isn’t the only Democrat putting a premium on down-ballot races. President Barack Obama flew Sunday to Nevada to campaign for the Democratic Senate candidate there before heading to California to raise money for House Democrats. He and Vice President Joe Biden have recorded ads, raised money and campaigned in person for dozens Democratic candidates this year.
For Trump, who was campaigning Sunday in Florida, the final weeks have been shadowed by concerns about his predatory comments about women and mounting allegations of sexual assault. Trump used a weekend speech to announce he planned to sue all of the women, while one of his supporters, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, lamented his “oppression” by the media.
“He’s been waterboarded by these issues,” Brewer said.
Mook and Brewer spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Conway spoke on “Fox News Sunday” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Lederman reported from Washington. AP Polling Director Emily Swanson and AP writers Kathleen Ronayne in Boston and Alan Suderman in Gainesville, Florida, contributed to this report.
The post Looking past Trump, Clinton aims to help other Democrats appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Famed ’60s anti-war activist Tom Hayden, whose name became forever linked with the celebrated Chicago 7 trial, Vietnam War protests and his ex-wife actress Jane Fonda, has died. He was 76.
He died on Sunday after a long illness, said his wife, Barbara Williams, noting that he suffered a stroke in 2015.
Hayden, once denounced as a traitor by his detractors, overcame his past and won election to the California Assembly and Senate where he served for almost two decades as a progressive force on such issues as the environment and education. He was the only one of the radical Chicago 7 defendants to win such distinction in the mainstream political world.
He remained an enduring voice against war and spent his later years as a prolific writer and lecturer advocating for reform of America’s political institutions.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti praised Hayden. “A political giant and dear friend has passed. Tom Hayden fought harder for what he believed than just about anyone I have known. RIP, Tom,” Garcetti said Sunday night on his Twitter account.
Hayden wrote or edited 19 books, including “Reunion,” a memoir of his path to protest and a rumination on the political upheavals of the ’60s.
“Rarely, if ever, in American history has a generation begun with higher ideals and experienced greater trauma than those who lived fully the short time from 1960 to 1968,” he wrote.
Hayden was there at the start. In 1960, while a student at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, he was involved in the formation of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), then dedicated to desegregating the South. By 1962, when he began drafting the landmark Port Huron Statement, SDS and Hayden were dedicated to changing the world.
Hayden was fond of comparing the student movement that followed to the American Revolution and the Civil War.
In 1968, he helped organize anti-war demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that turned violent and resulted in the notorious Chicago 7 trial. It began as the Chicago 8 trial, but one defendant, Bobby Seale, was denied the lawyer of his choice, was bound and gagged by the judge and ultimately received a separate trial.
After a circus-like trial, Hayden and three others were convicted of crossing state lines to incite riot. The convictions were later overturned, and an official report deemed the violence “a police riot.”
Thomas Emmet Hayden was born Dec. 11, 1939, in Royal Oak, Michigan, to middle-class parents. At Michigan, he took up political causes including the civil rights movement. He wrote fiery editorials for the campus newspaper and contemplated a career in journalism. But upon graduation, he turned down a newspaper job. As he wrote in his memoir, “I didn’t want to report on the world; I wanted to change it.”
He joined the fledgling Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, went freedom-riding during civil rights protests in the South and was beaten and briefly jailed in Mississippi and Georgia. He married a fellow activist, Sandra “Casey” Cason.
Yearning for a more influential role, Hayden returned to Ann Arbor, where he was enlisted by the SDS to draft the Port Huron Statement, a call to action he hoped would spread to the rest of the country.
In 1965, Hayden made his first visit to North Vietnam with an unauthorized delegation. In 1967, he returned to Hanoi with another group and was asked by North Vietnamese leaders to bring three prisoners of war back to the United States.
Firmly committed to the anti-war movement, Hayden participated in sit-ins at Columbia University, then began traveling the country to promote a rally in Chicago for the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
In the interim, a single event galvanized him — the 1968 assassination of his friend, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, in Los Angeles. “I went from Robert Kennedy’s coffin into a very bleak and bitter political view,” Hayden told the Associated Press in 1988.
In 1971, Hayden met Jane Fonda, a latecomer to the protest movement. After he heard her give an eloquent anti-war speech in 1972, Hayden said they connected and became a couple. He was divorced from Cason. Fonda was divorced from director Roger Vadim and had a daughter, Vanessa Vadim.
Hayden and Fonda were married for 17 years and had a son, Troy.
With heavy financial support from Fonda, Hayden plunged into California politics in the late 1970s. He formed the Campaign for Economic Democracy and was elected to the Assembly in 1982.
In 1992, Hayden won election to the state Senate advocating for environmental and educational issues. By then, he and Fonda were divorced.
Hayden went on to marry actress Barbara Williams, and they had a son, Liam.
In 1994, Hayden was defeated in a run for the state governorship, and he lost a bid to become mayor of Los Angeles.
After leaving public office, Hayden wrote and traveled extensively, lecturing, teaching and speaking out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also an advocate for animals, and in 2012 he lobbied Gov. Jerry Brown to preserve a piece of legislation known as Hayden’s Law, which he had authored to protect shelter animals from premature euthanasia.
LONDON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange first outlined the hypothesis nearly a decade ago: Can total transparency defeat an entrenched group of insiders?
“Consider what would happen,” Assange wrote in 2006, if one of America’s two major parties had their emails, faxes, campaign briefings, internal polls and donor data all exposed to public scrutiny.
“They would immediately fall into an organizational stupor,” he predicted, “and lose to the other.”
A decade later, various organs of the Democratic Party have been hacked; several staffers have resigned and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has seen the inner workings of her campaign exposed to the public, including disclosures calling into question her positions on trade and Wall Streetand her relationship with the party’s left . Many of these emails have been released into the public domain by WikiLeaks.
Some see the leaks as a sign that Assange has thrown his lot in with Republican rival Donald Trump or even with Russia. But others who’ve followed Assange over the years say he’s less interested in who wins high office than in exposing — and wearing down — the gears of political power that grind away behind the scenes.
“He tends not to think about people, he thinks about systems,” said Finn Brunton, an assistant professor at New York University who has tracked WikiLeaks for years. “What he wants to do is interfere with the machinery of government regardless of who is in charge.”
WikiLeaks’ mission was foreshadowed 10 years ago in “Conspiracy as Governance,” a six-page essayAssange posted to his now-defunct blog.
In the essay, Assange described authoritarian governments, corporations, terrorist organizations and political parties as “conspiracies” — groups that hoard secret information to win a competitive advantage over the general public. Leaks cut these groups open like a double-edged knife, empowering the public with privileged information while spreading confusion among the conspirators themselves, he said. If leaking were made easy, Assange argued, conspiratorial organizations would be gripped by paranoia, leaving transparent groups to flourish.
When the group published 250,000 U.S. State Department cables in 2010, it helped launch a multimillion dollar quest to unmask insider threats at home while causing problems for U.S. diplomats overseas. The recent leaks have affected the Democratic National Committee in much the same way, with staffers advised to use caution when communicating about sensitive topics.
Clinton supporters say Assange is targeting her out of partisan bias. U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia is behind the hacks to interfere in the U.S. election.
“Wouldn’t it be good reading to see internal discussions (about) Trump’s taxes?” Clinton Press Secretary Brian Fallon tweeted recently. “Wikileaks isn’t targeting Trump. That tells you something.”
It’s possible that malicious sources are using WikiLeaks for their own ends, said Lisa Lynch, an associate professor at Drew University who has also followed Assange’s career. But she noted that a lifetime far from public service and an aversion to email make Trump a more difficult target.
“If Trump had a political career, he’d be more available for Wikileaking,” she said.
Assange did not return messages seeking comment, but he has described allegations that he’s in the service of the Kremlin as a conspiracy theory and has denied picking sides in the U.S. electoral contest.
He has targeted Republican politicians in the past; in the run-up to the 2008 election his group published the contents of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s inbox. Her reaction at the time anticipated the Democrats’ outrage today.
“What kind of a creep would break into a person’s files, steal them, read them, then give them to the press to broadcast all over the world to influence a presidential campaign?” Palin wrote in her autobiography, “Going Rogue.”
In fact, Assange has long tried to influence presidential campaigns. In 2007, WikiLeaks published a long-suppressed corruption report ahead of Kenya’s national elections. It unleashed a wave of anger and, Assange oftenboasts , swung the vote.
In reality, the publication barely played a role in Kenya, according to Nic Cheesman, an associate professor of African politics at Oxford University. And it’s not clear whether the recent WikiLeaks revelations will fare differently. Clinton has a commanding lead in the polls despite the leaks.
Still, Assange appears game to try. Between the DNC emails and the inbox of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s messages, his organization has published 46,000 messages from some of the most powerful people in Democratic politics. More is coming. When one Twitter user noted that WikiLeaks had not published any of Podesta’s emails dating past March 21, WikiLeaks responded .
“Well spotted,” it said. “Something to look forward to.”
The post With email dumps, WikiLeaks probes the limits of full transparency appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Termites cause billions of dollars in damage in the United States every year. Most pest-control companies douse infested houses and surrounding soil with chemical insecticides. But researchers are now trying to take advantage of termites’ peculiar habits to control them with biological strategies instead, by disrupting their amazing digestive systems.
Termites can crawl up into a house from the soil through tubes they make out of dirt and saliva, or winged adults can fly in, or both, depending on the species and type of termite involved. Once they’re established inside a house, they crawl through tight spaces — like the cockroaches they’re closely related to — gnawing and scraping the wood, causing damage to anything from structural wood and paneling to furniture.
Some types, such as dampwood termites that are attracted by water-damaged wood, use their cardboard-like poop pellets to build up their nests, turning a human house into a termite toilet.
“They build their own houses out of their own feces,” said entomologist Michael Scharf, of Purdue University, in Indiana.
Termite poop isn’t smelly, like a carnivore’s fecal matter.
“It smells smoky,” he said.
And while they’re using their poop as a building material, termites are also feeding on the wood. They’re one of the few animals that can digest wood and extract nutrients from it, a feat humans are incapable of.
“We can degrade proteins and fats and sugars and starches,” said microbiologist Jared Leadbetter, of the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena. “But we don’t have enzymes in our saliva that break down cellulose.”
It turns out that even termites need help breaking down the cellulose in wood. Hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of species of microbes that live packed inside their guts help them do this.
Most of these microbes are bacteria. Leadbetter and his colleagues have found that one of these bacteria, called Treponema azotonutricium, combines nitrogen from the air and calories from the wood to make protein for the termites. This almost-magical ability would be akin to a human turning a calorie-rich food like a potato into a protein-rich food like a steak.
Besides the hundreds of bacteria, a termite’s gut is also host to a couple dozen species of protists, organisms that are neither animals, nor plants, nor fungi. Some of these protists swim around with the help of tail-like appendages called flagella. And scientists have found that several of them help termites break down wood by fermenting it, much the same way a brewer turns grain into beer.
“The termites need the protists,” said Scharf. “The termite secretes its own enzymes at the front of the gut, near their mouth, and starts to break down the wood.”
But this isn’t enough to derive calories from the wood. The partially digested wood first has to travel to the back of the termite’s gut — the hindgut — which serves as a fermentation chamber where protists and bacteria turn the wood into a substance called acetate, which gives the termite energy.
Researchers have found that certain types of protists are essential for termites’ survival. When these protists are eliminated from the termite’s gut, the insect can’t get any nutrition out of the wood. This is a weakness that biologists hope to exploit as a way to get rid of termites using biology rather than chemicals.
Louisiana State University entomologist Chinmay Tikhe is working to genetically engineer a bacterium found in the Formosan subterranean termite’s gut so that the bacterium will destroy the gut protists. The idea would be to sneak these killer bacteria into the termite colony on some sort of bait the termites would eat and carry back with them.
“It’s like a Trojan Horse,” said Tikhe, referring to the strategy used by the Greeks to sneak their troops into the city of Troy using a wooden horse that was the city’s emblem. “The bacterium is from the gut, so the termite doesn’t realize that it’s a pathogen.”
The bacteria would then kill the protists that help the termite derive nutrition from wood. The termites would eventually starve.
The engineered bacterium would be specific enough to the Formosan termite that it wouldn’t spread to other species of termites that are beneficial to the environment, said Tikhe. Termites in the rainforest, for example, break down wood into things that other creatures can eat and they improve the soil by crawling through it, just like worms do.
Researchers have tested biological controls such as fungi as treatments against termites. But termites’ immune systems fight them back, and termites usually protect their colony by leaving it when they’re sick, said Tikhe.
By tricking the termite into believing it’s eating a friendly microbe, researchers hope to turn its friends against their host.
The post Watch and learn how termites turn your house into a poop palace appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Dorothy’s iconic ruby slippers will shine in all their glitz and glory for years to come, thanks to the success of a crowdfunding campaign to preserve the “Wizard of Oz” treasures.
Last Monday, the Smithsonian Institution launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $300,000 to clean the shoes and create a new-age display case to prevent environmental decay. The shoes have faded in color, sequins are flaking and the thread holding them together is breaking after 80 years of existence. The crowdfunding goal was surpassed due to donations from more than 5,300 supporters from 41 countries across six continents.
A 16-year-old Judy Garland wore the well known sequined shoes in the 1939 milestone Technicolor film The Wizard of Oz, an adaptation of the 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum. Baum’s original description painted the slippers as silver, but the film’s directors selected ruby so the shoes stood out more clearly against the yellow-brick road.
Up to 10 pairs of shoes were made for the film, according to the New York Times. One pair was stolen, and another sold at auction to be featured at the Academy of Motion Pictures. The well-worn shoes displayed at the Smithsonian are believed to have been Garland’s primary dancing shoes, complete with felted soles to muffle her footsteps.
The shoes are actually mismatched, one with “#1 Judy Garland” written inside the heel and the other with “#6 Judy Garland.” Both are size 5, with one a little wider, the Times reported.
The shoes are one of the most popular items at the museum and were gifted by an anonymous donor in 1979. The slippers are currently on display at the American Stories exhibition at the National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian hopes to complete restoration for their new exhibition by 2018.
The post Crowdfunding raises $300,000 in a week for ruby slippers restoration appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
The election is about two weeks away, but millions of American aren’t waiting for Election Day to cast their vote.
More than 4 million people, committed to democracy, already cast their vote early via absentee and mail-in ballots weeks ahead of Nov. 8, according to the Pew Research Center. At this rate, as many as 50 million people could vote early this year, meaning this election could draw the largest early-voting turnout in history.
After all, in the last week, we heard of a firebombed GOP office in North Carolina, some botched Spanish in the final presidential debate, and more emails. Apparently, it’s “pitchfork and torches time in America.”
So, let’s pivot and take a look at several domestic and international stories that have nothing to do with either presidential candidate.
1. Tensions mount over pipeline construction at Standing Rock site
Back in September, William Brangham visited the Standing Rock Reservation, where more than 100 Native American tribes gathered to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Clashes between police and protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline grew more tense over the weekend. More than 80 people were arrested after a group of about 300 tribal members and activists gathered at a private construction site of the uncompleted crude oil pipeline.
Protesters, led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, have repeatedly aired their concerns on the 1,200-mile pipeline and its proximity to the Missouri River, the reservation’s main water supply. Beyond the environmental concerns, the tribe has said the government didn’t properly consult with them about the project.
On Facebook, the sheriff’s office released a statement saying Friday’s arrests illustrated that the protest against the pipeline wasn’t “peaceful or lawful.” Officers reportedly used pepper spray on some activists when they attempted to break through a police line. The standoff lasted five hours.
A statement on the Red Warrior Camp’s Facebook page said more than 140 people were arrested, adding that a peaceful procession of hundreds was “peaceful and prayerful despite [the sheriff’s] allegations of violence and lawlessness.”
More than 220 people have been arrested since protests began in August, the Associated Press reported.
Why it’s important
Jenni Monet, who has been covering the ongoing protests, told NewsHour Weekend that the “intensity here has actually increased.”
“You now see a more largess response from some of the law enforcement here, but also law enforcement that has now been backed by reinforcements from other departments from outlying states … who are sending their sheriff’s deputies to support the Morton County Sheriff’s response to the occupiers here,” Monet said.
In the interview below, Monet also talked about how lead organizers plan to ride out a North Dakota winter.
Meanwhile, organizers also moved an encampment to Cannonball Ranch, which is Dakota Access property, The Bismarck Tribune reported. In a statement, a camp coordinator claimed eminent domain on the land. The sheriff’s office said the camp’s relocation was illegal.
According to the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline would transport 470,000 barrels of oil a day. On its website, the company said the pipeline was a safer, cost-effective and “environmentally responsible” way to move the oil across four states, while reducing reliance of rail and truck transportation.
2. The combat mission to retake Mosul enters second week
Iraqi forces and their allies opened an offensive last week to wrest the city of Mosul from Islamic State forces. While the Iraqi commander issued a confident assessment, balancing the various factions taking part in the fight is a complicated matter. Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports and Jeffrey Brown speaks with former U.S. ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey. Video by PBS NewsHour
As Iraq fights to reclaim Mosul, the country’s second largest city, from the Islamic State, there have been dual narratives about how the battle unfolded in the first week, NPR reported.
“They’re always more optimistic in Washington. And this is no different,” Tom Bowman said of the Pentagon’s framing of the campaign. “But, clearly, privately, they’re very worried about all sort of things. The Peshmerga and the Iraqis are complaining about not enough air strikes,” he added.
Alice Fordham, who’s been reporting from the front lines, said there are also urgent concerns over chemical weapons used by ISIS.
“Yes, there are reports that ISIS had bomb-making factories in Mosul for some time,” Fordham said. “But what’s happened is that al-Mishraq plant, it’s called, part of that has been set alight by ISIS as a kind of giant chemical weapon that is spreading over a large area, including over where American, Western advisers are based, as well as Iraqi forces.”
Why it’s important
If ISIS loses Mosul, the militant group will be pushed back to its headquarters in Raqqa, Syria, “and that could spell the end of ISIS,” James Jeffrey, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told the NewsHour.
Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq, also warned of larger considerations in the aftermath, should Kurdish fighters successfully force ISIS out of Mosul. A mixture of ethnicities and religions, who are not always in agreement, will be vying for a role in governance, Petraeus warned.[Watch Video]
The aftermath of the fight to retake Mosul could devolve into a humanitarian crisis. John Irvine of Independent Television News reports and Jeffrey Brown talks to David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee, about what the U.N. has done to prepare for the aftermath and the upcoming task of rebuilding the city. Video by PBS NewsHour
Meanwhile, the U.N. warned of growing humanitarian concerns, saying that as many as a million residents could be displaced in the long-planned campaign. NewsHour’s Larisa Epatko covered the story of the residents caught in the crossfire.
3. 10 years ago, a FBI memo warned of white supremacists in law enforcement. What has happened since then?
In 2006, the FBI released a bulletin warning that white supremacists could attempt to infiltrate U.S. law enforcement.
Although the agency has redacted large portions of the document, the memo still specifies that the presence of hate groups “among law enforcement personnel is a concern due to access they may possess to restricted areas vulnerable to sabotage and to elected officials or protected persons, whom they could see as potential targets for violence.”
Why it’s important
FBI Director James Comey has said the agency’s working on a database that’ll track police use of deadly force. He said it’ll be available within two years.
But, as Race Matters reporter Kenya Downs pointed out, this 10-year-old memo demonstrates that “even if there aren’t hard statistics, the problem of racial bias among police isn’t new.” Downs goes through the several incidents since the report’s release where white supremacists have been identified in police departments in Florida, North Carolina, among other states.
Samuel Jones, a professor at the John Marshall School of Law in Chicago, told the NewsHour that the FBI and law enforcement agencies on the state and local level didn’t have sufficient vetting procedures in place to investigate possible links to hate groups within their ranks. That task has largely been left to citizens and organizations like the Southern Law Center, which documents the many hate groups operating in the U.S.
4. The U.S. prison strike you haven’t heard about
Back in September, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, IWOC, announced a “nationally coordinated prisoner workstoppage against prison slavery.”
The strike coincided with the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising in 1971, when thousands of inmates rioted over poor living conditions. As described in Heather Ann Thompson’s book, “Blood in the Water,” the prison didn’t adequately feed its population because it only spent 63 cents per prisoner per day, while the nearly all-white staff racially discriminated the nonwhite prisoners.
Prisoners have reached out to allies and journalists on contraband cell phones to provide updates. Several prisons have denied or kept mum on reports of strikes in their facilities.
Why it’s important
The Guardian noted that it’s been difficult to discern how many prisons across the country have been participating in the strike because access to prisoners can be restrictive, adding that wardens could “put their facilities on lockdown to forestall the action completely.”
The Human Rights Defense Center estimated that about 24,000 inmates pledged to the strike, while the IWOC placed that number to more than 70,000, The Guardian reported.
Weeks after the strike first began, the Justice Department announced a statewide investigation into the living conditions in Alabama’s prisons.
Thompson told The Atlantic that similar conditions could be found in today’s prison system, adding that there’s a “very ironic situation” decades later.
“On the one hand, because of lies told after Attica we have horrendous prison conditions,” she said. “Also because of Attica, we have prisoners who believe that if they stand together and if they speak up they might still find some measure of justice in this system, that they will perhaps humanize the conditions where they’re locked up.”
A second week into the strike, Ben Turk of the IWOC told The Intercept that the “strike has been pulled off, but we’re not quite breaking through to getting mainstream media,” noting a lack of traction on social media.
Last week, an inmate in South Carolina told The Guardian that he considered the strike a success.
“It allowed us to tie into other prisoner groups, link up more, know what we’re capable of, what would work better next time,” he said.
5. William Shakespeare will now have to share the limelight with a known rival.
A great deal of mystery — and conspiracy theories — have followed the famous bard for years, centuries even, including whether he was the sole author of his works.
Now, an international team of 23 academics released research arguing that Shakespeare was more collaborative than previously thought. As many as 17 of his works are believed to include writing from other playwrights, The Guardian reported.
Why it’s important
The New Oxford Shakespeare edition plans to credit Shakespeare rival Christopher Marlowe as a co-author on the three “Henry VI” plays. Latest text analysis appeared to show that Marlowe wrote most of Part 1, while Shakespeare is credited for the lion’s share of Part 3. Lead authorship for Part 2 was left undetermined.
The new research also debunks the theory that Marlowe and Shakespeare were the same person.
Gary Taylor, one of the five researchers for the new volume, told The New York Times that this is the first time a major edition of the Shakespeare’s works will mention that the playwright had help from his colleagues.
“No one has had the confidence to put the name actually on the title page,” Taylor said. “Which is perfectly reasonable because the only reason that we can do it now is because Shakespeare has entered the world of big data.”
Or, maybe, as Julie Newton noted in her letter to the editor to the Times in 2011, “The simple answer to the question ‘Who wrote Shakespeare’s plays?’ is: Who cares? A monkey could have written them for all I care.”
“Let’s be thankful the works exists, and move on,” she added.
Indeed, let’s follow one of my favorite Shakespeare stage directions: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”
The post 5 important stories getting buried by Clinton and Trump news appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — Premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama’s health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer, the administration confirmed Monday. That will stoke another “Obamacare” controversy days before a presidential election.
Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.
Moreover, about 1 in 5 consumers will only have plans from a single insurer to pick from, after major national carriers such as UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna scaled back their roles.
“Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period,” said Larry Levitt, who tracks the health care law for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
Republicans will pounce on the numbers as confirmation that insurance markets created by the 2010 health overhaul are on the verge of collapsing in a “death spiral.” Sign-up season starts Nov. 1, about a week before national elections in which the GOP remains committed to a full repeal. Window shopping for plans and premiums is already available through HealthCare.gov.
The sobering numbers confirmed state-by-state reports that have been coming in for months. Administration officials are stressing that subsidies provided under the law, which are designed to rise alongside premiums, will insulate most customers from sticker shock. They add that consumers who are willing to switch to cheaper plans will still be able to find bargains.
“Headline rates are generally rising faster than in previous years,” acknowledged HHS spokesman Kevin Griffis. But he added that for most consumers, “headline rates are not what they pay.”
The vast majority of the more than 10 million customers who purchase through HealthCare.gov and its state-run counterparts do receive generous financial assistance. “Enrollment is concentrated among very low-income individuals who receive significant government subsidies to reduce premiums and cost-sharing,” said Caroline Pearson of the consulting firm Avalere Health
But an estimated 5 million to 7 million people are either not eligible for the income-based assistance, or they buy individual policies outside of the health law’s markets, where the subsidies are not available. The administration is urging the latter group to check out HealthCare.gov. The spike in premiums generally does not affect the employer-provided plans that most workers and their families rely on.
In some states, the premium increases are striking. In Arizona, unsubsidized premiums for a 27-year-old buying a benchmark “second-lowest cost silver plan” will jump by 116 percent, from $196 to $422, according to the administration report. Oklahoma has the next biggest increase for a similarly situated customer, 69 percent.
Dwindling choice is another problem factor.
The total number of HealthCare.gov insurers will drop from 232 this year to 167 in 2017, a loss of 28 percent. (Insurers are counted multiple times if they offer coverage in more than one state. So Aetna, for example, would count once in each state that it participated in.)
Switching insurers may not be simple for patients with chronic conditions.
While many carriers are offering a choice of plan designs, most use a single prescription formulary and physician network across all their products, explained Pearson. “So, enrollees may need to change doctors or drugs when they switch insurers,” he said.
The post Obama administration announces double-digit premium hikes for Affordable Care Act appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Video by PBS NewsHour
Surprisingly, over the past few days, excerpts of a public conversation I held four years ago with retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter in Concord, New Hampshire, have been circulating on the internet.
We spoke on September 14, 2012, the 225th anniversary of the Constitution, on a subject dear to Souter’s heart: the meaning of the Constitution today, and the importance of educating young people on how their government works.
A dry topic, perhaps. But his comments sprang to life last Thursday night after Rachel Maddow aired an excerpt of the interview on her MSNBC program. She was reacting to Donald Trump’s refusal in the previous night’s debate to say he would accept the results of the election if he lost.
“Given that shock that has just been administered to this system, this is David Souter,” Maddow said. “He will not make you feel better … but it’s helpful, I think, to know there was a reason to see this whole thing coming.”
Her MaddowBlog headlined its post: “Souter warned of a Trump-like candidate in prescient remarks.” Other websites have called his comments “prophetic.”
Justice Souter said Republican government wasn’t threatened by foreign invasion or a military coup, but by civic ignorance.
“What I worry about is, when problems are not addressed and the people do not know who is responsible … some one person will come forward and say, ‘Give me total power and I will solve this problem,’” he said. “That is how the Roman Republic fell.”
“That is the way democracy dies,” he added.
Watch the 2.5-minute video above to hear what Maddow called Souter’s “crackling intelligence” on the subject.
The post Justice Souter’s old warning finds new life in this election appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
In our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: After all of these years, it’s hard to believe this next sentence, but fans know it’s true: The Chicago Cubs will face off against the Cleveland Indians starting tomorrow night in the World Series.
Life is about to change in one of these cities, whose fans have long suffered and waited decades for a baseball championship.
John Yang, who has Chicago and Cleveland roots of his own, is our guide.
MAN: The Cubs have won the pennant!
JOHN YANG: It’s a call that hasn’t been made in 71 years. The Chicago Cubs and their long-suffering fans are finally going back to World Series.
WOMAN: Oh, my gosh, I was crying the whole game. I’m out of tears.
WOMAN: It’s unbelievable. Like, all you think is, are they really going to do it and am I going to be there? And we were. We were here to watch them win.
JOHN YANG: Cubs fans have seen their share of heartbreak, including losing 101 games just four years ago. The last time the Cubs actually won the World Series, 1908. The last time they won a pennant, a local tavern owner and his goat were kicked out of World Series game four at Wrigley Field. Ever since, the curse of the billy goat, and some notorious blunders on field and off, have kept them on the outside looking in.
But the Cubs aren’t the only team hoping to end a World Series drought this year. They’re set to face the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t won the fall classic since 1948. They have made it three times since, but lost each time, most recently in 1995 and 1997.
WOMAN: Just amazing. They’re doing great, and I know they’re going to bring that World Series home.
JOHN YANG: Game one is set for Tuesday in Cleveland, and the excitement in both cities is running high. According to tracking site TicketIQ, standing room for Tuesday’s start at $860. And for Friday’s game in Chicago, $2,000.
More on this moment, the history and the mood from a pair of sports reporters covering these teams.
Al Pawlowski is host of “Indians Live,” the Cleveland pre- and post-game shows on Fox SportsTime Ohio. And Rick Telander is the senior sports columnist for The Chicago Sun-Times.
Al, Rick, thanks a lot for joining us.
Rick, let me start with you.
Your column this morning, you said it’s still hard to conceive of the Cubs in the World Series after 71 years away. Were there ever moments you doubted this or you questioned Saturday night that this was actually going to happen?
RICK TELANDER, Chicago Sun-Times: Oh, absolutely. You doubt everything all the way.
I mean, 71 years ago, I wasn’t even born. And so everybody — you heard in the setup piece the young women speaking, people weeping openly when the Cubs won that game. And when they got to five outs — you know, five outs is that critical amount that they missed in 2003, the notorious game where Moises Alou slapped his glove on his leg because he missed a foul ball because fan were reaching for it.
So, there’s always been doubt. And it’s hard even now I think in Chicago for people to believe this, because they — they don’t anybody alive — there is no one alive who’ve seen the Cubs win the World Series, and there’s very few people alive who saw them even get into a World Series.
JOHN YANG: Al, so much attention is being given to the Ind — to the — I’m sorry — to Cubs and about their sort of reputation as lovable losers.
But there’s a lot of history with the Indians too over the years. What does this mean to Cleveland?
AL PAWLOWSKI, Fox SportsTime Ohio: Well, it goes back to so many generations, similar to Chicago.
The Cubs have been around there forever, and same thing here with the Indians. They played professional baseball here since the late 1800s. The Indians have been around since 1901. So, something that the Indians bring even more than the Cavaliers that won the championship this summer — and it was Cleveland’s first major sports championship since 1964 — baseball and the Indians kind of connect the generations.
I remember my grandparents talking about Larry Doby and Lou Boudreau and some of those guys, and my parents talking about what they saw when they were kids in the ’54 World Series. And there hasn’t been a winner since ’48. I have never seen this team win a World Series. I have seen them in it for a couple of years in the ’90s.
But that’s kind of what this baseball team brings to this community. It’s a sports team that really connects the generations over time.
JOHN YANG: Over the weekend, Bernie Lincicome, who writes for The Chicago Tribune, and grew up an Indians fan, your cross-river rival there, Rick, he said: “This series matchup invites the question of who has suffered more, as if pain decides who is more deserving, as if agony is a critical benefit.”
Rick, talk about some of that pain over the years. You mentioned the five-out championship a few years back. But talk about some of that pain over the years for Cubs fans.
RICK TELANDER: Well, it’s very similar to Cleveland. Only, I think it’s more extreme because it goes back farther.
People in Chicago don’t hate the city of Cleveland. Cleveland’s been through a lot of troubles as a city. Chicago has, too. We have got a lot of financial problems.
But the thing that connects everybody, and the suffering is especially for the Cubs, because, don’t forget, we have a South Side team called the White Sox, and they won the World Series in 2005. So, that appeased a lot of people who are Sox fans.
But Cubs fans, you can go back. I mean, my grandson, well, they live — I go to visit them in Columbus, and he’s being raised, I’m afraid, an Indians fan by my son-in-law, Mike Edmonds (ph), and my daughter, who’s a die-hard Cubs fan.
But, at any rate, there are fans who go back grandchild, child, father, my father, and then my grandfather. None of us saw the Cubs win the World Series. So, that bonding, that suffering is always there. And you build kind of a hard shell to prevent yourself from suffering more.
When the Cubs get close, people say, oh, no, I know they are going to blow it. I know it’s going to happen. And they just say that just because they can’t take their heart and rip it apart again.
I can list the years that I have been alive for the heartbreak. That’s 1969, those Cubs, the ’84 Cubs, when the ball went through Leon Durham’s legs and they lost to the Padres; ’89, they were in the playoffs and lost, ’98; 2003 was perhaps the biggest heartbreaker of them all.
And 2007 and 2008, they had outstanding teams and they got swept each year in the first round of the playoffs. And people were like, what? They have no idea. So, believe me, you build up that defense system just to protect yourself.
JOHN YANG: Al, what about Tribe fans? Go back to ’97. It’s a little fresher, the 1997 World Series. Talk about some of that pain.
AL PAWLOWSKI: Well, I’ll tell you what. I still remember where I was the moment that the ’97 World Series was happening, and we’re watching game seven, and they’re playing the Marlins.
And the Indians have this 3-2 lead heading into the ninth inning. And I still didn’t feel like, oh, they are going to win it, it’s going to be fine, because a lot of what Rick just said, we have that here too in Cleveland.
And in Chicago, they have champions. You mentioned the White Sox. They have them. They have had the Blackhawks with what they have won. The Bulls won all those titles. Up until the Cavaliers won this summer, no Cleveland major professional sports franchise had won a championship.
So, similar to what the Cubs go through, Indians go through, too. It’s that feeling of, boy, is something going to go wrong, is something going to happen this year like it always has in years past?
Now, the good news is, and the big difference, with the Cavaliers winning a championship in June, you really can see a change in attitude here in the city, in the fans. Instead of feeling, boy, how are the Cubs going to beat the Indians now in the World Series, now it’s more like — and we saw this throughout October — how does this baseball team find a way to win?
Because they always seem to find a way to win. Now there is a confidence here that maybe wasn’t here back in the ’90s, when the Indians played the Braves in ’95 and then the Marlins in ’97.
JOHN YANG: Al, you talk about the Cavs. Tomorrow is not just game one of the World Series, the season opener for the Cavaliers, raising the championship banner.
This morning in The Sun-Times, Rick wrote that may be another — it’s already a lot of success for Cleveland. He wrote: “Dare I say this? Cleveland, city of solid Midwestern folks, take a knee.”
Al, you got Rick here. What do you say to that?
AL PAWLOWSKI: Well, there’s no way we’re taking a knee now, because this might be the only year that Cleveland can win multiple sports championships.
I mean, it hasn’t happened since 1948. The Browns did. The Indians did. If Cleveland has a chance to win a couple, they are going to go for it. And I understand what he is saying. Hey, the Cubs, it’s been a while for them.
But to see this town, and you talked about it, right now — I was just outside a few moments ago, and all the stages set up. All the networks are here. They’re here to cover the Cavaliers. They’re here to cover the Indians. We had the Republican National Convention in July. Same type of deal.
Suddenly, Cleveland is the big media center of the world when it comes to sports, at least for Tuesday night for game one, and then also for the Cavaliers opening up and getting their rings when they take on the Knicks.
It’s really a magical time. And if you have been a lifelong Clevelander, or at least a Cleveland sports fan, you never thought you would experience something like this. And now that it’s here, it’s just truly wonderful to be a part of it.
JOHN YANG: Al, Rick, two great cities, two great teams. Let’s hope for a great series. Thanks for being with us.
AL PAWLOWSKI: You got it. Sounds good.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: As we have been reporting, the tone and rhetoric of this presidential race are markedly different from previous years and have only intensified with two weeks to go to Election Day.
That’s the focus of the latest addition to the “NewsHour” Bookshelf.
Jeffrey Brown is in charge.
JEFFREY BROWN: Had enough of debates, ads, speeches? A new book argues that — quote — “The crisis in our politics is a crisis of political language,” as it explores the arts and science of rhetoric through the ages.
It’s called “Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong With the Language of Politics?” Author Mark Thompson is viewing all this from a very influential perch, as president and CEO of The New York Times Company.
Welcome to you.
MARK THOMPSON, Author, “Enough Said”: Hi there.
JEFFREY BROWN: The problem is our language or our politics. You’re making the case that it’s one and the same.
MARK THOMPSON: We have been brought up, many of us, to think that the political language is like a superficial layer, and below that is ideology and policy.
My argument is, it’s all tangled up. Particular ideas are expressed in language. They’re argued about in language. They’re communicated from one human being to another in language. And political language is everywhere. And it’s because of changes I saw in political language that I decided to write this book.
JEFFREY BROWN: And so let me try to look at now and we will put it in some context. I’m going to do a broad brush here and say that, in Hillary Clinton, I think many people see a kind of political rhetoric that comes off as phony. Is that fair?
MARK THOMPSON: I think it is.
She is almost the epitome of a certain kind of modern, technocratic, very rational, very carefully argued political language which many people find convincing, but a growing number of people, in many Western countries, are finding that kind of political language distant, alienating and unfeeling, and maybe even not believable.
JEFFREY BROWN: Not believable. And, well, it leads us to Donald Trump, right?
MARK THOMPSON: When you get a breakdown in the conventions of political rhetoric, and when you get a large number of people who are looking for something different, it opens up a vacuum into which populists can come.
And this is very fertile ground for a populist who wants to say something much simpler, which is, I speak like you. I’m an ordinary person like you.
I call it authenticism. By an authenticist, I mean a politician who very deliberately and consciously aims to appear authentic.
JEFFREY BROWN: The media is part of your book, part of this political culture, of course, part of the worsening of our political culture?
MARK THOMPSON: Yes. Yes.
And the media has gone through great changes. And it’s come under, particularly of the digital revolution, colossal competitive pressure. And it’s reduced thinking time, because the new cycle is continuous now. The urge to go for the bolder quotes, the more — the strongest possible version of the story means that, very much like the politicians, the risk is, you get into a bias around exaggeration and of high drama.
So, instead of calm, dispassionate discussion, you tend to get these very abrupt, you know, and dramatic developments in the story.
JEFFREY BROWN: The institution you represent in particular, though, is not just any player. It is a major player in all of this, becomes part of the news itself.
MARK THOMPSON: The two institutions I have been most involved with, The New York Times and the BBC, because I think they try incredibly hard not to get swept away by these trends and to try and still report things dispassionately and fairly.
JEFFREY BROWN: But to the extent that The Times is a target for those who see it as wielding its power for a particular bias, is that a dangerous place for a media institution to be, or where you want to be?
MARK THOMPSON: No, I think if you believe in the First Amendment for journalists and for newspapers and TV companies, you have got to believe in it for their critics as well.
Everyone’s got a right to raise any criticism they want about our journalism, and we should take that seriously. What you don’t have the right to do is to try and threaten people into silence.
And we very recently have been in receipt of a letter threatening a libel action from Donald Trump’s lawyers.
JEFFREY BROWN: Right.
MARK THOMPSON: We responded firstly making the point that there was nothing about Donald Trump’s reputation which he hadn’t already, frankly, built himself before we printed the testimony of a couple of the women who said they had been abused by him, and, secondly, reminding Mr. Trump’s lawyers about the First Amendment and our right to cover matters of genuine public importance.
JEFFREY BROWN: How do you, on the one hand, call for a less combative stance from the media, a more sort of analytical, explain to people, while at the same time being in combat?
MARK THOMPSON: I think politics probably has always been combat.
The issue is whether or not there are sensible rules of engagement. If I allow you to make your case and keep quiet and don’t interrupt you, and then you let me make my case, we can let the people who hear us decide who’s got the better case.
If we’re talking over each other and arguing and complaining, it begins to jumble the discourse, the rather vicious world of the anonymous Web. It’s reinfected straightforward political oratory, so that the things that politicians say about each other, the abandonment of any presumption of good faith, the calling of other politicians liars, they should be in jail and so forth, this doesn’t really help politics.
I don’t think the public like it.
JEFFREY BROWN: What would it take to change it?
MARK THOMPSON: You can read history very pessimistically or optimistically.
JEFFREY BROWN: Where are you today?
MARK THOMPSON: Well, I want to be optimistic. I think the stakes for us are very high.
And I would say, right now, freedom of speech, clarity of political discourse, simply the tone and the credibility of the political process is under grave challenge, crucially not just in the U.S., but in my country in the U.K. and I would say in pretty much every country in the Western world.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, the book is “Enough Said.”
Mark Thompson, thank you very much.
MARK THOMPSON: Thank you.
The post In a tough-talking election, language and politics are inextricably linked appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke today by phone about the situation in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. After a brief letup, the heavy fighting and bombing has resumed there.
Four years ago, Margaret Warner traveled throughout that part of Northwest Syria. She has been back in touch with a man she first met just outside Aleppo.
MARGARET WARNER: It was November 2012 in a small town in Syria, and Saleh Hawa had hopes.
With civil war roiling around him, this father of three, an English literature teacher, was leading demonstrations against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Hawa also headed a local civic council in his town in rebel-controlled Northwest Syria. It was working to restore electricity and basic services destroyed by government attacks.
He sounded fairly confident then in his country’s prospects. A formal Syrian opposition coalition had just been created, with the encouragement of Western and Gulf countries.
SALEH HAWA, Local Administrative Council, Haratan, Syria: I am optimistic, because the international community is now cooperating with this council, with this new council. And I think, personally, that most of the Syrian people are with this council.
We are looking forward to a better future, and we are tired now. We are tired now of war. We are tired of shelling every day.
MARGARET WARNER: We spoke in a walled garden in Hawa’s hometown of Haratan, just northwest of Aleppo. We then traveled to the regional headquarters of the Free Syrian Army, made up of self-declared moderate rebels.
Its Commander, Colonel Abdul-Jabbar Akidi, told us bluntly how desperately they needed weapons from the United States.
COL. ABDUL-JABBAR AKIDI, Aleppo Region Military Council (through translator): The Syrian people will not forget any country that provides them with support, and will not forgive any country that helps the Assad regime.
MARGARET WARNER: But in the four years since then, none of Hawa’s hopes, but all of his fears, have been realized.
Haratan has been repeatedly pounded by bombing from Russian and Syrian jets, dropping not only explosive-packed barrel bombs, but cluster bombs and the fearsome incendiary white phosphorous. When we first met Hawa, the war had killed 37,000 people. Now it’s 500,000 dead and nine million displaced.
Aleppo and the area around it has become ground zero. Last week, the Russian military announced a short-lived cease-fire, a pause to let humanitarian aid into and around Aleppo, including Hawa’s hometown.
But Hawa, whom we reconnected with via Skype, says there are few lives left to save in his town.
SALEH HAWA: Most of the population of Haratan left the town, because there is no single house which is safe right now. Most of the houses were completely or partially destroyed. And they cannot be lived in again.
So, most of the families left the city, because right now there is no electricity, no water, no food. Even the bakery was targeted. All hospitals, all medical centers were targeted.
MARGARET WARNER: Hawa and wife and children fled Haratan to a nearby town. They’re all safe, he said, but he’s lost many friends, and himself was the target of a car bomb attack in early 2014.
He and others are still teaching at a makeshift college they call the Free University of Aleppo, but he sounds full of despair and bitterness.
SALEH HAWA: We are being butchered under the eye of the international community.
MARGARET WARNER: It’s not just the bombing, he said. His town’s defenders, already fighting ISIS and the Syrian government, then were confronted with other foes. They’d come from afar to defend the Assad regime.
SALEH HAWA: We came face to face with the Shiite militias. And they are mostly Afghani, Afghanistani. Most of them are Iranian, and so on.
MARGARET WARNER: So, Afghanis sponsored by Iran and trained by Iran?
SALEH HAWA: Yes, sure.
MARGARET WARNER: Are they well-equipped?
SALEH HAWA: They’re well-equipped.
MARGARET WARNER: Caught between all these competing forces, Hawa says he and his countrymen have been abandoned, even as endless talks go on between the U.S. and Russians and at times members of the Syrian opposition coalition.
So, can you foresee a political solution at this point?
SALEH HAWA: No. I’m so sorry to say no. I see that the horizon is quite blocked in front of us, because America is not doing anything, or maybe — or maybe America won’t do anything. It’s just that America hasn’t have the will to finish our agony, finish our pains, to finish or sufferings.
We were let down. America let us down. And the situation now is that Russia has got military bases inside Syria. Their warplanes are flying in the sky every time they like.
MARGARET WARNER: Videos of the Syrian people’s suffering have spread worldwide, but Hawa has no faith that the world will respond. Speaking to us now, thousands of miles away, he recalled the expectations he had when we met four years ago.
SALEH HAWA: I hoped, at that time, that America would, in a way, help us to put an end to that dictator who is now in Damascus. I had a hope that there are countries who would help us rebuild our country and help those innocent people.
Now we don’t trust anybody. We don’t trust any country. We have had many promises that they will not allow Bashar al-Assad to destroy our cities. But, right now, you see that the situation is deteriorating even worse than before. And it’s becoming worse. It’s becoming worse and worse day by day.
MARGARET WARNER: And with each day, new casualties and faded hopes of a lasting peace.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Margaret Warner in Washington.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: We return now to the escalating fight over a major oil pipeline in North Dakota.
This weekend, more than 120 protesters were arrested, part of a months-long campaign being waged by numerous Native American tribes and nations against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
For the latest, I’m joined by our William Brangham, who reported from North Dakota last month and has been following the story closely.
William, bring us up to date, but, first, remind us, what is this fight all about? What are the arguments on each side?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The fight, as you mentioned, is about this pipeline. It’s the Dakota Access pipeline.
It’s a 1,200-mile pipeline to bring oil from North Dakota, the Bakken oil fields, down to Illinois. And the point of contention here is right at the border of the North Dakota-South Dakota state line.
And that’s where the Standing Rock Tribe has a reservation. And their primary source of drinking water is the Missouri River. This pipeline is going to go right under the river just north of their reservation.
And they say two things. One, if that pipeline leaks, it’s going to contaminate their only source of drinking water. And, two, the construction process will desecrate burial grounds and ancestral sites just north of their reservation.
So that’s their argument. They don’t want the pipeline there because of that reason.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The company that is building this, Energy Transfer Partners, argues they have done all the legal permits and applications and they have done all the bits that they’re supposed to do.
They also argue that this pipeline is a far safer way of transporting oil than trains or trucks, which are much more prone to crash. And there is data that backs that assertion up. They also argue that we live in a carbon-based society. We drove to work today. People are going to drive to work tomorrow.
And until we figure a different way of moving oil or find a different way to power our houses and cars, we have to deal with this material and they argue the pipeline is the way to go.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, where does the actual construction stand right now of the pipeline?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The energy company says that the pipeline is about 60 percent built. So you can imagine the pipeline is moving in from the north and the south.
And it’s — the real holdup at this point right near the Standing Rock reservation. And that’s where most of the protests and arrests that we have seen have been happening, where members of different Native tribes, primarily Standing Rock, go out to these places where the construction is still going on and they chain themselves to the trucks.
The police come arrest them. And that’s where the conflict has been happening. But the pipeline is largely done. And that’s where really the fight is going on right now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we know there is still a couple of restrictions that have to be lifted before they can go ahead and finish with the construction, but once that happens, what do people expect will take place?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Well, that’s really — that’s a very dodgy question.
People don’t exactly know what’s going to happen. If the Army Corps agrees to this last permit and says to the company, go ahead and finish, drill into the river, the question is, what will all these protesters do? We saw thousands of people out there.
It’s not clear if they will voluntarily get up and leave. It’s not clear if there will be a fight. Who is going to evict them? The jails out there are already so full, they have to bus people they arrest outside of the state.
Will the National Guard be involved? Will this very militarized police force step in? Nobody really knows.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, William, you and I were talking earlier. You were saying how unusual it is that you have, what, over 100 different Native American tribes that have come together to make up this protest. Why over this particular issue?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That’s really the most fascinating part of all this, because there have been plenty of instances in the past where you could have seen tribes coalesce around an issue.
I think social media had a lot to do with this. They have been — the tribe, the Standing Rock, has been very, very good at getting their message out. Every time there’s an arrest, every time there’s a protest, every time there’s something they want to promote, it’s on Facebook, it’s on Twitter, it’s on social media.
So that’s brought people together. I think, also, that this wasn’t a fait accompli. It wasn’t a done deal. And so when they put out the call and said, come help us, people felt like they could stand in the way of this. And for whatever reason, people from all over the country, really all over the world, came together and said, enough is enough.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And I know you are going to continue to watch it. It’s very much an active scene right now. The protest goes on.
William Brangham, thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, as we have heard, reliably red Arizona is one of the latest states that is feeling the effects of a Democratic push.
Just last week, Michelle Obama visited Phoenix, and polls show the presidential race tightening. Hoping to boost voter turnout, a group called Arizona One is making sure Latinos who are eligible actually register and vote.
By the recent state deadline, One Arizona helped register 150,000 Latino voters.
The story comes from University of California, Berkeley, journalism students.
It’s produced by Angelica Casas and Jennifer Cain, who narrates.
JENNIFER CAIN: Abril Gallardo is working overtime.
ABRIL GALLARDO, Program Coordinator, Living United For Change: We can start off and do some role play.
My name is Abril. Nice to meet you.
JENNIFER CAIN: The college student is a part of a coalition called One Arizona. The group’s effort, to register new Latino voters, could alter the political makeup of the state.
ABRIL GALLARDO: We are going to get you registered to vote. Are you a U.S. citizen?
JENNIFER CAIN: Roughly, 400,000 Latinos are eligible to vote, but are unregistered. One Arizona registered 150,000 Latino voters this year. Latinos tend to vote Democrat. Their efforts could swing the state blue for the first time in decades.
ABRIL GALLARDO: You’re not old enough? Will you be 18 before November?
I want to make a change in my community. I want to impact my community.
JENNIFER CAIN: Some of the canvassers can’t vote themselves, like Abril. For over a decade, she was undocumented. Now she calls herself DACAmented. DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It provides temporary legal status to individuals who arrived in the U.S. before 2007 and were under the age of 16.
ABRIL GALLARDO: I have my own voice, and, as undocumented and not being able to vote, my power, my political power is as strong as if I could vote.
JENNIFER CAIN: In 2010, Arizona passed state Bill 1070. The law required immigrants over the age of 14 to carry documentation of legal status at all times. Many families felt targeted by the law and formed One Arizona.
ALEJANDRA GOMEZ, Executive Director, Arizona Center for Empowerment: So we would have the vigil on this side, and then, on this side, we would have all of the voter registration tables.
JENNIFER CAIN: At the time SB-1070 passed, Alejandra Gomez was in college and her father was undocumented.
ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: We have been going out to every single supermarket, mall. We have been going out to gas stations. It’s this whole group of young people that care about what happens to their parents, that care about their future, that care about their education.
JENNIFER CAIN: Many of the group’s canvassers come from predominantly Latino neighborhoods in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, where One Arizona focuses its efforts.
JOSE OSORIA, Canvasser, One Arizona: There’s many people out there that can’t vote, but they wish they could vote, because they know how much this affects them.
JENNIFER CAIN: Jose Osoria, an 18-year-old canvasser, is one of those people who wish they could vote. Born in Sonora, he immigrated 10 years ago. Now he works full time on voter education and voter protection.
JOSE OSORIA: A lot of people don’t know where to go to get registered. The majority would be Hispanic families that are citizens and are able to vote, but don’t know the whole thing. So I take my time.
MAN (through translator): We need the whole community, right?
JOSE OSORIA (through translator): That’s true.
MAN (through translator): This is the first time I will be voting. I just became a citizen.
JOSE OSORIA (through translator): Thank you.
I’m going out there and teaching people like me.
JENNIFER CAIN: While efforts to register Latinos have helped increase their rolls to more than 600,000, not all will go to the polls.
ALEJANDRA GOMEZ: The undocumented community that can’t vote are the ones that have been leading these efforts and saying that, even though I can’t vote, you can be my voice and you can be my vote.
JOSE OSORIA: When I register someone, I’m always doing it with a smile, because they’re contagious.
MAN: Voting? I not receive my registration.
JENNIFER CAIN: As Election Day approaches, One Arizona will knock on the doors of 105,000 homes, urging people to get to the polls and vote early.
JOSE OSORIA: Then you should re-register, because you weren’t registered. So, sign here and date it. Today is the 23rd.
JENNIFER CAIN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jennifer Cain reporting in Phoenix, Arizona.
JOSE OSORIA: Thank you so much.
MAN: Have a good day.
Editor’s Note: One Arizona was misidentified as Arizona One in the introduction.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: With just over two weeks until Election Day, we turn now to our Politics Monday duo, Tamara Keith of NPR and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report. She joins us from Dallas.
Fifteen days, but who’s counting?
TAMARA KEITH, NPR: We are.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We certainly are.
So, Donald Trump today, Amy, is out there saying all the polls, which mainly show Hillary Clinton ahead, are phony. He’s talking about phony media, don’t pay any attention to it.
What are we to believe? Is it possible that most of these polls are wrong?
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Well, Judy, you can believe a lot of things. You can also believe maybe that a meteor is going to come crashing to Earth in the next 15 days.
But it’s hard to believe of the 31 polls that we have seen over the last month, all but three of them have shown Hillary Clinton leading, are all wrong. In fact, the big major polling operations out there, CNN, ABC News, FOX, all have Clinton ahead anywhere between five and 11 points.
And so I believe that the polls have a margin of error? Absolutely, but the reality is, is that all the polls, whether they are national polls, whether they are state polls, are showing an unmistakable pattern, and that is a movement to Hillary Clinton. And it’s increased enthusiasm from Democrats.
Interestingly, we talked about this last week, Judy, but the attention that Donald Trump has been giving on the trail about vote rigging and about the media and about dishonesty may actually be depressing his own voters. Democrats, at least in the most recent polls, were seeming much more enthusiastic about supporting Hillary Clinton, much more enthusiastic about coming out to vote.
And, remember, early voting has started in a lot of these states. So many of these states, more than half of their votes come through early voting.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Tam, you’re talking to people in the campaigns all the time.
TAMARA KEITH: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there any undercurrent of suspicion out there that maybe there is something wrong with the polls this year?
TAMARA KEITH: Well, there is suspicion coming from the Trump campaign, but there is not suspicion coming from the Clinton campaign.
Their internal polls, from what they have told us from time to time, have matched the public polls or showed them actually in a better position than the public polls. And they do their polling differently, their internal polling differently. They match it up with voters files, and they feel very confident about where they stand.
Trump has actually today pointed to an e-mail released by WikiLeaks, a John Podesta e-mail, saying that they’re oversampling certain voters. That was an e-mail from 2008. Donald Trump wasn’t running for president in 2008.
You know, this is a case of a candidate who has built his campaign on winning, and now he’s trying to deal with evidence on the ground that indicates that, at this moment and probably going forward, winning is not something that is apparent in any of the public polls really.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Amy, you have been looking at polls for a number of elections. You have been doing this for a while. So, how far ahead is Hillary Clinton? What can she count on at this point, or if anything?
AMY WALTER: Well, Judy, thanks for that. Yes, I’m very old.
AMY WALTER: I have been doing this for a long time.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Not around as long as some of us. Let’s put it that way.
AMY WALTER: If you look at — what I like to do is to look at an average of polls, rather than taking one poll and spending too much time on that.
So, a number of these Web sites now aggregate polls. They put their own trend lines together. And what they’re showing is Hillary Clinton up anywhere between five and six points nationally. That’s going to translate differently in different states.
But just to give you an idea of what five or six points looks like at the Electoral College level, remember, Barack Obama won by about four points in 2012, easily carried the Electoral College. He won by more than 10 million votes in 2008, by about six, seven points. He had 323 electoral votes — I’m sorry — 365 electoral votes in 2008.
So a six-point national average translates to a pretty big electoral margin, maybe not as big as Barack Obama’s in 2008. The one challenge that Hillary Clinton has is, she’s still struggling in a place — in two places that Obama carried, Iowa and Ohio. But she’s obviously doing better in Arizona and Georgia.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Tam, what we do see is that the Clinton camp, Hillary Clinton, is expanding the focus.
Yes, they’re campaigning for her, but she’s talking about these Senate candidates. We heard that in Lisa’s piece a few minutes ago. How comfortable do they feel spending time and resources on that?
TAMARA KEITH: Clearly — and also the super PAC that is allied with Hillary Clinton is also shifting its resources, shifting some of its focus to the Senate.
So, the Clinton campaign at this point is very confident that they can get to 270 electoral votes. And they are now running a campaign that is very much also about — conveniently, many of the competitive Senate races also happen to be in the swing states. But they are running a campaign that is about trying to make sure that she has a Democratic Senate to work with for things like Supreme Court nominees and other nominees.
And, initially, her campaign focus, they treated Donald Trump as an outlier. They said, you know, he’s not a Republican. They were trying to win over moderate Republicans. Now they’re saying, all of these Republican Senate candidates, they stuck by him, they enabled him, they didn’t disavow him enough. And they’re trying to sort of hang Donald Trump on them, even though — even though — yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we know what you mean.
TAMARA KEITH: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We know what you mean.
But, Tam, there’s one other thing I do want to ask you about.
TAMARA KEITH: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You have been reporting lately on this growing sense out there on the campaign trail or commentary that is — and the treatment of women, attitudes toward women. And you wrote about it just the other day.
TAMARA KEITH: Yes.
So, basically, that story says it was inevitable that sexism would have a presence in a campaign with a woman running to be president of the United States, be the first female president of the United States. It was inevitable with Hillary Clinton that — especially — that there’s been negativity about her coming from the Republican side for as long as she’s been in the public eye.
She’s a disruptive figure. But what wasn’t inevitable is that her opponent would actively cede and fuel that sexism with things like the woman card.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
TAMARA KEITH: And I talk to Republican political operatives who say, if this were a different candidate, it probably wouldn’t have been this overt. It certainly wouldn’t have been coming from the lectern of the person that was running for president.
And they believe that that is going to contribute to what is likely the largest gender gap in history, with women overwhelmingly favoring Hillary Clinton. And that nasty woman comment became sort of a crystallizing moment for a lot of voters.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And very quickly, Amy, that’s what a lot of people are looking at, isn’t it, the gap, the gender gap.
AMY WALTER: The gender gap, and, again, one piece, of course, being Hillary Clinton, who she is, and the other, of course, Donald Trump and the comments he’s made throughout the campaign and the judgments that he’s made. And that’s going to be a big piece of this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, Amy Walter, who’s only been covering politics for a very short time, thank you.
AMY WALTER: Very short.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And Tamara Keith.
Politics Monday, thank you both.
TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: The Obama administration confirmed that health insurance premium costs will jump next year under the Affordable Care Act. A mid-level plan will rise an average of 25 percent in states served by the federal online marketplace. And 20 percent of consumers will have just one company to choose from. Sign-up starts November 1.
AT&T said today that it’s confident its deal to buy the Time Warner media empire will pass muster with Congress and federal regulators. The telecom giant announced plans on Saturday to take over the parent of HBO, CNN and the Warner Bros. Studio for more than $85 billion.
Officials in France today began clearing the makeshift migrant camp known as the Jungle. The operation in Calais means moving some 6,500 people, many of them trying to reach Britain.
Martin Geissler of Independent Television News reports.
MAN: It’s OK. You can go. It’s OK.
MARTIN GEISSLER: With a friendly word and a hand on the shoulder, they were ushered towards their buses, the authorities doing what they could to reassure these people everything’s going to be alright.
PASCAL BRICE, French Office for the Protection of Refugees: We have been talking with them many times, convincing them to stay in France, seek residence in France, so they’re rather happy that we can do that today.
MARTIN GEISSLER: The exodus was mostly orderly and impressive in its scale. At times, the authorities seemed almost overwhelmed. These people queued in their hundreds to be processed, then dispatched to centers right across France.
There were maps to explain where they were going, but no promises as to what the future might hold. This group of Afghan men told me they will stay in Northern France and keep trying to cross the channel. I asked Bakhram why he came here. He lifted his jacket and showed me an appalling abdominal wound. A Taliban bomb did this, he said. Whatever the future holds, it can’t be as bad as his past.
MAN: Again, I will come back.
MARTIN GEISSLER: You’re going to still come back here?
MAN: Yes, I still come back.
MARTIN GEISSLER: There was some disorder here last night. The authorities are preparing for more in the hours ahead. The people of Calais want Britain’s help to ensure this kind of crisis doesn’t arise again.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Work on demolishing the camp is to begin later this week.
In Iraq, government forces pushed into two more villages today as their offensive to retake the city of Mosul entered its second week. Special forces blasted away at Islamic State fighters, driving them out of their positions. Elsewhere, Iraqi federal police handed out water and other aid to civilians.
And, in Syria, government troops have captured a key hilltop in the city of Aleppo. Heavy fighting resumed there after a cease-fire expired over the weekend. Few rebels or civilians left the city during the lull.
There’s word that greenhouse gases passed a grim milestone in 2015. The U.N.’s weather organization says carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 400 parts per million last year for the first time on record. The agency says that’s 44 percent more CO2 than before the Industrial Revolution.
PETTERI TAALAS, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization: Its lifetime is very long. And there have been some scientific studies estimating that the return back to preindustrial levels may take tens of thousands of years.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.N. report mainly blames the burning of fossil fuels. But a powerful El Nino weather pattern contributed as well.
Wall Street got the week off to a good start. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 77 points to close at 18223. The Nasdaq rose 52, and the S&P 500 added 10.
And two deaths of note tonight.
First, Tom Hayden passed away Sunday after suffering a stroke last year. He was a leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement who became a major name in California politics.
Tom Hayden’s political activism began in 1960 at the University of Michigan. He helped form Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS, a leader of radical opposition to the Vietnam War. In 1968, Hayden organized anti-war protests outside Chicago’s tumultuous Democratic National Convention.
For that, he was convicted of inciting riots as one of the so-called Chicago 7, but the verdicts were later overturned. Hayden stayed at the forefront of the anti-war movement, and, with actress Jane Fonda, traveled to North Vietnam in 1972.
TOM HAYDEN, Anti-War Activist: They insisted that there was no peace with honor possible through the bombing of their capital, that it wasn’t possible for them to be bombed into any compromise of their fundamental position regarding what they define as their national rights.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Hayden and Fonda were married 17 years, before divorcing in 1990. Along the way, he entered California politics and served as a state lawmaker for nearly two decades. He also ran unsuccessfully for governor of California and then mayor of Los Angeles.
In later years, Hayden was a vocal opponent of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tom Hayden died Sunday in Santa Monica, California. He was 76 years old.
And Bobby Vee passed away today in Minneapolis of advanced Alzheimer’s. The pop singer gained notice at the age of 15, filling in at a 1959 concert after Buddy Holly died in a plane crash. Vee went on to record 38 top 100 hits in all, including “Take Good Care of My Baby” and “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes.” Bobby Vee was 73 years old.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The finish line draws closer, and one presidential hopeful is trying to catch up, while the other is working to bring friends along with her.
Lisa Desjardins reports on the events of this campaign day.
LISA DESJARDINS: Donald Trump right now is focused on one word, Florida, Florida, Florida.
QUESTION: How are you feeling about Florida, Mr. Trump?
DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: Very good. Feel very good.
LISA DESJARDINS: He’s in the middle of a three-day, five-rally swing through the critical Sunshine State, where early in-person voting started today. He maintained that his outlook is bright and that polls showing him falling behind are flawed.
DONALD TRUMP: They are phony polls put out by phony media. And I will tell you what. All of us are affected by this stuff. And what they do is they try and suppress the vote. This way, people don’t go out and vote.
LISA DESJARDINS: It’s a different story for Hillary Clinton. With increasingly strong polling numbers, she’s pushing to win Democratic control of Congress. Today, it was a New Hampshire rally push for Senate candidate Maggie Hassan.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: That’s why we need leaders like Maggie. And unlike her opponent, she has never been afraid to stand up to Donald Trump.
LISA DESJARDINS: Over the this weekend, Clinton was aiming at races in Pennsylvania.
HILLARY CLINTON: I hope you will do everything you can to elect Katie McGinty your next senator.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LISA DESJARDINS: And in North Carolina.
HILLARY CLINTON: I am also hoping you’re going to send Deborah Ross to the United States Senate.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
LISA DESJARDINS: And it’s not just Clinton. Running mate Tim Kaine joined in from Florida today, targeting incumbent Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), Vice Presidential Nominee: Let me just quote Marco Rubio. He called Donald Trump dangerous, and he called Donald Trump a con artist, but he’s supporting Donald Trump. I don’t get it, how you could call somebody a dangerous con artist and support him.
LISA DESJARDINS: Meanwhile, a new story is out related to the FBI’s Clinton e-mail investigation. It’s a Wall Street Journal report centering on Andrew McCabe, who became deputy FBI director this year, and as a result gained an oversight role in the e-mail probe.
The story says his wife, Jill, ran for Virginia state Senate last year and received campaign funding thanks to Clinton ally and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. She lost her race. Months later, her husband became involved with the Clinton investigation. The Journal reports that the FBI didn’t see a conflict because McCabe’s wife’s campaign was over and there was no direct connection to Clinton.
Still, it opened the door to attacks from team Trump, which said in a statement today that the whole situation — quote — “shows either negligent behavior by the FBI or a level of corruption.”
Two weeks to go, and it is both a race to get votes and to block votes from the other side.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.
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TAMPA, Florida — With the race for the White House speeding to an end, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are campaigning Tuesday in swing state Florida, where tens of thousands of voters are already flocking to the polls.
Trump, on the final day of a three-day Florida swing, has been denouncing the “disgusting” media that promotes “phony polls” showing him trailing Clinton in this and other battleground states.
“The media isn’t just against me. They’re against all of you,” Trump told cheering supporters Monday in St. Augustine. He added, “I believe we’re actually winning.”
Trump, who must win Florida to have any chance at the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, is scheduled to attend three Florida campaign events. Clinton, who can win the presidency with or without Florida, is making just one appearance, in the southern part of the state.
Her confidence surging, Clinton is also eyeing a new Democratic majority in the Senate. Her campaign has been attacking Republican Senate candidates in Florida and New Hampshire.
On Monday, the Democratic nominee campaigned alongside New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is locked in a tight Senate race against Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte. They got an assist from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was merciless as she seized on recent revelations of Trump’s predatory sexual language and several allegations of sexual assault.
“He thinks that because he has a mouth full of Tic Tacs, he can force himself on any woman within groping distance,” Warren charged. “I’ve got news for you Donald: Women have had it with guys like you.”
Trump, in an interview with WGIR radio in New Hampshire, called the accusations “total fiction.” He lashed out at his latest accuser, former adult film performer Jessica Drake, who said Saturday that he had grabbed and kissed her without permission and offered her money to visit his hotel room a decade ago.
“One said, ‘He grabbed me on the arm.’ And she’s a porn star,” Trump said. He added, “Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before.”
As the war of words plays out, hundreds of thousands of Floridians are voting. Tuesday marks the second day of early in-person voting. Early voting by mail began two weeks ago.
Nearly 300,000 Florida voters showed up for the first day of in-person early voting on Monday, new totals from state election officials showed. Altogether, more than 1.6 million Floridians have voted so far.
Traditionally, Republicans have run up a large advantage in mail-in-ballots, while Democrats rely on early voting to boost their turnout numbers. But this year the Democrats and Republicans are running early even. So far, slightly more than 665,000 Republican voters have cast ballots in the state, compared to slightly more than 658,000 Democrats. Another 300,000 voters with no party affiliation have also voted.
At the same time, a new national poll shows young voters turning to Clinton now that the race has settled down to two main candidates. Clinton now leads among likely voters 18 to 30 years in age by 60 percent to 19 percent, according to a new GenForward survey.
Young black voters already were solidly in her corner, and now young whites are moving her way, according to the survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
With Election Day two weeks away, Trump’s electoral map looks bleak.
Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway outlined a path to 270 electoral votes over the weekend that banks on victories in Florida, Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina along with New Hampshire and Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Assuming Trump wins all of those — and he currently trails in many — he would earn the exact number of electoral votes needed to win the presidency and no more.
Meanwhile, Trump and his party got fresh political ammunition with news that premiums will go up sharply next year under President Barack Obama’s health care law, and many consumers will be down to just one insurer. Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.
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