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

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    President-elect Donald Trump greets supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    President-elect Donald Trump greets supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    As many people in the country breathlessly checked the latest polling numbers ahead of Tuesday’s election, Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, had already predicted the outcome with an entirely different system.

    Lichtman uses a series of 13 “keys,” which are true/false statements that he says can help predict whether the incumbent party will remain in the White House. For each of these statements, a “true” statement favors the incumbent party, but enough “false” statements portend their defeat in a presidential election. This model, he told the Washington Post in September, predicted that Trump would win the presidency.

    His model has accurately predicted the winner of every popular vote since 1984. This time, he predicted Trump would win the popular vote and the election — and although the popular vote is now projected to go to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the Electoral College was in Trump’s favor, winning him the presidency.

    Lichtman outlines the historical basis for the keys in his book, “Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016.”

    Here are the keys:

    1. Party Mandate: After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than after the previous midterm elections.

    2. Contest: There is no serious contest for the incumbent party nomination.

    3. Incumbency: The incumbent party candidate is the sitting president.

    4. Third party: There is no significant third party or independent campaign.

    5. Short-term economy: The economy is not in recession during the election campaign.

    6. Long-term economy: Real per capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth during the previous two terms.

    7. Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy.

    8. Social unrest: There is no sustained social unrest during the term.

    9. Scandal: The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal.

    10. Foreign/military failure: The incumbent administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs.

    11. Foreign/military success: The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs.

    12. Incumbent charisma: The incumbent party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.

    13. Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero.

    The post These 13 sentences led a professor to predict Trump’s win appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars speak as they wait for U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to speak at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane - RTSJQG5

    Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars speak as they wait for U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to speak at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. July 26, 2016. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    Donald Trump will take office in January with strong support among veterans, and he’s made reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs a key part of his platform. When it comes to one of the biggest health issues facing vets — that of mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder — there’s a lot more to be done.

    Trump hasn’t spoken about the subject much. Last month he told a gathering of veterans that his team would be “addressing … very strongly” the issue of suicides among veterans, and that “the whole mental health issue is going to be a very important issue when I take over.” As part of his plans to reform the VA, Trump’s platform would increase the number of mental health care professionals in the agency.

    Nonprofits that serve vets hope that as he transitions into office those commitments maintain their urgency. Here are four things Trump’s administration could do to shore up veterans’ mental health:

    1. Improve civilian awareness

    “We teach people to do CPR or the Heimlich maneuver, but so many don’t know what to do when someone is having a panic attack or thoughts of suicide,” Rebecca Farley, vice president for policy and advocacy at the National Council for Behavioral Health.

    Farley pointed to Mental Health First Aid, an eight-hour training course currently offered to teachers and people who work with youth. “It teaches people about the signs and symptoms of a mental health crisis,” she said. Funding for this training has been part of the federal budget for three years, and could be expanded to train people who work with veterans.

    READ NEXT: What veterans are expecting from President Trump

    2. Look beyond post-traumatic stress

    While post-traumatic stress is common among those who have served in the military, veterans face a number of different mental health challenges which can take a variety of forms.

    For one thing, greater use of blast-generating explosive devices in combat has led to more traumatic brain injury among soldiers. These injuries can cause symptoms ranging from nausea to loss of balance to amnesia and slurred speech.

    Veterans also experience depression, anxiety, and suicide, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) points out, and these require tailored treatment.

    “They also have a moral injury,” added Eva Usadi, a New York trauma therapist and executive director of Trauma and Resiliency Resources, a program for veterans. “Some of the things they’ve done in war have left them feeling so ugly inside, some even describe it as ‘soul loss.’”

    [Watch Video]

    3. Make more use of technology

    Researchers and clinicians are already testing new ways to help veterans that go beyond the weekly visit to a therapist’s couch, said Christopher Miller, a VA clinical psychologist based in Boston. In September, he published a survey on veterans’ interest in using technology for health care services — such as getting therapy via Skype, or receiving medication reminders via text message.

    “Our research suggests that they have an interest in a variety of tasks,” he said. “But the interest differs by the device. So in order to appeal to as many veterans as possible, we’d have to pay attention to a variety of platforms.”

    Technology in the clinic itself is another area in need of change. “Full electronic records would keep people from being dropped when transitioning from active duty to civilian,” said Emily Blair, the lead on veterans’ issues for NAMI.

    When military members leave active duty, their medical records remain under control of the Department of Defense, while the Veterans Health Administration starts a new set of records if he or she seeks care.

    “The DOD and VHA are operating on different levels of technology,” Blair said. “It’s a process they’ve been trying to fix for 20 years.”

    4. Bolster mental health care outside the VA system

    President-elect Trump has pledged that his administration will “allow veterans to be able to seek mental health care outside of the VA.” The current Veterans Choice program already does this for veterans who live a certain distance from the VA or have been on a wait list for more than 30 days.

    But it could serve veterans better, said Blair.

    “A lot of individuals have problems with Choice because the clinicians don’t have the cultural competence,” she said — meaning that psychologists not within the VA system may have less familiarity with the military’s unique culture and challenges. That could in part be overcome, Blair said, by training more non-military clinicians in military culture.

    Additionally, Blair suggested, measures could be taken to bolster mental health support from peers, not just professionals. Peer support groups across the country could use funding to expand.

    “When veterans talk to other veterans, they stick with it and do better because they are relating to someone who has had some of the same experiences,” she said.

    This article is reproduced with permission from STAT. It was first published on Nov. 11, 2016. Find the original story here.

    The post Four things Trump can do to improve mental health care for veterans appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX2SPX3

    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump elicited wild cheers on the campaign trail by pledging to “drain the swamp” in Washington, but the president-elect’s transition team is populated largely with creatures of the capital, including former federal bureaucrats, think-tank academics, corporate lawyers and special-interest lobbyists.

    An internal organizational chart for the Trump transition team lists more than 30 names, some well-known within the GOP establishment. They are tasked with helping to select and vet Trump’s Cabinet, as well as map out the key policy initiatives the new administration will pursue.

    Their areas of experience and policy expertise on the chart hint at future efforts to restrict abortion, strip away consumer protections, boost defense spending and dismantle environmental regulations. Key members of Trump’s team are also advocates for sweeping privatization of government programs, including Social Security.

    “Personnel is policy,” said Republican operative Ron Kaufman, who also served in George W. Bush’s White House.

    The team will not necessarily carry over into the Trump administration — though members of past transition teams often have. Instead, they are in charge of putting together hiring recommendations, working with outgoing appointees and laying the groundwork for administration’s opening months.

    “For people who voted for him thinking that he’d shake things up, I don’t think they thought he was going to privatize everything,” said Dean Baker, a progressive economist and founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “He runs this populist, anti-Wall Street campaign, and he turns to Wall Street and lobbying guys.”

    The behind-the-scenes transition operation is being run by Ron Nichol, a senior partner at The Boston Group, a management consulting firm where 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney launched his business career. A former nuclear submarine officer, Nichol oversees five teams targeted at “Agency Transformation and Innovation.”

    Overseeing the transition for domestic issues is Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state, state treasurer and Cincinnati mayor. He is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

    Veteran agribusiness lobbyist Michael Torrey is tasked with transforming the Agriculture Department. Energy industry lobbyist Mike McKenna, who represents electricity and chemical companies, is leading the Energy Department transition team.

    For the Interior Department there is David Bernhardt, a top lawyer at the agency under President George W. Bush who represents mining companies seeking to use resources on federal lands and Indian reservations. Lobbyist Steven Hart, who focuses on tax and employee benefits, is leading the transition team for the Labor Department.

    Cindy Hayden, a former congressional staffer who is now the top lobbyist for Altria, the parent company of cigarette-maker Philip Morris, is overseeing the transition for the Homeland Security Department. Jeff Eisenach, a consultant and former lobbyist who has called for deregulation of the telecommunications industry, is overseeing the transition for the Federal Communications Commission.

    The man put in charge of staffing for the Social Security Administration, Michael Korbey, is a former lobbyist who led President George W. Bush’s effort to privatize America’s retirement system. Trump campaigned on keeping Social Security within the federal government.

    One of Trump’s campaign pledges was to spending up to $1 trillion over 10 years on infrastructure projects. But his selection to oversee the transition for the Transportation Department, Shirley Ybarra, has been a champion of “public-private partnerships” to build toll roads and bridges. A former Virginia state transportation secretary, Ybarra now works as a policy analyst with the libertarian-leaning Reason Foundation, which has received support from conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch.

    Trump has also pledged to renegotiate the Paris climate treaty signed in December, saying efforts to restrict the carbon emissions are harming American industries such as coal mining. Trump’s pick to oversee the transition for the Environmental Protection Agency is Myron Ebell from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has voiced the false view that man-made global warming is a hoax. Ebell has called for dismantling environmental protections and assigning international carbon-cutting agreements to the “dustbin of history.”

    Trump has pledged to transform a national economy he said was hobbled by bad trade deals and rigged against American workers by Wall Street and the big banks. His list of advisers indicates an interest in rolling back many of the reforms made in the wake of the 2008 recession and appears to signal an interest in deregulating the financial sector.

    David Malpass, who is overseeing the Treasury Department transition, was Bear Stearns’ chief economist in the years before the firm’s 2008 collapse. A few months before the recession began, Malpass wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Don’t Panic About the Credit Market.”

    “Housing and debt markets are not that big a part of the U.S. economy, or of job creation,” Malpass said in August 2007, predicting continued economic growth. He has complained about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the brainchild of progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

    Dan DiMicco, who is overseeing the transition of the U.S. trade representative’s office, fits in well with Trump’s avowed hard line on tariffs. The former chief executive of steel company NUCOR and a board member at Duke Energy, he’s likely to steer the U.S. toward far more aggressive trade policy. In his 2015 book, DiMicco declared that the United States is already in a trade war with China — and that it’s losing.

    Former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., is taking the lead on crafting Trump’s national security team. The former chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rogers serves on boards for consulting firms IronNet Cybersecurity and Next Century Corp.

    At the Justice Department, Kevin O’Connor, a former U.S. attorney for Connecticut, is overseeing the transition. He briefly served as chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a George W. Bush appointee who resigned from the Justice Department in 2007 amid a scandal over the firing of U.S. attorneys. He was also a partner at the law firm of close Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani.

    Jim Carafano is the Heritage Foundation’s vice president for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies and is leading the transition at the State Department. A 25-year Army veteran, Carafano has been advising Trump on terrorism and border security. In a recent radio interview, Carafano said he told Trump that the next administration must pay more attention to transnational criminal cartels, toughen border security and fight al-Qaida globally.

    Trump has tapped retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who is close to Trump military adviser Michael Flynn, to oversee the transition for the Defense Department. Kellogg was chief operating officer for Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, which governed the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

    Working with Kellogg is Mira Ricardel, a former acting assistant defense secretary during the George W. Bush administration who more recently served as vice president of business development for Boeing Strategic Missile & Defense Systems, a major military contractor.

    Associated Press writers Joan Lowy, Marcy Gordon, Eric Tucker, Matthew Daly, Deb Riechmann, Robert Burns, Julie Pace and Steve Peoples contributed to this report.

    The post Trump relies on Washington insiders to build administration appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A man counts Indian rupee banknotes after withdrawing them from an ATM in Agartala, India, November 12, 2016. Photo By Jayanta Dey/Reuters

    A man counts Indian rupee banknotes after withdrawing them from an ATM in Agartala, India, November 12, 2016. Photo By Jayanta Dey/Reuters

    Millions of Indians crowded into banks on Saturday to exchange monetary notes that were banned this week by the country’s prime minster.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly announced on Tuesday that the country would end the use of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, respectively worth about $7.50 and $15 U.S. dollars. The banned notes would be replaced with a new 2,000 rupee note, he said.

    During a televised announcement in which he declared the notes defunct starting later this year, Modi ordered the country’s banks shuttered on Wednesday before later extending bank hours through the weekend. The bills can be exchanged at banks through Dec. 30, with a 2,000 rupee limit per person that will eventually increase to a 4,000 rupee limit.

    The prime minister said the measure was installed to counteract untaxed money on the black market worth billions. The vast majority of monetary transactions among Indian citizens involves cash, often to avoid paying taxes, the Associated Press reported.

    A man displays a new 2000 Indian rupee banknote after withdrawing from a bank in Jammu, November 11, 2016. Photo By Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

    A man displays a new 2000 Indian rupee banknote after withdrawing from a bank in Jammu, November 11, 2016. Photo By Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

    But angry crowds waiting in long lines at banks for hours expressed dismay on Saturday, as people flocked to exchange those bills and banks reportedly struggled to dispense enough cash to accommodate the rush.

    “I am so angry at the lack of planning on the part of the government before taking such an enormous step,” Raju Sundaram, an office executive waiting outside a bank in the south Delhi neighborhood of Saket, told the Associated Press.

    On Friday, many of India’s more than 200,000 ATMs were closed, while others ran out of cash, Reuters reported.

    “There’s chaos everywhere,” said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, one of Modi’s rivals.

    The post India abolishes some rupee notes as millions flock to banks appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A surfer catches a wave as a "supermoon" rises at Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia on Sept. 28. The moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit, making it appear much larger and brighter than usual. Photo by David Gray/Reuters

    A surfer catches a wave as a “supermoon” rises at Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia on Sept. 28. The moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit, making it appear much larger and brighter than usual. Photo by David Gray/Reuters

    Look up early next week, and you will see the full moon at its closest in a generation.

    A so-called “supermoon” will make its nearest possible approach to Earth at 6:27 a.m. EDT on Monday. Our lunar neighbor has not swung by this close since January 1948, according to NASA.

    A “supermoon” occurs when the moon’s elliptical orbit reaches its shorter end — a spot called the perigee — while also aligning with the sun and Earth. Astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term in 1979 to describe the moon at 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth. But the scientific community calls the phenomenon “perigee syzygy.”

    Compared to a full moon at its furthest point — its apogee — the “supermoon” will appear about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter, depending on the amount of light pollution in your area.

    “This [supermoon] is more a technicality than an intense scientific interest,” MIT planetary scientist Richard Binzel said. “But anything that gets people interested to look up and notice the night sky and ponder the universe is a good thing.”

    A supermoon is seen during a lunar eclipse behind pods of the London Eye wheel on Sept. 28, 2015. Photo by Toby Melville/Reuters

    A supermoon is seen during a lunar eclipse behind pods of the London Eye wheel on Sept. 28, 2015. Photo by Toby Melville/Reuters

    Astrophysicists track the moon’s orbit with remarkable precision, using lasers that reflect off its surface to measure its position down to a centimeter accuracy. They can also predict where the moon will be during its orbit for the next 10,000 years.

    On average, the moon is approximately 240,000 miles away from the earth. At its furthest full moon in the last 300 years, the moon was 252,688 miles away. At its closest in the same time frame, it was 221,441 miles from the Earth, NASA stated.

    Even though the upcoming supermoon will be physically closest at 6:27 a.m. EDT, it will appear biggest to the human eye when it is low on the horizon, after sunrise and after sunset. At those times, its appearance will also be marked by a red-orange hue because of reflecting light from the sun.

    A "supermoon'' rises above Brighton in southern England September 27, 2015. Sky-watchers around the world are in for a treat Sunday night and Monday when the shadow of Earth casts a reddish glow on the moon, the result of rare combination of an eclipse with the closest full moon of the year. The total "supermoon" lunar eclipse, also known as a "blood moon" is one that appears bigger and brighter than usual as it reaches the point in its orbit that is closest to Earth. Photo by Toby Melville/REUTERS

    A “supermoon” rises above Brighton in southern England September 27, 2015. Sky-watchers around the world are in for a treat Sunday night and Monday when the shadow of Earth casts a reddish glow on the moon, the result of rare combination of an eclipse with the closest full moon of the year. The total “supermoon” lunar eclipse, also known as a “blood moon” is one that appears bigger and brighter than usual as it reaches the point in its orbit that is closest to Earth. Photo by Toby Melville/REUTERS

    Jupiter’s supersized gravity also influences our moon’s course through space, and this weekend’s mega display. That’s why Ohio State University astrophysicist Paul Sutter is particularly excited.

    “There’s almost a dance happening,” he said about the interplanetary movements.

    The moon will not be this close to Earth again until 2034.

    The post An epic supermoon is on the horizon appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    junk_science2-1

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    ALISON STEWART: This past April, we brought you the story of Sonia Cacy, a 68-year old Texas woman who in 1993 was convicted of the murder by arson of her uncle, Bill Richardson, and who has been in legal limbo for the past 17 years.

    Cacy maintained her innocence through her trial and conviction, even after the case’s toxicologist produced evidence that her uncle had traces of gasoline on his clothes.

    ALISON STEWART: Did you have anything to do with the fire that occurred on November 10, 1991?

    SONIA CACY: No. I did not. I did not ever, anything. No.

    ALISON STEWART: Later evidence found the toxicologist’s report was faulty and that the fire was started accidentally. Cacy was released from prison on parole, but was never exonerated and had to report to a parole officer once a month for 17 years.

    SONIA CACY: It’s a big burden because you can’t even get a place to live. Everybody does your background. Where you’re living, where you’re gonna work.

    ALISON STEWART: The Innocence Project of Texas filed a motion to reopen Cacy’s case under the “Junk Science Law”, a new law in Texas that makes it possible to appeal a case if there is scientific evidence that was not available at the time of the conviction or there is new evidence that contradicts what was used to convict.

    GARY UDASHEN: Sonia is a real, live example of somebody whose life was really destroyed based upon bad scientific testimony in court.

    Last Wednesday, Texas’s Court of Criminal Appeals found Cacy not guilty of the death of her uncle, fulfilling her dearest wish for her and her family.

    SONIA CACY: My hopes for the future are to get everything like this over with and to be exonerated before I die, and it would be really nice for my children.

    The post ‘Junk science’ law exonerates woman of murder appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    People who are fleeing the fighting between Islamic State and Iraqi army in Mosul are pictured in Samah district, eastern Mosul, Iraq November 12, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra - RTX2TC10

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    ALISON STEWART, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Iraq’s government says its security forces, with U.S. support, reclaimed two more districts in Mosul today from ISIS militants.  This footage released today by the Iraqi defense ministry shows helicopter attacks on ISIS positions to dislodge militants who have occupied Iraq’s second largest city for two years.  The defense ministry says it has destroyed more than 40 ISIS hideouts and killed about 900 militants in the past month.

    As thousands of Mosul residents try to flee the city, the United Nations reports ISIS is carrying out mass executions of civilians.

    Joining me now to talk about this is Alex Milutinovic, who is directing relief efforts in Iraq for the International Rescue Committee.  He is in the Iraqi city of Erbil, about 50 miles east of Mosul.

    And, Alex, we understand from the World Health Organization, as many as 48,000 people have fled Mosul.  Where are they going?

    ALEKSANDAR MILUTINOVIC, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: At the moment, we have over 50,000 people that have fled the surrounding of Mosul City.  Most of the people, two-thirds of them, are leaving towards the camps and the remaining one third of people are living with host community.

    ALISON STEWART:  Is the Islamic State allowing people to leave?  Because there have been reports that the idea is to use civilians — their idea is to use civilians as human shields.

    ALEKSANDAR MILUTINOVIC: Unfortunately, the civilians are not allowed to leave the Mosul City.  They are being used as a human shield and our concern goes to the people of Mosul City who are now trapped in a very difficult situation.  They are basically trapped between the — you know, in the fighting zone and they have a hard time fleeing and finding safety.

    ALISON STEWART: And how are the conditions for the people who are still in Mosul, the citizens, in terms of food, water, medical care?

    ALEKSANDAR MILUTINOVIC: Basically, Mosul City has been under ISIS control for the past two years.  And during these two years, people have spent all of their savings.  So, the situation is getting dire.  The medicines are almost not available.  The food is available, but the cost is rising, and we are seeing more and more people that come out that are malnourished.

    So, it’s a pretty difficult situation and we are hoping that very soon, we will be able to provide assistance to everyone who flees the city.

    ALISON STEWART: The U.N. report that came out recently describing the situation in Mosul described the possibility of chemical weapons being used?  What can you tell me about that?

    ALEKSANDAR MILUTINOVIC: Well, basically, we have seen reports before of the chemical weapons being used.  It is our biggest fear.  Civilians are basically — have to be protected by all party to this conflict and we need to ensure civilian safety is the number one priority of all warring side.

    We are afraid.  We are concerned.  We have seen civilian casualties and we want to make sure that this doesn’t repeat again.

    ALISON STEWART: The fight over Mosul is about a month old at this point.  The U.N. report and the “New York Times” cited reports of people being executed, civilians, and being labeled as “traitors” and being killed as a betrayal.  Why the focus on this betrayal?  And why the public execution of citizens in Mosul?

    ALEKSANDAR MILUTINOVIC: ISIS has a brutal rule.  For the past two years, they have been ruling with an iron fist in the Mosul area, and all areas under their control.  We have seen a number of cases and heard about a number of cases of civilians being executed for as little as having mobile phone.

    There is huge fear among ISIS right now, that most of the people who are in the city or some people in the city are actually cooperating with the security forces.  So, they’re using this opportunity to send a message to all the people who are trying to either organize a coup or try to provide information to the security forces that they will be killed.

    So, our concern, again, goes for the civilian population of Mosul.  They’re trapped right now, and the fighting is coming close.  So, they’re seeing a lot more — they’re hearing a lot more explosions.  There are a lot more activities on the outskirts of the Mosul City and the population of the city is terrified.  They have been living two years under their rule and they would need a lot of assistance, especially with mental health, once they are able to reach safety.

    ALISON STEWART: Alex Milutinovic of the International Rescue Committee — thank you so much for your work and for being with us.

    The post ISIS executes civilians as Iraqi forces gain ground in Mosul appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    U.S. secret service agents stand guard outside Republican president-elect Donald Trump's Trump Tower in New York, U.S. November 12, 2016.   REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - RTX2TD9B

    U.S. secret service agents stand guard outside Republican president-elect Donald Trump’s Trump Tower in New York, U.S. November 12, 2016. Photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    NEW YORK — President-elect Donald Trump is embarking on the massive undertaking of creating a new administration as a circus-like atmosphere unfolds around his building in Manhattan.

    While he’s announced one decision — putting Vice President-elect Mike Pence in charge of the transition instead of Chris Christie — Trump must identify other people for top White House jobs and Cabinet posts. He was apparently trying to sort through names as he holed himself up in Trump Tower and protesters swarmed outside behind barricades protecting the building and ritzy stores along Fifth Avenue.

    At one point, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, a liberal critic of Trump who nevertheless had predicted his victory, entered the tower lobby with a camera crew in tow and asked to see Trump. “I just thought I’d see if I could get into Trump Tower and ride the famous escalator,” said Moore, who did just that until he reached the fourth floor and the Secret Service told him he could go no higher.

    Moments later, Nigel Farage, the head of the “Leave” movement that won Britain’s vote to exit the European Union, also arrived and was allowed up.

    Trump frequently links his campaign to the Brexit movement. Farage would not say if he was playing a role in Trump’s transition.

    For Trump, who ran on a pledge to “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders, the transition team is strikingly heavy on those with long political resumes.

    Another apparent contradiction emerged Friday as Trump, who repeatedly vowed to achieve the repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care law, said he would be open to maintaining portions of it.

    Christie was a loyal adviser to Trump for much of the campaign, offered a key early endorsement and came close to being the businessman’s pick for running mate. But Trump ultimately went with Pence, Indiana’s governor and a former congressman with Washington experience and deep ties to conservatives, to take the transition forward.

    Christie will still be involved in the transition, joining a cluster of other steadfast Trump supporters serving as vice chairmen: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

    In addition, three of Trump’s adult children — Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka — are on the transition executive committee, along with Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband. Kushner was an influential adviser in Trump’s campaign.

    The children’s inclusion raised questions Trump’s ability to sever ties between the administration and the sprawling family business — after the billionaire repeatedly said during the campaign that his grown children would not follow him to Washington and instead run the Trump Organization.

    Trump told The Wall Street Journal that after speaking with Obama at the White House, he was considering keeping the provision of the health law that allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until they turn 26. He said previously he may also keep the prohibition against insurers denying coverage because of patients’ existing conditions.

    Presidents-elect don’t often appoint their running mates to lead their transition team. Trump and Christie grew apart through the last stretch of the campaign.

    Among the first decisions facing the president-elect is whom to choose as chief of staff, a key post that will set the tone for Trump’s White House and be a main conduit to Capitol Hill and Cabinet agencies.

    Trump is said to be considering Steve Bannon, his campaign chairman and a conservative media executive, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for the job. Neither has significant policy experience, though Priebus is well-liked in Washington and has ties with lawmakers.

    Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, is also said to be in the mix for a senior job. Conway is a veteran Republican pollster who formed a strong rapport with the candidate after taking the helm of his campaign in the general election.

    Giuliani, who emerged as Trump’s frequent travel partner and close aide, is on the short list for several positions, including attorney general.

    Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writer Jill Colvin and researcher Monika Mathur contributed to this report.

    The post Trump holes up in tower as transition takes shape appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Anti-Trump protesters gathered at Columbus Circle, after marching from Union Square.

    Anti-Trump protesters gathered at Columbus Circle, after marching from Union Square. Photo by Rebecca Oh

    NEW YORK — In the days since the presidential election, protests against President-elect Donald Trump have continued to draw thousands of people in New York City, Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, Portland and elsewhere.

    In New York City, on Saturday afternoon, several thousand people in gathered in Union Square before marching to Trump Tower uptown, according to the New York Daily News. Organized by BlackMatters, a nonprofit news outlet which focuses on black issues in the United States, the event’s Facebook page emphasized that it would be a peaceful demonstration.

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

    Many in the crowd at Trump Tower, located at Columbus Circle in New York City, held signs whose messages included “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Refugees Are Welcome Here” and “Money is Not Speech.” There was intermittent chanting, and the crowd at one point repeated the words of one of the speakers: “This system works to divide marginalized groups. We need to organize.”

    Protesters hold up signs during a march and rally against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTX2TDH0

    Protesters hold up signs during a march and rally against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Los Angeles, California, on November 12, 2016. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Protesters in New York City and elsewhere have voiced fears that Trump’s administration will bring anti-immigration policies while indirectly encouraging racist hate crimes. Some people in the U.S. have begun to report such hate crimes; the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report that it has logged more than 200 accounts of hate crimes since Election Day, though not every incident was independently verified.

    People try to move away from a gas cloud during a protest against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Portland, Oregon, U.S. November 12, 2016. REUTERS/William Gagan FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES - RTX2TBD3

    People try to move away from a gas cloud during a protest against the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States in Portland, Oregon, on November 12, 2016. Photo by William Gagan/Reuters

    Demonstrations across the nation have remained largely peaceful. But in Portland, Oregon, a protester was shot on Friday night and taken to the hospital for non-fatal injuries, according to the Associated Press. The suspect had a confrontation with protesters on Morrison Bridge, fired multiple shots and then fled the scene, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

    Prior to the shooting, police launched flash-bang grenades and tear gas at the hundreds of Portland protesters who marched through the city, impeding traffic and vandalizing property, the AP reported. On Twitter, the Portland Police Department said that the tear gas was a response to some protesters throwing “burning projectiles” at officers.

    See below for more photos of protests around the country.

    Demonstrators stage a rally against President-elect Donald Trump in the Barrio Logan area of in San Diego, California, U.S. November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker - RTX2TAYF

    Demonstrators stage a rally against President-elect Donald Trump in the Barrio Logan area of in San Diego, California, on November 11, 2016. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Reuters

    Protesters march in Los Angeles on Nov. 11, 2016. Photo by Nevil Jackson

    Protesters march in Los Angeles on Nov. 11, 2016. Photo by Nevil Jackson

    Protesters march in Los Angeles on Nov. 12, 2016. Photo by Nevil Jackson

    Protesters march in Los Angeles on Nov. 12, 2016. Photo by Nevil Jackson

    People protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Miami, Florida, U.S. November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Javier Galeano - RTX2TAK7

    People protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Miami, Florida, U.S. November 11, 2016. Photo by Javier Galeano/Reuters

    Police officers stand guard during a protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Miami, Florida, U.S. November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Javier Galeano - RTX2TAO6

    Police officers stand guard during a protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Miami, Florida, U.S. November 11, 2016. Photo by Javier Galeano/Reuters

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    Voters look over their ballots at a fire station while a crew leaves on an emergency call during the U.S. presidential election in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 8, 2016.  REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTX2SMN2

    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    ALISON STEWART, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: In all nine presidential elections since 1984, American University history professor Allan Lichtman has correctly predicted the outcome not by using opinions polls but by using a system he helped create, 13 simple true/false statements testing whether the incumbent party will retain or lose the White House.

    Professor Lichtman joins me now via Skype from Doha, Qatar. Professor, how did you arrive at these 13 true/false statements?  And what is the rule that determines the outcome?

    ALLAN LICHTMAN, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY HISTORY PROFESSOR: I came across the keys to the White House totally by accident.  In 1981, I met the world’s leading authority in earthquake prediction, Vladimir Keilis-Borok.  And it was Keilis-Borok who suggested we collaborate using his mathematical modeling to predict American presidential elections.

    So, we studied every American election from 1860 to 1980.  This was in 1981, guided by the thesis that presidential elections are primarily judgments on the performance and strength of the party holding the White House.  And from that study, we came up with 13 simple, true/false questions, where an answer of “true” always favors the re-election of the White House party.  And we came up with a really simple decision rule: if six or more of the keys are false, that bodes defeat for the party holding the White House.

    ALISON STEWART: Well, let’s look at those first four rules, those keys, because they’re basically about political climate, as you said, something that you can, you know, objectively take a look at.  They were false for the incumbent party, for the Democratic Party.

    So, what were the other two that sent it over the edge for the Republicans?

    ALLAN LICHTMAN: Critically, the party holding the White House did not achieve major policy change in the second Obama term.  So, they didn’t have a big domestic accomplishment to run on.  In addition, they didn’t achieve a big splashy foreign policy success.

    ALISON STEWART: Your model takes into account the generic Republican candidate and the generic Democratic candidate, but we really didn’t have a generic Republican candidate this time around.  So, why do you think it works still?

    ALLAN LICHTMAN: Well, the force of history is very powerful.  This is a very robust model because it goes retrospectively back to 1860 and prospectively ahead to the present.  So, it takes into account enormous changes in our politics.

    ALISON STEWART: You’ve made a point of saying, “polls are not predictions.”  Everyone this week has been talking about how wrong the polls were.  Can you explain that statement?

    ALLAN LICHTMAN: First of all, polls are snapshots.  They give you sentiment at a particular point in time, and it does not necessarily follow that that’s going to hold at a future point in time.  In addition, the polls are entirely dependent on predicting who is going to be a likely voter, and they really don’t know very well who the likely voters are.

    ALISON STEWART: Do your keys, or your factors, your statements, take into account October surprises at all or emotions or passions?

    ALLAN LICHTMAN: I initially made my prediction for a Donald Trump victory in late September before the women coming out alleging sexual assault by Donald Trump, before the Comey letter and the Comey retraction.  And I doubled down on that prediction on October 28.  So, my predictions were not turning on these campaign events.

    ALISON STEWART: Professor Allan Lichtman, thanks so much for sharing all your information.

    ALLAN LICHTMAN: My pleasure.

    The post How to (accurately) predict a presidential election appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida U.S. November 3,  2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX2RT6V

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    ALISON STEWART, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR:  Donald Trump has signaled that high on his domestic agenda is attending to the nation’s infrastructure, which he addressed in his election night victory speech.

    DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT:  We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals.  We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none.  And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.

    ALISON STEWART: Two weeks earlier, outlining his contract with the American voter, Trump put a price tag on his plan.

    DONALD TRUMP:  The American Infrastructure Act leverages public-private partnerships and private investments through tax incentives to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over the next ten years.

    ALISON STEWART: The American Society of Civil Engineers, in its last report card, graded the country’s infrastructure a “D- plus” and estimated $3.5 trillion in spending is needed to fix it.

    When it comes to jobs, Trump has promised to create 25 million of them through infrastructure spending, tax reduction and simplification, regulatory relief, trade deal reform and lifting the restrictions on American energy development.

    Joining me now to discuss Trump’s infrastructure and jobs plans are: Laura Bliss, a writer for “CityLab”, which is part of Atlantic Media here in New York; and in Washington, Binyamin Appelbaum, a correspondent for the “New York Times.”

    Laura, the American Society for Civil Engineers gave the U.S. infrastructure a D-plus rating.  Why does it deserve a D-plus rating?  How did we get to a D-plus rating?

    LAURA BLISS, CITYLAB: Yes, it’s a great question, and I think most Americans actually have pretty firsthand experience just driving on highways and losing time and money and productivity, facing roads that have really been not adequately maintained.  And what we’re look at, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, is actually something to the tune upon a $3 trillion infrastructure spending gap.  So that’s, you know, the difference between what we are spending and what we’re not to keep our roads, as well as our bridges, our airports, our transit system, our ports, really functioning and serving the American public.

    ALISON STEWART: What’s an example of recent of recent D-plus fail in infrastructure?

    LAURA BLISS: Yes, absolutely, not even two months, right, very close to here in New York, New Jersey transit.  We saw that fatal train crash, and that was partly driven by a failure to keep that system up to date as far as its safety mechanisms.  Of course, very memorably in Flint, Michigan, earlier this year, we saw the failure of a water system to be really adequately maintained.

    ALISON STEWART: Binyamin, has Trump signaled what this infrastructure plan, that he’s talked about, what it might look like?

    BINYAMIN APPELBAUM, THE NEW YORK TIMES: So, he has suggested that the portion of the infrastructure plan focused on transportation would be about $550 billion.  And his economic varies, Peter Navarro, has sketched out a way it might be paid for.  He suggested that what we would be talking about is a tax credit that would incentivize private developers to put their own money into public infrastructure in exchange for which they would pay not very much at all in taxes on those investments, and that the government could then recoup some of that lost money by imposing a one-time tax on the repatriation of profits that American companies have been keeping stashed overseas.

    ALISON STEWART: Trump finds himself in a unique position.  The Republican Party is not always that excited about spending money on things like infrastructure, whereas the Democratic Party often is.  What kind of political maneuvering is he going to need to do to get this off the ground?

    BINYAMIN APPELBAUM: Yes, the landscape here is interesting.  Pretty much everyone agrees that the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling.  Where the agreement breaks down is when it comes to time to figure out who is going to pay for it.

    So, as you said, Republicans have traditionally been very reluctant to invest funds in these types of projects.  President Obama proposed something very similar to what Donald Trump proposing and congressional Republicans refused to take it up as an idea.

    So, the hope for Mr. Trump is that this alternative financing model will be attractive to Republicans.  But the sticking point for many Republicans is that they don’t accept his argument that this is good for the economy.

    ALISON STEWART: Laura, from your reporting, what kind of private-funded infrastructure has worked or hasn’t worked?

    LAURA BLISS: Privatization of infrastructure projects is not an inherently bad idea, and it can work, you know, especially on a project like a toll road, for example, where a private company is sort of guaranteed revenues down the line after the project is completed.  But as a funding mechanism for the vast majority of infrastructure projects that our country could really benefit from, it doesn’t really seem to hold up because they’re not going to be particularly lucrative in the long run for those private companies.  They’re really designed– supposed to be designed for the public good, and not to– not to force the public to pay very, very high usage rates.

    ALISON STEWART: Binyamin, Trump said that he’s tied his job creation to this infrastructure idea.  Does that work?  Does that make sense with what he’s proposed?

    BINYAMIN APPELBAUM: It really depends on the details.  So, you know, interestingly enough, from the perspective of many Democrats, the extent to which the government provides funding for these projects is an important consideration because in their view, the types of projects that are most likely to be built with government funding are the ones least likely to be built by the private sector and, therefore, the most likely to create new jobs.

    If you’re simply providing a tax subsidy so that companies can build things they were already going to build and it’s just more profitable for them to do so, you don’t create a lot of jobs by doing that.  You just put money in the pocket of people who own those companies.  If, however, what you’re doing is providing funding for projects that wouldn’t otherwise get off the ground, that has the potential to actually create new jobs.

    So, this question of the funding model isn’t just a question of who pays for it but a question of how much economic benefit there’s likely to be.

    ALISON STEWART: Binyamin, will politics play a role here as to which infrastructure projects get started first?

    BINYAMIN APPELBAUM: Yes, I think it’s fair to say that politics will play a role here, absolutely.  The details, again, matter.  If what he’s proposing is a tax credit that anyone can take advantage of, the government would have somewhat less of a role in selecting projects.  Developers would have to line up and meet the requirements for the tax credit.  But, again, to the extent that the government starts allocating the funds, yes, Congress has a long history of picking out pet transportation prohibits for funding.  It’s a fair bet that that would happen again.

    ALISON STEWART: Laura, we should point out that voters seem to be hungry for increased funding or at least increased support of infrastructure.  On many local initiative ballots, there was a great show of support for this, correct?

    LAURA BLISS: Yes, at least certain types of infrastructure.  Sort of– I think a story that was definitely overshadowed on Tuesday night was a real victory in the public transportation sector, something like 70 percent of the ballot measures nationwide that were about funding transit got passed.  So, yes, you did sort of see this story of voters, primarily in dense, urban centers, really, you know, voting for a more urban future and, you know, demonstrating a willingness to pay for it, in terms of investment and transit.

    Less so, you know, there was– there were a number of measures that were also, you know, geared towards highway fund, other kinds of transportation projects, less so about water infrastructure, energy infrastructure, you know, ports, airports.  Those were a little bit lesser seen.

    ALISON STEWART: Binyamin, you wanted to add something?

    BINYAMIN APPELBAUM: Yes, you know, the support for the transit measures that Laura was just talking about came mostly from parts of the country that also supported Hillary Clinton.  One issue Donald Trump is going to need to grapple with is House Republicans largely represent parts of the country that have less infrastructure and are perhaps less excited about increased infrastructure spending.  It’s not clear that he can rally a majority of the House right now to back a rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport, for example.  They may not care how bad conditions are in New York.

    ALISON STEWART: All right. This is to be continued, it sounds like.

    Laura Bliss from “CityLab,” and Binyamin Appelbaum from the “New York Times” — thanks to both of you.

    LAURA BLISS: Thanks so much for having us.

    The post Trump promises to make infrastructure a major focus appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 28, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTSPUVE

    FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 28, 2016. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton is blaming the FBI’s decision to revive its examination of her email accounts for her devastating defeat in the presidential election.

    On a call Saturday with top campaign donors, Clinton said her campaign was winning until FBI director James Comey sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28 announcing that the FBI had uncovered emails possibly related to its earlier probe into her use of a private server as secretary of state. The new examination was sparked by an unrelated investigation into former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of one of her top aides.

    The surprise announcement by the FBI came after three debates in which Republican Donald Trump was widely panned for his performance. Clinton told the donors that her campaign was leading by large margins in nearly every battleground state and was tied in Arizona, a traditionally Republican stronghold, until Comey released his letter.

    Trump’s campaign and Republican supporters seized on the news, even though it was unclear whether Clinton’s correspondence was tied up in the probe.

    Comey told lawmakers the Sunday before the election that the bureau had found no evidence to warrant criminal charges. His “all clear” message only served to further motivate Trump supporters, Clinton told donors on the call.

    [Watch Video]

    In the nine days between Comey’s initial statement and his “all clear” announcement, nearly 24 million people cast early ballots. That was roughly 18 percent of the expected total votes for president.

    While Clinton accepted some blame of her loss, said donors who listened to her call, she made little mention of the other factors driving Trump’s victory: A desire for change by voters, possible sexism, the difficulty of a political party winning a third White House term, her campaign’s all-but-dismissal of white working class voters and flaws within her own message.

    Donors on the call were not authorized to discuss her comments by name and requested anonymity to describe them to The Associated Press.

    Democrats have spent much of this week reeling for their loss, with many in the party beginning a process of soul-searching designed to sort out what exactly went wrong. Liberals like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren say Democrats must embrace a more aggressive economic message — one Clinton largely shied away from during her campaign.

    The post Clinton blames FBI director for presidential election loss appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Fox News personality Megyn Kelly told investigators that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes made unwanted sexual advances towards her. Photo by Brendan McDermid/REUTERS

    Fox News personality Megyn Kelly told investigators that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes made unwanted sexual advances towards her. Photo by Brendan McDermid/REUTERS

    LOS ANGELES — Megyn Kelly says Donald Trump tried unsuccessfully to give her gifts, including a free stay at one of his hotels, as part of what she called his pattern of trying to influence news coverage of his presidential campaign.

    In her memoir “Settle for More,” to be released Tuesday, Kelly says Trump may have gotten a pre-debate tip about her first question, in which she confronted him with his critical comments about women. Her book also details the insults and threats she received after Trump’s tirades objecting to her reporting. The Associated Press obtained an advance copy of the book Saturday.

    Kelly, host of Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly Report,” said Trump routinely attempted to gain favorable treatment from other journalists and commentators.

    “This is actually one of the untold stories of the 2016 campaign: I was not the only journalist to whom Trump offered gifts clearly meant to shape coverage,” Kelly said. He also attempted to woo them with praise, she said, adding, “This is smart, because the media is full of people whose egos need stroking.”

    “Trump tried to work the refs, and some of the refs responded,” she said.

    When it became obvious that some reporters were “in the tank” for Trump, she alleges in one chapter, “certain TV hosts” would work with the candidate in advance on occasional Trump criticism so they would appear unbiased. She didn’t identify them by name or media outlet.

    Resisting Trump’s attempts to buy her goodwill with an offer to comp her “girls’ weekend” stay at his downtown New York City hotel or fly her and her husband to visit his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida was an easy ethical decision, Kelly wrote.

    Harder still was rejecting the ratings bonanza that the colorful GOP contender could deliver with his “unscripted, unguarded” approach that made for great TV but was the equivalent of “television crack cocaine,” Kelly wrote.

    She and her producer agreed they had to provide balance and be judicious in their coverage, asserting this was not a “directive to cover Trump negatively or to ignore him.”

    It was at the first GOP primary debate last August that Kelly questioned Trump about derogatory comments he’d made about women. The day before, Trump had called Fox News executive Bill Sammon to say he had heard that Kelly’s first question would be a pointed one aimed at him, she wrote.

    “‘How could he know that?’ I wondered,” Kelly said, not answering the question but clearing her Fox colleagues on the debate team of any suspicion of leaking it to him. Trump was agitated out of proportion in the phone call, she wrote, calling it “bizarre behavior, especially for a man who wanted the nuclear codes.”

    Kelly was cast by Trump as his nemesis after the first GOP debate in which she asked him about labeling women as “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.” In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Trump called her questions ridiculous, adding, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”

    Before another Fox debate, Kelly recalled being backstage with her family and getting an unsettling insight on how her children were being affected by the harsh rhetoric.

    “I’m afraid of Donald Trump. He wants to hurt me,” she quoted her 5-year-old daughter, Yardley, as saying. When Kelly told her that wasn’t so, the child replied, “Well, he wants to hurt you, so he wants to hurt me too.”

    AP National Writer Hillel Italie in New York contributed to this report.

    The post Megyn Kelly says Trump tried to influence coverage with gifts appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Visitors enter the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S. October 5, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron - RTSQX9M

    Visitors enter the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S. October 5, 2016. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Even before Donald Trump chooses a Supreme Court nominee, the new president can take steps to make several contentious court cases go away.

    Legal challenges involving immigration, climate change, cost-free contraceptive care and transgender rights all could be affected, without any help from Congress.

    The cases turn on Obama administration policies that rely on the president’s pen, regulations or decisions made by federal agencies. And what one administration can do, the next can undo.

    It is not uncommon for the court’s docket to change when one party replaces the other in the White House. That change in direction is magnified by the high-court seat Trump will get to fill after Senate Republicans refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.

    “We were hoping we’d be looking forward to a progressive majority on the Supreme Court. After the election results, there is a new reality,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center.

    The Supreme Court already is set to consider a case involving a transgender teen who was born female, but identifies as a male and wants to use the boys’ bathroom at his Virginia high school. When the federal appeals court in Richmond ruled in student Gavin Grimm’s favor this year, it relied on a determination by the U.S. Education Department that federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education also applies to gender identity.

    [Watch Video]

    The new administration could withdraw the department’s guidance, which could cause the justices to return the case to the lower courts to reach their own decision about whether the law requires schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity.

    “It is possible, maybe even likely, that if the first question went away, then the court would send case back to the 4th circuit” in Richmond, said Steven Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Grimm.

    Trump already has pledged to undo Obama’s plan to shield millions of people living in the country illegally from deportation and to make them eligible for work permits. The Supreme Court, down to eight members after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February, split 4 to 4 in June over the plan. The tie vote effectively killed the plan for Obama’s presidency because lower federal courts had previously blocked it.

    But the issue remains a live one in the legal system, and supporters of the Obama plan had hoped that a new Clinton administration would press forward.

    Now, though, all Trump has to do is rescind the Obama team’s actions, which would leave the courts with nothing to decide.

    A similar fate may be in store for the current administration’s efforts to get cost-free birth control to women who are covered by health plans from religiously-affiliated educational and charitable organizations. The justices issued an unusual order in the spring that directed lower courts across the country to seek a compromise to end the legal dispute. The groups already can opt out of paying for contraception, but they say that option leaves them complicit in providing government-approved contraceptives to women covered by their plans.

    The new administration could be more willing to meet the groups’ demands, which would end the controversy.

    Women’s contraceptives are among a range of preventive services that the Obama health overhaul requires employers to cover in their health plans. All of that now is at risk, since Trump has called for repeal of the health care law.

    Obama’s Clean Power Plan, calling for cuts in carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants, also could be rolled back once Trump is in office.

    The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., is considering a challenge by two-dozen mostly Republican-led states that say Obama overstepped his authority. The Trump team could seek to undo the rules put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency and it could seek a delay in the litigation while doing so, said Sean Donahue, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund. Trump’s EPA would have to propose its own rules, which allow for public comment and legal challenges from those who object, Donahue said.

    Environmental groups effectively fought rules that they said eased pollution limits during George W. Bush’s presidency.

    As some issues pushed by Obama recede in importance, others that have been important to conservatives may get renewed interest at the court. Among those are efforts to impose new restrictions on public-sector labor unions and to strike down more campaign-finance limits, including the ban on unlimited contributions to political parties.

    The post Trump’s presidential pen could remake Supreme Court’s agenda appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    File photo of Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence by Mike Segar/Reuters

    File photo of Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence by Mike Segar/Reuters

    NEW YORK — President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to empower his running mate Mike Pence to steer the presidential transition gives the soon-to-be vice president a powerful hand in shaping the incoming government and could foreshadow that he will play an outsized role in the White House.

    Pence’s ascension is in line with a recent trend toward influential vice presidents and appears similar to the last vice president who was handed the keys to a presidential transition: Dick Cheney.

    As the nation was embroiled in the recount after the 2000 election, George W. Bush informally entrusted Cheney to begin building the government even before the outcome was settled in favor of the Republican ticket. Some of the work was done sitting around Cheney’s kitchen table in McLean, Virginia, remembered Ari Fleischer, who became Bush’s first press secretary.

    “This is a big test for Pence,” Fleischer told The Associated Press. “If it goes well, it will portend a bigger job for him in the White House.”

    Cheney clearly passed that test and became one of the most powerful vice presidents in recent memory, particularly during Bush’s first term. Cheney not only ran Bush’s vice presidential search team — eventually picking himself — he stocked the administration with veteran Republicans, many of whom he had known for years.

    “The vice president was so influential he barely spoke in meetings because he knew he would see the president alone and could convey his thoughts privately,” said Fleischer. “Only the truly powerful can be that silent. And when he did talk, it was pretty impactful.”

    [Watch Video]

    It is far too soon to say if Pence will have a similar voice in Trump’s White House, but naming him the chairman of the transition team broadcasts to others in Washington that he will be a key player.

    “If you’re given an important role in the transition, it sends a signal to other people that you matter,” said Joel K. Goldstein, a law professor at St. Louis University who is widely considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the sometimes obscure history of the vice presidency. “Other political actors want to deal with you due to your perceived access and influence to the president.”

    It also gives the vice president a chance to put his own stamp on the administration. While Trump ran as a political outsider and was not shy in burning bridges to establishment Washington, Pence is a popular GOP figure who may opt to select longtime allies for key roles.

    “Those who get new jobs may feel beholden to the vice president and feel responsive to him,” said Goldstein. “It’s a way of guaranteeing a degree of loyalty.”

    Unlike Bush and Cheney, who were friends for years, or Bill Clinton and Al Gore, who were both of the same generation of moderate Southern Democrats, Trump and Pence did not have much of a relationship before the celebrity businessman selected the Indiana governor to be his running mate. Trump then waffled, having second thoughts about the choice and asking aides if he could replace him.

    But those close to Trump say he and Pence, a dyed-in-the-wool social conservative who also served in Congress, have forged a friendship and there is little doubt that his selection — as opposed to embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — sent a reassuring signal to some mainstream Republicans who previously been ill at ease about the incendiary nominee. Pence’s closing argument was that it was time “for Republicans to come home” and Trump won a higher percentage of Republican votes than his opponent Hillary Clinton did from Democrats, according to exit polls.

    There has also been speculation that Trump would view the presidency as a CEO role and delegate some of the decision-making elsewhere. Aides to Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that Trump’s eldest son had suggested over the summer that the future vice president would do much of the heavy lifting on both foreign and domestic policy while Trump would be in charge of “Making America Great Again,” a claim the Trump camp later denied.

    But it seems likely that Pence will play a key role. For decades, vice presidents were mere window dressing, given largely ceremonial tasks and left out of key decisions. That changed in 1976 when Jimmy Carter elevated Walter Mondale’s role — Mondale also ran the transition — and vice presidents since have had large staffs, are often placed in charge of key administrative priorities and frequently become the administration’s liaison to Capitol Hill.

    President Barack Obama tasked Vice President Joe Biden with several administration priorities, including its recent anti-cancer “moonshot,” and considers his running mate one of his closest friends.

    “Trump has learned to trust Pence and Pence has years of experience in Congress,” said Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “I think it’s dawning on Trump that he’s now got enormous responsibilities and needs the help of every experienced, competent person he can find.”

    The post Pence’s transition job could signal key role in White House appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Peace activists make their way into downtown Bogota after starting a trek from Cali in a bid to call for a swift resolution to stalled peace agreement with FARC in Bogota, Colombia, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/John Vizcaino - RTX2QA47

    Peace activists make their way into downtown Bogota after starting a trek from Cali in a bid to call for a swift resolution to stalled peace agreement with FARC in Bogota, Colombia, October 24, 2016. Photo by John Vizcaino/Reuters

    The government of Colombia and the rebel group known as FARC forged an amended peace deal on Saturday, more than a month after voters narrowly rebuffed an initial accord that would have ended a half-century of war.

    The renewed effort between Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and government officials took place in Havana, where peace talks have been ongoing between the two sides for four years.

    Many Colombians who voted against the initial proposal said it did not go far enough to hold FARC members accountable, while the deal formed this weekend included suggestions from opposition members, religious leaders and others, Reuters reported. Voters rejected the previous referendum held on Oct. 2 by only 55,000 votes, according to the Associated Press.

    Rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) patrol by a roadway near to San Vicente de Caguan January 9, 1999. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the 52-year conflict. Photo By Reuters

    Rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) patrol by a roadway near to San Vicente de Caguan January 9, 1999. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the 52-year conflict.
    Photo By Reuters

    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he hoped the deal formed on Saturday would end the violence that has gripped the country since 1964, killing more than 200,000 people during the conflict and displacing millions more.

    “We call upon all Colombia and the international community to back this new accord and its quick implementation so as to leave the tragedy of war in the past,” Santos and FARC leaders said in a statement. “Peace cannot wait anymore.”

    [Watch Video]

    While Santos said during a television address that the new accord would be released on Sunday, he noted that it would not be made a part of Colombia’s constitution as had been previously proposed. The amended deal would keep stipulations that would grant FARC members 10 congressional seats during the next decade.

    Santos, who has received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end the war, did not disclose whether the country would hold a referendum on the amended agreement, according to Reuters.

    The post Colombia and FARC sign amended peace deal appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    In 2005, Donald Trump holds a media conference announcing the establishment of Trump University in New York City. Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images

    In 2005, Donald Trump holds a media conference announcing the establishment of Trump University in New York City. Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images

    SAN DIEGO — Donald Trump’s attorneys have filed a motion to delay until after the presidential inauguration a class-action fraud lawsuit involving the president-elect and his now-defunct Trump University.

    In the motion filed Saturday in San Diego federal court, Trump’s lawyer Daniel Petrocelli argues that the extra months would give both sides time to possibly reach a settlement.

    The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Petrocelli wants to postpone the trial until sometime soon after the Jan. 20 inauguration to allow Trump to focus on the transition to the White House.

    [Watch Video]

    The motion also requests that Trump be allowed to be questioned in a videotaped deposition to be recorded before the trial.

    The lawsuit alleging Trump University failed on its promise to teach success in real estate is scheduled to begin Nov. 28.

    The post Lawyers file motion to delay Trump University trial appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    From left, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attend the ground-breaking of the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office Building in Washington July 23, 2014.   Photo By Gary Cameron/Reuters

    From left, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attend the ground-breaking of the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office Building in Washington July 23, 2014. Photo By Gary Cameron/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — A top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump says it would be “unrealistic” to purge his children from his businesses and hand their control over to an independent trustee.

    Appearing on televised interviews on Sunday, Giuliani initially said Trump should set up “some kind of blind trust.” When pressed, Giuliani told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump’s unusual situation might call for more flexibility than a traditional blind trust and involve his three children.

    “I think he’s in a very unusual situation,” Giuliani said. “He would basically put his children out of work” if he didn’t involve them, Giuliani said.

    He says the children would then have to “start a whole new business and that would set up … new problems.”

    Giuliani said Trump’s three adult children — Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric — who are involved in his businesses would not advise Trump once he becomes president in January. All three children are, however, are on the executive committee of Trump’s transition team.

    READ NEXT: What would a Trump presidency mean for his business empire?
    Giuliani said after the inauguration “there will have to be a wall” between Trump’s children and Trump “with regard to government matters.”

    One possibility to separate Trump from his businesses without removing his children would be a “legal or clear document that meant that he would not be involved, he would have no interest in it, he would have no input into it, (and) he would just have a passive interest,” Giuliani said.

    Trump’s vast corporate empire could lead to questions about potential conflicts of interest — that decisions he makes as president could benefit him and his family financially unless a traditional blind trust is created.

    Trump has a direct stake in more than 500 companies, according to his disclosures with the Federal Election Commission. The full extent of his holdings and income are still unclear because the president-elect refused to release his tax forms, saying that they are being audited by the IRS.

    Besides Trump’s hotels and golf courses in the British Isles, the president-elect has a licensing deal with a firm based in Indonesia. The names of his companies indicate that he has businesses tied to Brazil, Canada, Israel, Dubai, Egypt, India, the Philippines and South Africa. His menswear line famously had neckties sewn by contractors in China.

    During the campaign’s final stretch, Giuliani emerged as one of Trump’s closest advisers and regular traveling partners. The former New York mayor and federal prosecutor is a possible fit in the Trump administration for a post such as attorney general.

    The post Giuliani says Trump kids could run ‘blind trust’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Vintage Civil War print of General Lee surrendering his Confederate forces to General Grant. It reads, The room in the McLean House, at Appomattox C.H., in which Gen. Lee surrendered to Gen. Grant. Notable figures include, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, George Armstrong Custer, Philip Sheridan, and George Meade.

    Vintage Civil War print of General Lee surrendering his Confederate forces to General Grant. It reads: “The room in the McLean House, at Appomattox C.H., in which Gen. Lee surrendered to Gen. Grant. Notable figures include, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, George Armstrong Custer, Philip Sheridan, and George Meade.” Photo via Getty Images

    Donald Trump won the presidential election on Tuesday as millions of people were prevented from voting this year by rules that root back to the Civil War and were made to maintain white male political dominance.

    About 6.1 million people who were convicted of breaking laws could not cast ballots because of policies that keep felons off voter rolls, according to justice reform organization The Sentencing Project. And according to the most recent numbers from Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan, which is still counting, Hillary Clinton lost by a margin smaller than those banned from voting — many of whom are poor or black or both, which are groups that tend to vote Democrat.“To the extent that people are surprised by this result, it is because liberal whites have underestimated the past and continuing importance of racism and sexism as founding principles of the country.” — Loyola University Chicago law professor Juan Perea

    At the same time, Clinton garnered at least half a million more votes than Trump, but lost the Electoral College. This system gives each state a number of votes roughly proportioned to population — 538 in total — and the candidate who wins the majority of them, which will be officially counted in January, wins the election. The last time such an anomaly happened was during the hotly-contested 2000 presidential election, when Republican George W. Bush won the Electoral College, defeating Democrat Al Gore, who won the popular vote.

    In 1787 James Madison introduced the Electoral College as an alternative to a popular vote system because, “Negroes” in the South presented a “difficulty … of a serious nature.”

    A constitutional scholar says that these historical laws may have helped elect Trump, who is lauded by the Ku Klux Klan, an endorsement he renounced this month.

    “To the extent that people are surprised by this result, it is because liberal whites have underestimated the past and continuing importance of racism and sexism as founding principles of the country,” said Juan Perea, a law professor at Loyola University Chicago.

    Perea recalled the history of black disenfranchisement, which was safeguarded when several Southern states resisted the abolition of slavery and formed the Confederacy, following the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln. Then came the Civil War.

    Photo from the "Proceedings of the Constitutional convention of South Carolina, held at Charleston, S. C., beginning January 14th and ending March 17th, 1868." Book in the collection of University of South Carolina Coleman Karesh Law Library, courtesy of Internet Archive

    Photo from the “Proceedings of the Constitutional convention of South Carolina, held at Charleston, S. C., beginning January 14th and ending March 17th, 1868.” Book in the collection of University of South Carolina Coleman Karesh Law Library, courtesy of Internet Archive

    As more than half a million soldiers and slaves died and the Confederacy lost, the U.S. passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, formally abolishing slavery. But there was one catch – they could only be free if they had not committed a crime.

    A South Carolina constitutional convention chairman reminded his colleagues in 1868 that disenfranchisement allowed them to, “deprive every colored man of their right of citizenship” by making “the most trivial offence a felony” in the state.

    By 1869, 29 states had enacted disenfranchisement laws.

    Notes: 1. Alabama – In 2016, legislation eased the rights restoration process after completion of sentence for persons not convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude.” 2. Arizona – Permanently disenfranchises persons with two or more felony convictions. 3. California – In 2016, legislation restored voting rights to people convicted of a felony offense housed in jail, but not in prison. 4. Delaware – The 2013 Hazel D. Plant Voter Restoration Act removed the five-year waiting period. People convicted of a felony, with some exceptions, are now eligible to vote upon completion of sentence and supervision. People who are convicted of certain disqualifying felonies – including murder, bribery, and sexual offenses – are permanently disenfranchised. 5. Iowa – Governor Tom Vilsack restored voting rights to individuals who had completed their sentences via executive order on July 4, 2005. Governor Terry Branstad reversed this executive order on January 14, 2011 returning to permanent disenfranchisement for persons released from supervision after that date. 6. Maryland – Eliminated the ban on voting for persons on probation or parole supervision in 2016. 7. Nebraska – Reduced its indefinite ban on post-sentence voting to a two-year waiting period in 2005. 8. Nevada – Disenfranchises people convicted of one or more violent felonies and people convicted of two or more felonies of any type. 9. Tennessee – Disenfranchises those convicted of certain felonies since 1981, in addition to those convicted of select crimes prior to 1973. Others must apply to Board of Probation and Parole for restoration. 10. Rhode Island – A 2006 ballot referendum eliminated the ban on voting for persons on probation or parole supervision. 11. South Dakota – State began disenfranchising people on felony probation in 2012. 12. Virginia – When the Virginia Supreme Court overturned Governor Terry McAuliffe’s blanket restoration of voting rights for people who had completed their sentences, he individually approved voting rights for 12,832 individuals in August, 2016. 13. Wyoming – Voting rights restored after five years to people who complete sentences for first-time, non-violent felony convictions in 2016 or after. Courtesy of The Sentencing Project

    Notes:
    1. Alabama – In 2016, legislation eased the rights restoration process after completion of sentence for persons not convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude.”
    2. Arizona – Permanently disenfranchises persons with two or more felony convictions.
    3. California – In 2016, legislation restored voting rights to people convicted of a felony offense housed in jail, but not in prison.
    4. Delaware – The 2013 Hazel D. Plant Voter Restoration Act removed the five-year waiting period. People convicted of a felony, with some exceptions, are now eligible to vote upon completion of sentence and supervision. People who are convicted of certain disqualifying felonies – including murder, bribery, and sexual offenses – are permanently disenfranchised.
    5. Iowa – Governor Tom Vilsack restored voting rights to individuals who had completed their sentences via executive order on July 4, 2005. Governor Terry Branstad reversed this executive order on January 14, 2011 returning to permanent disenfranchisement for persons released from supervision after that date.
    6. Maryland – Eliminated the ban on voting for persons on probation or parole supervision in 2016.
    7. Nebraska – Reduced its indefinite ban on post-sentence voting to a two-year waiting period in 2005.
    8. Nevada – Disenfranchises people convicted of one or more violent felonies and people convicted of two or more felonies of any type.
    9. Tennessee – Disenfranchises those convicted of certain felonies since 1981, in addition to those convicted of select crimes prior to 1973. Others must apply to Board of Probation and Parole for restoration.
    10. Rhode Island – A 2006 ballot referendum eliminated the ban on voting for persons on probation or parole supervision.
    11. South Dakota – State began disenfranchising people on felony probation in 2012.
    12. Virginia – When the Virginia Supreme Court overturned Governor Terry McAuliffe’s blanket restoration of voting rights for people who had completed their sentences, he individually approved voting rights for 12,832 individuals in August, 2016.
    13. Wyoming – Voting rights restored after five years to people who complete sentences for first-time, non-violent felony convictions in 2016 or after. Courtesy of The Sentencing Project

    “Fast forward to the present, and, in this election, 6 million otherwise-eligible voters were unable to vote because of felon disenfranchisement,” said Perea. “Had these felons been able to vote, and if they voted as their non-felon people of color did, the results of the election would have been different.”

    Perea believes disenfranchisement, coupled with voter ID laws enacted after the Supreme Court “gutted” the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and 15 states introduced new voting restrictions this election, contributed to Clinton’s loss.

    Trump supporters are primarily white, and historically, white people have felt threatened by change, responding by creating laws and voting to maintain supremacy, he said.

    “The election of Barack Obama and changing demographics pose a very direct threat to these core founding values, held by many Americans,” Perea said. “The failure to understand and acknowledge the deep history of American racism leads to underestimation of its current existence and impact.”

    According to The Sentencing Project, all but two states have disenfranchisement laws that strip people convicted of felonies of rights such as being able to run for office, sit on a jury or vote.

    In Florida, once a Confederate state that now has some of the strictest voting rights policies, one in every four black people are disenfranchised, among one of the highest ratios in the nation, according to The Sentencing Project.

    It also has the most disenfranchised voters – about 1.6 million, with one-third of them black – and is a state where Clinton needed approximately 120,000 more votes to win its 29 electoral votes.

    “It would be too hard to say precisely how they would vote,” said Executive Director Marc Mauer. “[But] these are disproportionately low income people and that’s viewed as more Democratic in general.”

    Figure 7 shows the corresponding rates for 2016, again retaining a common scale and shading to keep the map consistent with the 1980 map in Figure 6. African American disenfranchisement rates in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia now exceed 20 percent of the adult voting age population. Whereas only 9 states disenfranchised at least 5 percent of their African American adult citizens in 1980, 23 states do so today. Courtesy of The Sentencing Project

    Courtesy of The Sentencing Project

    The question frustrates black Florida resident Desmond Meade, who lived on the streets after serving time for aggravated battery and possession of a firearm.

    Meade, President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, said that stories about disenfranchised voters too often focus on black people, when especially in Florida, a large percentage of them are white.

    “My problem is, is that however an American citizen may vote or may think, should have no factor in if they had a right to vote,” he told the NewsHour Weekend. “Americans from all walks of life believe in second chances … I met an old white lady who said her greatest fear was that she was going to die before she had the opportunity to vote again.”

    Florida is also the same state that was contested in 2000, when Gore lost the election. Researchers Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza estimated in an article for the American Sociological Review that if disenfranchised voters had been able to vote, they could have overwhelmingly swung the state.

    But Perea said liberals should be more shocked about the disproportionate number of disenfranchised voters and restrictions in the South than of Bush’s or Trump’s win.

    The Sentencing Project has estimated that the number of people affected by these laws has grown from 1.1 million in 1976 to approximately 2.5 percent of the country’s voting-age populace today. Mauer said 23 states have enacted some kind of reform, but Florida is unique because their policy is embedded in the state Constitution that was drafted in 1838.

    “It’s quite difficult to change the Constitution,” he said.

    Cartograms distort the land area on the map according to an alternative statistic, in this case the total felony disenfranchisement rate. Southeastern states that disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people who have completed their sentences, such as Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, appear bloated in the cartogram. In contrast, the many Northeastern and Midwestern states that only disenfranchise individuals currently in prison shrivel in size. Courtesy of The Sentencing Project

    Cartograms distort the land area on the map according to an alternative statistic, in this case the total felony disenfranchisement rate. Southeastern states that disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people who have completed their sentences, such as Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, appear bloated in the cartogram. In contrast, the many Northeastern and Midwestern states that only disenfranchise individuals currently in prison shrivel in size. Courtesy of The Sentencing Project

    There has been a movement for a National Popular Vote Interstate Compact that has gained traction since Gore lost in 2000. New York overwhelmingly agreed in 2014 to join nine other Democratic states and Washington, D.C. Together, they have 165 electoral votes. If they gain a total of 270 — the majority needed to elect a president — the nation will move to a popular vote.

    “Still, nobody cared about felons,” Perea said. “The only reason liberals might care now is because they lost.”

    The post This year, laws with roots to the Civil War prevented 6.1 million from voting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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