Monday, September 26, 2016

BUCKING THE TREND - Gravity Payments $70,000/yr Pay Raise

"This company raised minimum wage to $70,000 — and it helped business" PBS NewsHour 9/25/2016


SUMMARY:  In 2015, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price announced he would raise the company's minimum wage to $70,000 a year by 2017 and slash his own compensation by more than 90 percent.  More than a year later, Price reports the company's revenue and clientèle has grown substantially, despite critics' predictions that the move would be bad for business.  NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent John Larson reports.

RECEPTIONIST:  Gravity Payments, this is Korinne.

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

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

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

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

JOHN LARSON:  Stories of his announcement went viral.

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

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

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 9/23/2016

"Shields and Brooks on transparency in police shootings, first debate expectations" PBS NewsHour 9/23/2016

IMHO:  The debate is for Hillary Clinton to loose.  All Trump has to do is keep his silver-foot out of his mouth, and be calm and Presidential.


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week's news, including police shootings in Charlotte and Tulsa, the newly released video showing the fatal shooting of Keith Scott, the candidates' views on police violence and recent protests and what we should expect from the first Presidential debate.


"Carl Reiner on being a comedian and Mel Brooks’ best friend" PBS NewsHour 9/23/2016


SUMMARY:  Carl Reiner never thought about going into comedy growing up.  That was until he met Mel Brooks.  A friendship that started in 1961 with the “2,000-Year-Old Man” skit, the two close friends now have a nightly movie date.  Reiner gives his Brief but Spectacular take on his comedic career.

RACE IN AMERICA - State of Black Safety

"The state of safety and civil rights progress for black Americans today" PBS NewsHour 9/22/2016


SUMMARY:  Charlotte and Tulsa are the most recent in a long list of cities that have mourned and protested deadly police shootings against black Americans.  Gwen Ifill speaks with author and activist Andre Perry; Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change; and Vanessa De Luca, editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine about what these acts of violence suggest about life in the black community today.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  Charlotte and Tulsa are the latest communities grappling with an ongoing, enormous debate over police shootings, protest violence and social justice.

It's become a long list, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Oakland, Baton Rouge, Ferguson.  Each incident sparks a renewed and wrenching conversation within communities of color.

We explore some of that now with Rashad Robinson, executive director of the racial justice organization Color of Change, Vanessa De Luca, editor in chief of “Essence,”a magazine for and about black women, and Andre Perry, an author, activist and educator.

Welcome to you all.

This has been a week.  We reported about it last night on the NewsHour, where we were talking about this brand-new museum that is opening in the Mall, lots of rejoicing, lots of excitement about that, upbeat, and, at the same time, the same conversations turn to what's happening in Charlotte, what's happening in Tulsa.

Rashad Robinson, there is a dichotomy at work here.  What do you see?

RASHAD ROBINSON, Executive Director, Color of Change:  I think there absolutely is a dichotomy.

And it speaks to this idea of that not mistaking presence for power, that just because we are seeing progress, progress for black folks in this country has never been on a linear sort of line.  We have seen, you know, steps ahead and then steps backwards.

And while we see huge steps forward — I got to see a sneak peek of that museum last night, and it's beautiful.  It speaks to sort of all our hopes and aspirations and also shows all of the struggles — while, at the same time, the presence of a black President, the presence of black billionaires doesn't necessarily change the rules, the rules of policy, the rules of culture, the written and unwritten rules that govern us.

And so we're seeing so much of that bubble up, that alone doesn't change structural…


GWEN IFILL:  Well, let me just move on, because we have a lot of people to — lot of things to talk about here.

Vanessa De Luca, are we moving forward?  Are we stalled?  Are we moving backward?

VANESSA DE LUCA, Editor in Chief, Essence:  I mean, I think we're at a tipping point, right?

There is so much to be celebrated, certainly with the museum, but if you look at our day to day, there is so much more that needs to be done in terms of accountability, in terms of seeking justice, that we can't ignore.

So there needs to be — we're parallel-pathing our way through this time in our history.  And we cannot afford to erase anything.  Certainly, the museum is about not erasing our history, and certainly we want to make sure, in all of our protests and all of our questions that are raised about what's going on in our community right now, that history is also not erased.

GWEN IFILL:  Andre Perry, eight years of a black President, did it change anything or did it set us back in some ways?

ANDRE PERRY, Author/Activist:  No, it certainly, in the sense that when he was elected, the day after, the country, at least many people of it, felt that they had to take the country back, it was a marker in which we heard to — that people felt they had to regain a foothold, that they lost their America.

But we clearly understand that having a black President doesn't equate to progress for black people.  I just want to throw out just a few statistics.

The U.S. is the only developed country in which maternal mortality is on the rise.  Three to four times the rate of black women die at the rate of white women.  Funding for schools has actually widened between rich and poor districts in at least half of the states in the country.

In my state and home city of New Orleans, one in seven black people are on prison and parole.  So I would never quibble with anyone if someone said desegregation did me no favors.

ELECTION 2016 - Healthcare at Risk

"Obamacare's future at stake in election" PBS NewsHour 9/22/2016

Republicans (especially emperor-with-no-cloths  Trump) would like to dismantle or weaken the ACA and go back to the old system, and dump our poorest citizens so the Health Insurance Industry can make MORE profits.  Totally in-line with their 'money before people' dogma.  After all, the poor don't make the big$ contributions to Republicans, who know who is really paying them.


SUMMARY:  One big issue at stake in this election is President Obama's signature domestic achievement:  the Affordable Care Act.  While Hillary Clinton wants to preserve and expand the law, Donald Trump would replace it with a series of smaller measures.  From Arizona, special correspondent Sarah Varney speaks with residents about what they would like to see in future health care policy.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  And now we continue our coverage of the issues of this campaign.  Tonight:  health care, and specifically what's at stake for President Obama's signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.

It's turned into a significant issue in some states, like Arizona, where polls show Hillary Clinton in a tight contest with Donald Trump.

Special correspondent Sarah Varney looks at those concerns and the candidates' plans.  This story was produced in collaboration with our partner Kaiser Health News.

SARAH VARNEY, Special correspondent:  Just weeks before the presidential election, Tempe, Arizona resident Josephine has spent nearly every morning driving, waiting, and back at home worrying.

Once uninsured, she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and gets health coverage through Obamacare.  The 61-year-old, who goes by Jo, says she trusts just one candidate to keep her covered.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  I will continue to improve the Affordable Care Act.  I will work to get the costs down, premiums, co-pays, deductibles, prescription drug costs.


SARAH VARNEY:  Hillary Clinton has offered detailed plans to preserve and expand the law, even pushing for a public option, a type of government-run insurance plan.  She also wants to expand tax subsidies to reduce health care costs and allow people 55 and older to buy into Medicare.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  We're going to repeal and replace Obamacare so quickly.


SARAH VARNEY:  Meanwhile, Donald Trump wants to replace the health law with a handful of smaller measures, like allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and tax deductions for premiums.

Health policy experts say these approaches would cover far fewer people than the Affordable Care Act.

LAW ENFORCEMENT IN AMERICA - Charlotte Police Shooting

"In Charlotte, protests and call for a boycott after a police shooting" PBS NewsHour 9/21/2016


SUMMARY:  Protests boiled over in Charlotte, North Carolina, within hours of the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott.  His sister said he was unarmed, but the officers say he did have a gun.  William Brangham reports on the ensuing turmoil.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  It's an all-too- familiar story, in a new setting.  This time, the city of Charlotte is on edge, awaiting a second night of protests over the police killing of a black man.

The drama began with a Tuesday confrontation that sparked a night of trouble.

William Brangham begins our coverage.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  Within hours of the fatal shooting, protests boiled over in North Carolina's largest city.  The victim was 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott.

And his sister, who didn't give her name, said he was unarmed.

WOMAN:  They said, hands up, he got a gun, he got a gun.  Pow, pow, pow, pow.  That's it.  He had no gun.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Another woman, claiming to be Scott's daughter, went on Facebook, saying he'd had a book, not a gun, and also had an unspecified disability.

In short order, a crowd blocked traffic on Interstate 85, throwing rocks, and destroying police cars.  Some looted a tractor-trailer and set it on fire.  Others broke into a nearby Wal-Mart.  Police eventually used tear gas to quell the violence, but 16 officers were injured.

This morning, police chief Kerr Putney urged people to step back and be calm.

KERR PUTNEY, Charlotte Police Chief:  It's time to change the narrative, because I can tell you from the facts that the story is a little bit different as to how it's been portrayed so far, especially through social media.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  As Putney told it, officers had been at an apartment complex, searching for a suspect, when they saw Scott get out of a car.  They say he did have a gun, and refused to put it down.

KERR PUTNEY:  In spite of the verbal commands, Mr. Scott, as I said, exited his vehicle armed with a handgun, as the officers continued to yell at him to drop it.  He stepped out, posing a threat to the officers, and officer Brentley Vinson subsequently fired his weapon, striking the subject.

"Charlotte mayor promises police shooting investigation of ‘highest integrity’" PBS NewsHour 9/21/2016


SUMMARY:  The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, is on edge in the wake of a police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the violent protests that followed overnight.  Judy Woodruff speaks with Mayor Jennifer Roberts about unrest in the community and getting facts about the deadly confrontation.

"Soldiers stand in Charlotte’s streets amid police shooting protests" PBS NewsHour 9/22/2016


SUMMARY:  Charlotte, North Carolina, has been reeling from the shooting death of Keith Scott by police.  The governor called a state of emergency after a peaceful protest turned violent.  A black protester was critically wounded, for which many are blaming the police.  Judy Woodruff talks to Trevor Fuller of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.

"Footage of Keith Scott shooting raises more questions" PBS NewsHour 9/23/2016


SUMMARY:  Cellphone footage of police officers fatally shooting Keith Scott, taken by the victim’s wife, was released Friday.  The video comes as Charlotte city officials face mounting pressure to release the police body cam and dash cam videos.  Judy Woodruff talks to The New York Times' Yamiche Alcindor for more.

BOMB SQUAD - The Newest Member

"How robots are joining the police force" PBS NewsHour 9/21/2016


SUMMARY:  In light of the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey, science correspondent Miles O'Brien takes a look at a new technology that is increasingly being used by law enforcement, bomb-disarming robots.  Operated from a safe distance, these robots can blast through car windows and even kill, raising ethical issues about how they should be used.

MAN:  Everybody, get off the street!

MILES O'BRIEN (NewsHour):  As the pipe and pressure cooker bomb plot unfolded and unraveled in New York and New Jersey, police deployed some remotely operated tools aimed at saving the lives of civilians and bomb squad technicians alike.

In New Jersey, a reminder of the hair-trigger risk they face in harm's way.

At NYPD bomb squad headquarters on City Island a few years ago, Lieutenant Mark Torre gave me a demo using the same robot, the Remotec ANDROS F6A, built by Northrop Grumman.

LT.  MARK TORRE, NYPD Bomb Squad:  Its primary mission is to put distance between our technicians and something of a hazardous nature, because distance in this business is always your friend.

MILES O'BRIEN:  In this scenario, it is believed there may be an explosive in this car.  And it is much more than a hypothetical.  It's what happened in Times Square on May 1 of 2010.

A street vendor discovered a smoldering, abandoned car filled with propane tanks, fertilizer, gasoline and firecrackers.  It was a Saturday evening, the busiest time of the week, in one of the busiest, and most iconic, intersections in the world.

MITCH SILBER, Terrorism Analyst:  Between the scenery, the symbolism, the congestion and it being be just media central for New York City, you can't get much better of a background for terrorists.

MILES O'BRIEN:  Mitch Silber was NYPD's director of intelligence analysis at the time.  He shudders to think what would have happened if the car bomb, built by Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad, had not been a dud.

MITCH SILBER:  It would ripped the car in half, and this is a very busy intersection.  Depending on the congestion of people right around the car, it would certainly kill people, injured and maimed many others.  And it would have been the first big terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11, since 2001, nine years earlier.

NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - "A Field Guide to Lies"

"Why we believe what we read on the internet" PBS NewsHour 9/21/2016

My advice.  Never believe ANYTHING that you cannot independently verify, or is from a source that provides no links back to itself, or to documents that are quoted in the post.


SUMMARY:  In the digital age, we have access to all the information that we could ever want.  But that means there’s also a lot of misinformation out there.  How do we know what’s true and what isn’t?  That’s what Daniel Levitin attempts to teach readers of his new book, “A Field Guide to Lies.”  Jeffrey Brown sits down with Levitin to learn how we can sift through the digital field of information.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain said that.

And imagine what he would make of the Internet, when everything is available and we’re sure we know so much.  But do we?

The Twain quote appears at the beginning of a new book titled “A Field Guide to Lies:  Critical Thinking in the Information Age.”

Our guide is Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist and bestselling author of books, including “This Is Your Brain on Music” and “The Organized Mind.”

And, Dan, welcome to you.

Your starting point, we’re bombarded with information, but it’s harder than ever to know what’s true.

DANIEL LEVITIN, Author, “A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age”:  We’re making more and more decisions every day.  I think a lot of us feel overloaded by the process.

And, as you say, it’s getting harder and harder to know, when you find things on the Internet, what you can believe and what you can’t.  And there isn’t really anybody doing it for us.

JEFFREY BROWN:  And you see this everywhere.  You go through both data, numbers, and — and, well, everything, right?


I mean, it’s in Facebook and in statistics and in things that politicians say.  And it’s in headlines.  It’s in representations that a salesman might make to you.  It’s everywhere.

JEFFREY BROWN:  It’s clearly annoying you, right, as a scientist.  You don’t — you just don’t like this world.


DANIEL LEVITIN:  Well, I like a world where each of us has the tools to be able to make able to make our own decisions.

I don’t think I’m always right, but I would like to empower people to come to sound conclusions using a systematic way of looking at things.

U.S. POLICY - Dangers of Isolationism

NOTE:  It was the isolation of the 1940's that tried to keep out of the war in Europe (aka WWII) that lead to being forced into the war with the bombing of Perl Harbor.

"Dangers of isolationism, Syria top Obama's last UN address" PBS NewsHour 9/20/2016


SUMMARY:  President Obama gave his final speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.  He spoke about the “growing contest” between authoritarianism and democracy in the face of terror and the refugee crisis.  He appealed to the world to do more for the millions fleeing war-torn countries and joined other leaders calling for a stop to the fighting in Syria.  Judy Woodruff reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  For the President today, a moment on the world stage at the United Nations one last time, his message no less than an urgent plea to make a better world.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  At this moment, we all face a choice.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  It was his final address to the U.N. General Assembly, and President Obama used it to issue a challenge.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  We can choose to press forward with a better model of cooperation and integration, or we can retreat into a world sharply divided and ultimately in conflict along age-old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  The President spoke of a growing contest between authoritarian rule and liberalism, and of people losing faith in the face of terrorism and the refugee crises.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  Given the difficulty in forging true democracy in the face of these pressures, it's no surprise that some argue the future favors the strong man, a top-down model, rather than strong democratic institutions.  But I believe this thinking is wrong.  I believe the road of true democracy remains the better path.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Mr. Obama appealed to the world to do more for the millions fleeing war-torn countries.  And he warned against the politics of Donald Trump, without mentioning the Republican nominee by name.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  The world is too small for us to simply be able to build a wall and prevent it from affecting our own societies.

MAN:  The prime minister of the United Kingdom.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Newly named British Prime Minister Theresa May, making her first address at the U.N. after her country's vote to leave the European Union, said Brexit was not a signal that Britain was retreating from its global responsibilities.

THERESA MAY, Prime Minister, United Kingdom:  They didn't vote to turn inward or walk away from any of our partners in the world.  Faced with challenges like migration, they demanded a politics that is more in touch with their concerns and bold action to address them.  But that action must be more global, not less.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  But for many leaders, Syria topped the agenda.  President Obama aimed strong criticism at the Syrians' main ally, Russia, for its aggressive moves there and in Ukraine.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  In a world that left the age of empire behind, we see Russia attempting to recover lost glory through force.  It may fuel nationalist fervor for a time, but, over time, it's also going to diminish its stature and make its borders less secure.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also forcefully denounced the Syrian regime, and its main backer, in his last address to the General Assembly.

FULL SPEECH (48:36):

DOCUMENTARY - "Defying the Nazis, The Sharps' War"

"How a Massachusetts couple saved thousands from Nazi death camps" PBS NewsHour 9/20/2016


SUMMARY:  It started with a school project: Interview someone with moral courage.  For Artemis Joukowsky, it became an enduring project to explore the life of his grandparents, Waitstill and Martha Sharp, who helped more than 2,000 people avoid deportation to Nazi death camps.  Judy Woodruff speaks with Joukowsky and Ken Burns, who tell the story of the Sharps in a new documentary.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  A new Ken Burns documentary airs tonight on PBS, and for this story, he co-directs with another filmmaker for whom the details are very personal.

I talked with the men at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about the cloak and dagger story behind “Defying the Nazis: The Sharps'  War.”

ACTOR:  A telephone rang, and it was probably the most momentous telephone call that I ever received.  I knew whose voice it was, the voice of my closest friend, Everett Baker.

He said, “Waitstill, Martha, I am inviting you to undertake the first intervention against evil by the denomination to be started immediately overseas.”

JUDY WOODRUFF:  And with that call in 1939, the life of unitarian minister Waitstill Sharp and his wife, Martha, would never be the same, nor would the world.

The Sharps, who lived in Wellesley, Massachusetts, were sent by their church to lead a secret and perilous rescue of refugees and dissidents in Europe before and after the start of World War II.  They directly helped over 100 people escape and had a part in helping over 2,000 people avoid deportation to Nazi death camps.

They expected to be gone for several months, and instead were gone two years.

MORDECAI PALDIEL, Holocaust Scholar:  They were motivated from the beginning to go out there into the kingdom of hell and try to get some people out.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  They left two young children at home.

Artemis Joukowsky is the grandson of the Sharps, and son of the Martha Sharp who was named after her courageous mother.

Artemis, this really has been almost a lifelong project for you, since you were, what, in high school?

ARTEMIS JOUKOWSKY, Co-Director, “Defying the Nazis”:  Yes, I was in ninth grade, and I was given an assignment to interview someone of moral courage.

And I went home and I said to my mom, “Who should I interview?”

She said:  “Talk to your grandmother.  She did some cool things during World War II.”

And that interview changed my life.

AMERICA POLITICS 2016- Going Insane?

"Is this ‘syndrome' causing American political dysfunction?" PBS NewsHour 9/19/2016


SUMMARY:  Has our political system gone crazy?  Jonathan Rauch thinks so.  In a recent piece for the Atlantic, Rauch explores what he calls “chaos syndrome” in Washington: government stagnation, he argues, is resulting from politicians' inability to compromise, combined with constant calls for transparency.  Judy Woodruff speaks with Rauch about the history of American politics and where they stand today.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Almost everyone agrees American politics has become more chaotic in recent years, that it's changed, and not always for the better.

Scholar Jonathan Rauch has a theory about why, and he shares it in a recent article for “The Atlantic” magazine.

JONATHAN RAUCH, The Atlantic:  The article is about what I call “chaos syndrome.”

And that is the steady decline in the ability of the political systems to organize itself whether in campaigns, or in government.  People think that politics just somehow magically organizes itself.  It doesn't work that way.  You need to assemble these huge coalitions of 535 politicians on Capitol Hill, and tens of thousands of interest groups, and tens of millions of voters, and assemble all those in government to get stuff done.

That requires a lot of middlemen and a lot of people in between doing a lot of bargaining and negotiation.  You cut those people out, you get chaos.

What we have done over the last 40 or 50 years is systematically attacked and weakened the parties, the political machines, the professionals, and insiders, and hacks, and all the tools that they use to get politicians to play well together.  And with those gone, you get chaos.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  What was it that worked, about what you see as the kind of ideal or close-to-ideal political system in this country?

JONATHAN RAUCH:  Starting in, really, the very beginning of the republic, we began building parties with political machines and hierarchies and things like seniority systems on Capitol Hill.

So, there were people to call when you had to get stuff done.  And if Judy needed Jonathan to vote on a bill in Congress to keep the government open or raise the debt limit or do something for the team, Judy could call me up and say, you know, if you do that, you're going to get money for your campaign, you're going to have an easy reelection campaign, you're going to get that extra runway for the airport in your district, we're going to be able to make this deal behind closed doors.

You could do all that stuff.  Virtually all of that stuff now is difficult or impossible.  And all you can do is beg me, and I say, why should I do any of that?  It's just going to get me in trouble in my district.

Here we are.
JUDY WOODRUFF:  President Obama’s crowning legislative achievement came early in his first term, in 2010.  Soon after, Democrats lost their majority in the House.  Then, in 2011, the President attempted to negotiate the so-called grand bargain budget bill with Republican House Speaker John Boehner.  This time, the results were different.

JONATHAN RAUCH:  We were really this close to a very good budget deal in which both parties, and conservatives, and liberals, were all going to give something, and we would have substantially reduced long-term deficits, reduced entitlement spending, raised taxes some, the kind of package that ultimately pretty much everyone agrees we’re going to have to do in order to solve our long-term fiscal problems.

The speaker of the House, John Boehner, wanted to do it, but he could not get his own caucus organized enough to back him up on it.  And that’s when I realized that the groups of obstructionists were now able to basically hold the system to ransom.

TERROR AT HOME - New York, New Jersey

"Bombing suspect arrested, but New York security still elevated" PBS NewsHour 9/19/2016


SUMMARY:  Following a shootout, New York police apprehended their suspect for Saturday's actual and attempted bombings in New York and New Jersey.  Twenty-eight-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan, was seized after being recognized sleeping in the doorway of a New Jersey bar.  Earlier in the day, a text message alert urged New Yorkers to call 911 if they saw him.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  They say they've got their man.  Now they're trying to figure out his motive.  An arrest this morning in New Jersey has ended a manhunt in a series of bombings and attempted bombings around New York City and New Jersey.

MAN:  That's definitely him.

GWEN IFILL:  Ahmad Khan Rahami was loaded into an ambulance, bloody and dazed after a gun battle with police.  The 28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan was captured in Linden, New Jersey, after he was recognized sleeping in the doorway of a bar.

That was just hours after police sent text alerts to millions in the New York metro area to be on the lookout for him.  After the shoot-out, in which two police officers and the suspect were injured, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio firmly labeled the bombings terrorism.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, New York City:  We have so more much information obviously than we even had a few hours ago.  Based on the information we have now, we have every reason to believe this was an act of terror.

GWEN IFILL:  It all began on Saturday morning in a bomb attack in the beach town of Seaside Park, New Jersey, before a charity race to benefit Marines.  No one was injured there.

Later that night, in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, another bomb went off, injuring 29 people.  Surveillance video allegedly caught Rahami planting the device.  A second device, made from a pressure cooker filled with shrapnel, was found undetonated a few blocks away.

And last night, five more pipe bombs were found at a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  As robots worked to dismantle them, one exploded suddenly.  Officials linked all of the attacks to Rahami, but offered limited details about how they made that connection.

But, with Rahami as a named suspect, police descended on his family home in Elizabeth.

MAN:  He's a very friendly guy.  That's what's so scary.  It's hard when it's home.  They never seemed out of the ordinary.  They were just Americanized.  You would have never known anything.

"The challenge of recognizing radicalization before it’s too late" PBS NewsHour 9/19/2016


SUMMARY:  The suspect behind this weekend’s bombings has been apprehended; now authorities are trying to figure out what motivated him and whether he acted alone.  Judy Woodruff talks to George Washington University’s Lorenzo Vidino and former Department of Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem about what the investigation has uncovered so far and how we can try to prevent future attacks.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Juliette, what do you make of the fact that we learned late this afternoon his family moved to the United States in 1995?  We figured he would have been 7 years old then.

ELECTION 2016 - Standards of Judgment

"Are Clinton and Trump judged by different standards?" PBS NewsHour 9/19/2016


SUMMARY:  Mirroring their dissimilar campaigns, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump responded very differently to Saturday's bombings, with Clinton emphasizing her experience and Trump focusing on immigration.  But even when they're discussing the same issues, are the candidates evaluated according to separate standards? Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report and NPR's Tamara Keith join Gwen Ifill to discuss.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  And with 50 days left until Election Day, we turn to Politics Monday with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR.

Tam, let's talk about what the candidates had to say on the attacks.  First, we hear Hillary Clinton trying to sound knowledgeable and Donald Trump trying to sound strong.  Which of them wins the day on days like today?

TAMARA KEITH, NPR:  And this is really a microcosm of the campaign.

Donald Trump comes out, and he says things that are big and bold and in some ways controversial, saying maybe we need to bring back profiling and profiling at mosques possibly, and says that ISIS wants Hillary Clinton to win.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton comes out and says, I was in the Situation Room, I have all these plans, I've got a plan for ISIS.

And this is the way the campaign goes, you know, day after day after day.

GWEN IFILL:  And yet, Amy, you write this week that when Hillary Clinton trips and falls, stumbles, it's because she's encountering headwinds of her own making.

AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report:  Yes, I think that this race right now is coming down to the structural advantages that Hillary Clinton has, but she has some enthusiasm problems.

Donald Trump is trying to face off the structural disadvantages.  And unpacking that, what I mean, is, yes, she's had a very tough week, and — or actually maybe a week-and-a-half.

ELECTION 2016 - The Day Trump Went to War

"The Night President Obama Took On Donald Trump" Frontline 9/27/2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016

MUSIC - Zydeco

Just discovered "Buckwheat Zydeco"

"Though disputed, it is commonly suggested that 'zydeco' derives from the French phrase Les haricots ne sont pas salés, which, when spoken in the Louisiana Creole French, sounds as 'leh-zy-dee-co nuh sohn pah salay.'  This literally translates as 'the snap beans aren't salty' but idiomatically as 'I have no spicy news for you.'  The earliest recorded use of the term may have been the country and western musical group called Zydeco Skillet Lickers who recorded the song It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo in 1929." - Wikipedia

Monday, September 19, 2016

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 9/16/2016

"Shields and Brooks on Trump's 'birther' lie, Clinton's 'deplorables' effect" PBS NewsHour 9/16/2016


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week's news, including Donald Trump's admittance -- after five years of sowing doubt -- that President Obama is a natural-born citizen, plus Hillary Clinton's characterization of some Trump supporters as “deplorables” and the tightening national polls.

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

Welcome back, gentlemen.

MARK SHIELDS:  Thank you, Judy.

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

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

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

MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist:  I'm not absolutely sure.

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

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

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

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

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


DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  Well, I agree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RETHINKING COLLEGE - Georgetown University & Skills-Based Boot Camps

"Giving students a leg up with job skills a resume won't show" PBS NewsHour 9/15/2016


SUMMARY:  When applying to a job out of college, having a top-notch resume isn't enough anymore.  College graduates from top schools apply alongside dozens of similarly qualified candidates.  In light of new hiring trends, a program at Georgetown University aims to make their students the best candidates possible, by teaching them skills that will give them a leg up on the job hunt.  Hari Sreenivasan reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now, what specific skills employers want from college graduates, and what a college can do to prove students are ready.

Hari Sreenivasan has the story as part of our special series this week on Rethinking College.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Graduation day at Georgetown University.  It takes four years, more than $200,000, and a lot of hard work to get here.

But now more employers are asking, what does a four-year degree really mean?  What true marketable skills can new graduates offer the work force?

Georgetown University is trying to answer that question.

RANDALL BASS, Professor, Georgetown University:  We're hearing from employers, how do you differentiate between two graduates?

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Professor Randall Bass leads the college's Designing the Future Initiative.

RANDALL BASS:  If you have got a pile of 10 graduates who all have degrees from quality liberal arts schools, and they all look more or less alike in terms of their formal credentials, are there ways to differentiate them?

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Last semester, Bass and colleagues at Georgetown offered a free experimental course for students who want to further distinguish themselves.  Instead of receiving a traditional credit, students who meet the requirements are awarded a digital badge.

RANDALL BASS:  What we see in the badges is a way of trying to help students tell a story about some dimension of their learning that might otherwise be merely a line on their resume.

ERIKA COHEN-DERR, Student Engagement, Georgetown University:  It's easy with a degree to show what you have learned in biology or in business.  But it's not easy to show what you have learned in terms of leadership.

"Why high-tech boot camps are appealing to students and lenders" PBS NewsHour 9/16/2016


SUMMARY:  To get a job with a good salary, having a college degree is increasingly vital.  But degrees are also more and more expensive, and don't guarantee job placement.  Skills-based boot camps may provide one solution, by teaching valuable skills in a short period of time.  And support for computer coding camps is flourishing, both from private investors and the government.  Hari Sreenivasan reports.

WOMEN - Forced Marriage, the Marriage of Kings

"Uncovering the problem of forced marriage in the U.S." PBS NewsHour 9/14/2016

aka "The downside of conservative, male chauvinist, religion."


SUMMARY:  She was never verbally or physically threatened or restrained.  But at age 19, Nina Van Harn felt like she couldn't say no when she was expected to marry a man chosen by her family.  And she is not alone in her experience.  In a two-year period, it's estimated that there were 3,000 such forced marriage cases in the United States.  Special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reports.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, special correspondent :  For Nina Van Harn, raising her children today is a radical departure from her own upbringing.

NINA VAN HARN, Married at 19:  My childhood was part magical, and part complicated.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON:  She was raised in rural Michigan on a 40-acre farm in a tight-knit community that practiced a conservative form of evangelical Christianity.  Its members largely kept to themselves, more “Little House on the Prairie” than modern-day America.

Growing up, she always knew one day was coming.  She recorded its arrival in her diary.

NINA VAN HARN:  “Dear Kit (ph)” — that was the name of the girl in the journal — “You will never guess what happened today.  This morning after breakfast, papa sat Naomi (ph) and I down at the kitchen table and nailed us both with a load of bricks.  He believes he found husbands for both of us.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON:  Van Harn had turned 19.  She was legally an adult.  There was no gun to her head, no chains around her wrists.  But because of lifelong pressures from her family and her upbringing, she considers herself one of thousands of American women and girls forced into marriage each year.

NINA VAN HARN:  I knew that I wasn't going to say no.  This was God's will.  God had spoken.  And it was just not even an option.  I didn't think consciously in my head 'I'm being forced.'

THE MEGA CORP - Are They Going the Way of Dinosaurs?

"Will mega-corporations give way to a local manufacturing renaissance?" PBS NewsHour 9/15/2016


SUMMARY:  Big companies today aren't creating nearly as many middle-class jobs.  Instead they're hiring out much of the work to contractors around the world.  But what if we could reverse engineer our technology to bring about a new era of local manufacturing in the U.S.?  Economics correspondent Paul Solman talks with Jerry Davis, author of the new book “The Vanishing American Corporation.”

PAUL SOLMAN (NewsHour):  A must-see stop on the grand tour of decaying Detroit, the plant that, for decades, clanked out auto chassis for GM.

GERALD DAVIS, University of Michigan:  General Motors at its height had 900,000 employees, career ladders galore.  They were providing a lot of benefits, creating good middle-class jobs.  GM today has about 220,000 employees around the world.  It's about as many as it had in 1928.

PAUL SOLMAN:  But sociologist Jerry Davis says the GMs of yesteryear, though models of productivity and even of economic equality, are history.

JERRY DAVIS:  What happened to General Motors didn't just happen to General Motors.  There are about half as many public corporations today as they were 20 years ago.

PAUL SOLMAN:  So, instead of General Motors, U.S. Steel, Eastman Kodak, and I could go on and on, what have we got?

JERRY DAVIS:  The big corporations today don't really have that many employees.  They're not providing career ladders.  They're not creating middle-class jobs.  Blockbuster had 80,000 employees and 9,000 stores across the country.  Netflix does the same thing with fewer than 4,000 people.

If anybody tells you they work at Facebook, probably they mean they are a contractor, because only about 12,000 people actually work at Facebook.  They are worth $300 billion, but very few people actually work there.

PAUL SOLMAN:  In a new book, Davis calls it the vanishing American corporation and poses a pivotal question:  What will rise from the wreckage?  Mega-firms that hire relatively few workers?  Made-anywhere product peddlers like Nike?

JERRY DAVIS:  They're the biggest sneaker and sporting goods company in the world, but they don't actually make most of the stuff with their name brand on it.  They design it, they market it from Oregon, but the production is done by contractors all around the world.  And that model is spread widely.

It's not just sneakers, it's not just garments.  Electronics, pharmaceuticals, pet food, you name the product, and you can find somebody to manufacture it and put your name on it.

HACKING THE CAMPAIGN - Election System Vulnerabilities

"How hackers could prey on election vulnerabilities" PBS NewsHour 9/15/2016


SUMMARY:  This week, emails written by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, which were critical of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, appeared on a website that's reportedly an outlet for hackers tied to Russia.  Judy Woodruff speaks with Dmitri Alperovitch of Crowdstrike and David Sanger of The New York Times about the recent wave of hacks tied to the presidential campaign and the impact on the election.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  This year's political campaign has a new and different wrinkle.  Cyber-hacking has led to regular public releases of documents and private e-mails involving the political parties and key players.

The Democrats are the most frequent targets.  But it's not only them.

The list of election season cyber-attacks is growing.  The latest target, former Secretary of State Colin Powell.  A trove of his e-mails appeared online this week after his personal account was hacked.  In one referring to GOP nominee Donald Trump and black voters, Powell wrote, “He takes us for idiots.”

Another referred to Democrat Hillary Clinton as greedy, not transformational.  The messages were posted on a site that's reportedly an outlet for hackers tied to Russia.

Clinton today did blame the Russians.  The White House wasn't saying.

JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:  We don't necessarily want to reveal sources and methods that the FBI uses to conduct these kinds of investigations.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  All of this follows the July release of thousands of Democratic National Committee e-mails.  They were published on WikiLeaks just before the Democratic Convention.  And on Tuesday, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to more DNC files.  The Web site's founder, Julian Assange, claimed in an interview with the NewsHour last month that it's done in the public interest.

JULIAN ASSANGE, Founder, WikiLeaks:  And that performs an ongoing role leading to great works in investigative journalism, successful court cases, civil litigation, criminal process, and, of course, also contributes to public understanding.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Meanwhile, Politico reports hackers are also targeting state Democratic officials.  And congressman Michael McCaul, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, says Republican operatives have been hacked as well.

Still, in Washington yesterday, the president's homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, played down any threat to the integrity of the election, but added:

LISA MONACO, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security:  The efforts of malicious actors to intrude upon voter registration databases and other elements of our critical infrastructure, as well as our voting infrastructure, is of concern.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  The White House says if there is a response to the hacking, it may not be announced in advance, or ever.

For a deeper look at the actors and the politics behind the hacks, we turn to Dmitri Alperovitch.  He's co-founder and chief technology officer at CrowdStrike.  That's the cyber-security firm that investigated online breaches of the Democratic Party over the summer.  And David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times.

HEALTH - 'How to Sweeten Profits' by Sugar Industry

A 'Greed File'

"How the sugar industry paid experts to downplay health risks" PBS NewsHour 9/13/2016


SUMMARY:  Researchers have discovered documents showing that the sugar industry paid researchers to downplay the health risks of sugar and play up the risks of saturated fat in the 1960s.  Gwen Ifill speaks with Marion Nestle of New York University about the revelations, the health impacts of consuming sugar and the complexities of studying nutrition.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  Now, how the sugar industry paid experts to downplay health risks.

Researchers have discovered documents showing the industry tried to influence scientific studies back in the 1960s.  Early studies had found a link between sugar and fat and heart disease, but it now appears that the sugar industry paid two Harvard professors to point the finger elsewhere.

At the time, it wasn't routine to disclose such conflicts.

Marion Nestle wrote an editorial about the latest research in “JAMA,” “The Journal of the American Medical Association.”  She's an author and professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University.

Welcome, Marion Nestle.

Let's start by a few…

MARION NESTLE, New York University:  Well, glad to be here.

GWEN IFILL:  Let's start with a few definitions.

What was the Sugar Research Foundation?

MARION NESTLE:  Well, this was a trade association for the growers of sugarcane and sugar beets.  It's now called the Sugar Association.  So it's a trade group.

Its job is to promote the sales of sugar and to lobby to make sure that nobody does anything regulatory to reduce the consumption of sugar.  It's a trade group.

GWEN IFILL:  So, yes.  So, when all the years when we were being told that fat and cholesterol were the prime culprits in obesity and early death and heart disease, it turns out that sugar also played a big role.

MARION NESTLE:  Well, it did.

If you look at the epidemiology, at the time, it was clear that both sugar and fat were risk factors for coronary artery disease.  But these investigators at Harvard who were paid by the Sugar Research Foundation kind of cherry-picked the data and minimized the problems with sugar and maximized the problems with saturated fat.  And that was exactly what the Sugar Association wanted them to do, as the documents show.

GWEN IFILL:  So, the goal here was to sway public opinion, in much the same way that the tobacco industry did?

MARION NESTLE:  Yes, it followed the playbook of the tobacco industry.

The number one playbook rule is, the first thing you do is you attack the science, you cast doubt on the science.  “Merchants of Doubt,” the book and the movie, explain all that.  And the Sugar Association was doing exactly that.

It was trying to get researchers to produce research that would minimize a role for sugar and shift the blame elsewhere.  And they were very frank about what they wanted, and the investigators agreed that was what they were going to do.  Pretty shocking.


"A mentoring program that aims to keep Latino males in school" PBS NewsHour 9/13/2016


SUMMARY:  On college campuses, Latino males are perhaps the most underrepresented group.  These men are often expected to provide for their families, which can mean a choice between getting an education and getting a job.  Hari Sreenivasan reports as part of our Rethinking College series on one program that's trying to combat the issue by creating mentorship opportunities.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now to the second installment of our week-long series on ideas to transform higher education for students and provide new opportunities.

Tonight, Hari Sreenivasan reports why some Latino males are being urged to turn down a job today in favor of four years of college tomorrow.

JUAN LOPEZ, Graduate Student, University of Texas:  The series is called Rethinking College, and it's part of our weekly education coverage, Making the grade.

MAN:  If I can have the mentors on one side and the mentees on another.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Graduate student Juan Lopez wants to bring to college campuses what he sees as largely missing, Latino males.

JUAN LOPEZ:  They're not seen as people who will succeed, especially minority males of color.

I want to go to college.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  So, on this day, Lopez and undergraduates from the university of Texas at Austin are mentoring high school freshman boys as part of an initiative called Project MALES.

JUAN LOPEZ:  Undergraduates mentor high school students.  Graduate students mentor undergraduate students.


"The U.S. just got a big pay raise.  Why don't we feel it?" PBS NewsHour 9/13/2016


SUMMARY:  It's a major issue on the campaign trail:  American angst about jobs and wages.  New census data from last year shows that for the first time in almost a decade, household incomes in the U.S. have gone up and the poverty rate has gone down.  Lisa Desjardins takes a look at those numbers and at why many Americans feel like they are inconsistent with their experiences.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  This campaign has often focused on the question of economic growth, jobs and wages, particularly for the middle class.

Well, today, there was some good news on that front, as well as for lower-income households.

Lisa Desjardins looks at those latest numbers, and why so many Americans say they don't square with their own experiences.

LISA DESJARDINS (NewsHour):  It is a triple hit of good economic news.  New census data showed that, last year, median income rose 5.2 percent, the number of Americans living in poverty shrank by 3.5 million people, and the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped.

SOUTH SUDAN - Looting the Wealth

"South Sudan leaders used chaos of war to loot billions, investigation reveals" PBS NewsHour 9/12/2016


SUMMARY:  Founded in 2011, South Sudan is the world's newest country; but for much of its statehood, it has been engulfed in civil war.  The violence has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than two million people.  A report released on Monday by rights group The Sentry accuses South Sudanese political leaders of making a fortune off the conflict.  The NewsHour's P.J.  Tobia reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  South Sudan is the world's newest country, gaining independence from Sudan in 2011.

But, two years later, civil war broke out in the small East African nation.  Though a peace agreement was signed in 2015, sporadic fighting continues.  Millions have been displaced, while rival leaders fight for power and the country's oil and mineral wealth.

A two-year-long investigation into those leaders and their allies revealed billions have been looted from the country.

NewsHour producer P.J.  Tobia has our story

And a warning:  Some viewers may find some of the imagery disturbing.

P.J.  TOBIA, NewsHour producer:  Small, poor and dangerous, the U.N. has called South Sudan one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world.

Fighters loyal to the president, Salva Kiir, have been battling those backing former Vice President Riek Machar for most of the last four years.  Caught in the crossfire are Sudan's impoverished civilians.  More than two million South Sudanese have been displaced by the fighting.  Tens of thousands have been killed.

The U.N. found that, in just six months last year, 1,300 women were raped by fighters in one South Sudanese state alone.  A report released today by The Sentry, a rights group in Washington, accuses the leaders who've orchestrated this brutality of making billions off the conflict.  Actor George Clooney wrote the foreword to the report.  “Hotel Rwanda” star Don Cheadle also works with The Sentry.  Both were at the National Press Club this morning to talk about the investigation.

GEORGE CLOONEY, Co-Founder, “The Sentry”:  This is pretty explosive stuff.  We're talking about the president and the ousted vice president, along with all of their generals, that we're able to prove without any question that not only are they committing these crimes which they have already been accused of, but that they're profiting off of it.

P.J.  TOBIA:  The report outlines how South Sudan's political leaders, generals and their families have used the chaos of war to generate vast sums of wealth.  They have built mansions across the world, from Uganda and Kenya to Australia.

That young woman flashing the peace sign from the sunroof of a BMW?  She's the daughter of a former general, a former general whose state salary was never more than 45,000 U.S. dollars.

This man is the stepson of another South Sudanese general.  He calls himself the young tycoon.  His Facebook photos show a life of privilege unimaginable to most South Sudanese.  Here, he narrates a tour of a presidential suite at a luxury hotel in Las Vegas.

JOHN PRENDERGAST, Enough Project:  So, it's like a mafia in some ways.  A mafia has taken over the state.

P.J.  TOBIA:  John Prendergast is the director of the Enough Project, a rights group that oversees The Sentry group.

JOHN PRENDERGAST:  The mafia we see in the movies, that is shooting a few people.  In South Sudan, tens of thousands of people have died in this war, with horrific atrocities, mass rape, child soldier recruitment, all the worst of the worst of the human rights abuses that we hear about globally.  And this is how they stay in power.


"One college turns its football field into a farm and sees its students transform" PBS NewsHour 9/12/2016


SUMMARY:  At Paul Quinn College, where once there was a football field, now there's an organic farm.  It's not just a symbol of renewal for this once-struggling historically black college in Dallas; it's where students work to pay tuition.  As part of our Rethinking College series, Hari Sreenivasan explores how students learn to understand the expectations of a career while gaining a liberal arts education.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  Now we begin a special week-long look at the ways that some schools, educators and leaders are trying to transform higher education.  The goal? To prepare students for the modern work force.

The series is called Rethinking College, part of PBS' Spotlight Education initiative, which features special programming examining today's challenges.

Tonight, Hari Sreenivasan visits Dallas, where an innovative college president is growing a new kind of student.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  At a Texas college, a football field that was turned into a farm.

MAN:  We need to harvest about 10 pounds of radishes.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  The Tigers of Paul Quinn College lost more football games than they won on this field.  So, nine years ago, when the historically black college on the South Side of Dallas was in financial crisis and had a 1 percent graduation rate, a new president turned everything over, including the football field.

So, did you envision this when you first saw the football field and the…

MICHAEL SORRELL, President, Paul Quinn College:  No, no.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Michael Sorrell had no experience running a college.  He had been a lawyer and White House special assistant, but he knew Paul Quinn couldn't afford a football program.

MICHAEL SORRELL:  There's more than one field of dreams, all right?  Why should we tie everyone's future to athletic success?

HARI SREENIVASAN:  He turned the football field into an organic farm that generates more than 20,000 pounds of organic vegetables every year, veggies that make it into high-end restaurants and into the Dallas Cowboys' stadium.

MICHAEL SORRELL:  I think this has saved our school.  It saved it because it changed the narrative of the institution.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

PICS OF THE WEEK - Politics and 'Toy'

Basket of the REAL Deplorables

Na, don't believe's a plushy toy.

Monday, September 12, 2016

PRAYER FOR 9/11/2001 - Bette Midler "Wind Beneath My Wings"

WOW!!  A Prayer for New York City

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 9/9/2016

"Shields and Brooks on high stakes for debate moderators, a dead heat in the polls" PBS NewsHour 9/9/2016


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the presidential candidates' performances on NBC's “Commander-in-Chief Forum,” as well as that of the forum moderator, plus possible explanations for a tightening in the presidential polls and more.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  But, first, the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Welcome to you both.  It's good to see you again.

Let's talk about the presidential campaign.

David, we saw the two candidates together at the same place this week, but not at the same time, at this televised forum that NBC sponsored.  What did you make of it, of their performance and what they had to say?

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  I thought they both lost.  I thought America lost.  Humanity lost.  A little piece of my soul died.  I thought they…


DAVID BROOKS:  I thought they both did poorly.

I thought she was evasive and cross and looked like she was imperious and was angry to be challenged.  She had plenty of information, but not a lot of relatability and not a lot of humanity and not a lot of vision for foreign policy.

He (Trump), if anything, was a little worse.  He is, and as he has wont to do, said about six ridiculous things.  The admiration for Putin is of long standing.  But to me, the thing that really made me think was his claim that in Iraq we should have left a core of people to take the oil.

Now, that is — first of all, it's impractical, but it's also moral idiocy.  Maybe you're selfish and you think, oh, I got some oil and I got some guns, I should take it.  But if you go through any realm of education, which is what we try to do with people, you learn that that's called imperialism, that's called plunder.  It's morally wrong.  It ruins your credibility.

The idea that a big country is going to go out and send troops into some country to take their resources, and then the rest of the world is going to somehow trust us is just a ridiculous notion.

And so he says things that are just plainly ridiculous.  But — so that's why was so depressed.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, Mark, humanity lost as a result of this encounter or this performance this week?


MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist:  Judy, I wasn't — it wasn't Lincoln-Douglas.


MARK SHIELDS:  And most importantly of all, I think David's point about the oil is well-taken.  I think it's valid and I think it's true.

That is not the United States.  That is pillaging.  That is the worst form of imperialism that he's describing.  It would mean leaving thousands of Americans there to protect the oil drilling.  I mean, it just is — it's indefensible on logistical, moral and political grounds.

But that aside, I think what it did — and you have moderated debates.  I have never moderated a debate, Judy, for good reason.  But I think it's raised this — Wednesday night, partially because of the unflattering press reaction to Matt Lauer's performance, has raised the stakes for the moderator, who is now put on notice, all of them, that they are not entitled in 2016 to sit there while somebody makes a statement that is factually untrue and is — can be proven false, as Mr. Trump did when he, in fact, said that he had always opposed the United States' war in Iraq.

And I just think that — it's tough to be a moderator.  But I think that, given this campaign and the questions about the integrity and honesty of the candidates, and the great doubts about them, I think that is now part of the job description.

Geesh... David, tell us how you feel.


REMINDER:  "The Korean Armistice Agreement is the armistice which ended the Korean War.  It was signed by U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Harrison, Jr. representing the United Nations Command (UNC), North Korean General Nam Il representing the Korean People's Army, and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army.  The armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, and was designed to "insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved."  No "final peaceful settlement" has been achieved yet.  The signed armistice established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (de facto a new border between the two nations), put into force a cease-fire, and finalized repatriation of prisoners of war.  The Demilitarized Zone runs not far from the 38th parallel, which separated North and South Korea before the war." - Wikipedia

But the armistice did NOT mean the end of the Korean War.  We are essentially still at war with North Korea.

IMO the United States should remind North Korea that using, or even building nuclear weapons, IS an act of war.  The United States should be discussing making a NEW declaration of war against North Korea, and emphasize the consequences of nuclear arms.  The threat of Nuclear weapons are not to be minimized.  Failing to make this case, and act on it, would be as bad as President Obama not wiping out Assad's tanks and aircraft at the start of the Syrian war.

"Does U.S. policy toward North Korea need to change?" PBS NewsHour 9/9/2016

SUMMARY:  North Korea launched its most powerful nuclear test yet, the country’s fifth since 2006 and its second this year.  Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports on the diplomatic fallout and Judy Woodruff talks to former State Department official Greg Thielmann and former National Security Council official Gary Samore about the country’s nuclear capabilities and the global implications.

ECONOMY - Waves of Change

"How one U.S.  company is trying to surf the tides of foreign trade" PBS NewsHour 9/8/2016


SUMMARY:  Trade has become a major theme of this year's presidential race -- how it affects jobs, wages and manufacturing in the United States.  Economics correspondent Paul Solman takes a look at one California-based surfboard company that has been bruised by its Chinese competition, and how the effects of foreign trade have impacted politics.

PAUL SOLMAN (NewsHour):  In San Clemente, California, Brad Parks and Shad Eischen, confined to wheelchairs since their teens, about to shred the surf.

SHAD EISCHEN, Surfer:  I figured, if I'm still alive now, you know, this is the least thing that's going to worry me.

PAUL SOLMAN:  OK, sit-down surfing on a waveski, but plenty of challenge if you're paraplegic.

BRAD PARKS, Surfer:  I'm having just a blast out here just meeting new guys and being down here and surfing.

PAUL SOLMAN:  The man who designed and shaped their Waveskis is surfing legend Steve Boehne, who regular viewers might recall complaining about unfair trade here on the “NewsHour” three years ago.

STEVE BOEHNE, Founder, Infinity Surfboards:  Ninety-five percent of the boards being sold in the world weren't made by us in California, who started the surfboard industry.  They're being made in other countries.  And so my workers are competing for a job against a guy in another country who's making a 10th of his wages.

PAUL SOLMAN:  This has become a main theme of this year's presidential campaign.  But it turns out Steve Boehne was ahead of the curve, or at least ahead of most economists, who have argued since Adam Smith that trade is the key to economic growth by spurring competition and thus lowering prices, and arguing that, in our era, technology replaces jobs, not cheap foreign labor.

GORDON HANSON, Economist, University of California, San Diego:  But as we went into the 2000s, with the rise of China, the situation changed.

PAUL SOLMAN:  It's what economist Gordon Hanson learned from a soon-to-be published academic study he co-authored,  that Chinese imports really did hurt U.S.  wages and employment, but selectively.

GORDON HANSON:  What we were surprised by was that those effects were not distributed kind of broadly and evenly across blue-collar workers in the United States, but really concentrated on industries and workers and communities that produce goods that compete in the same arenas that China does.