Monday, October 31, 2016

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 10/28/2016

"Shields and Brooks on the election's ‘parity of sleaze'" PBS NewsHour 10/28/2016

COMMENT:  Love the "Party of Sleaze"


SUMMARY:  In the wake of a new FBI investigation into emails from Hillary Clinton's aides and more sexual assault accusations against Donald Trump, syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss a campaign environment of "sleaze" and the election's outlook.  But they also take a break from politics to consider the exciting Cubs-Indians World Series.

WOMEN - Sexual-Assault Survivor Bill of Rights

"The woman behind the sexual-assault survivor ‘bill of rights'" PBS NewsHour 10/28/2016

IMHO:  This is OUTRAGEOUS!  And supports the knuckle-dragging-male view of women as ONLY sexual objects that should not be respected.


SUMMARY:  Rape kits are essential evidence for prosecuting sexual assault.  But in many parts of the country, they're destroyed after six months.  While assault victims can fight to preserve them longer, that information isn't necessarily shared.  It's an issue Amanda Nguyen took to Capitol Hill, yielding the first time the phrase "sexual assault survivor" has appeared in federal law.  John Yang reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  How one woman's struggle to protect evidence in her rape case led to the start of a movement — and now, a new federal law.

John Yang has her story.

AMANDA NGUYEN, Sexual Assault Survivor:  Over and over again, I started discovering is a system that is so broken.

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  For sexual assault survivors like Amanda Nguyen, this small box has the tremendous power to deliver justice and bring closure.  It's a rape kit.  Inside are the tools to collect and store the evidence to track down and prosecute an assailant.

AMANDA NGUYEN:  Rape is notorious for being under reported, and it's because survivors are faced with a system that is stacked so high against them.

JOHN YANG:  Amanda was assaulted in 2013 when she was in college in Massachusetts.  Rape kits are automatically destroyed in that state after six months unless the victim asks for an extension.  And how do they do that?

AMANDA NGUYEN:  The catch is that there's no information given on how to extend it, and the greater catch is that there's no way to actually extend it.

JOHN YANG:  Even after she filled out the proper forms, the bureaucratic confusion continued.

AMANDA NGUYEN:  I found out that, against an extension put into place, my kit was wrongly removed from the forensic lab and almost destroyed.  So, even if I have played by their game, it still is broken.

JOHN YANG:  After that, Amanda began asking questions.  She learned that, in most states, police can legally destroy rape kits well before the statute of limitations runs out.

AMANDA NGUYEN:  What that literally means is that, if I was raped in a state that doesn't destroy kits, like California, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, then this wouldn't have happened to me, and it's just because Massachusetts doesn't have those rights.

JOHN YANG:  An activist was born.

AMANDA NGUYEN:  I had a choice.  I could accept injustice or rewrite the law.  And one of these things is a lot better than the other.  My mission is simple:  Fix the patchwork of rights.

ELECTION 2016 - FBI Interferes With Election Process, Again

COMMENT:  As many have implied, including those within the FBI, James Comely is interfering with our election process, weather he intended to or not.  He has become a (unwitting?) Trump supporter.

"FBI to investigate new batch of server-related Clinton emails" PBS NewsHour 10/28/2016

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Call it an October surprise.  Today's FBI statement about Hillary Clinton's emails roiled the presidential race, just 11 days before the election.  Donald Trump pounced.  The Clinton camp demanded more information.

Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

LISA DESJARDINS (NewsHour):  Hillary Clinton landed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to campaign, but was greeted by the news that the FBI is reviewing newly found emails linked the private server she used as secretary of state.

In a letter to congressional chairmen, FBI Director James Comey said:  “An unrelated investigation turned up emails that appear pertinent to the Clinton case.” He said he agreed with his team to allow investigators to review the emails and determine whether they contain classified information, as well as assess their importance.

The candidate herself did not respond to shouted questions, and did not address it at her rally, sticking with her stump speech.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  Everyone working across the state are going to make sure that we win Iowa.


LISA DESJARDINS:  Clinton's campaign chairman did send out a statement this afternoon calling the timing of the announcement extraordinary and urging the FBI to give more details about the emails in question, stressing that it's not clear if these emails are significant.

In Manchester, New Hampshire:

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  That I heard 10 minutes ago.

LISA DESJARDINS:  The news was certainly significant to Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP:  We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.


DONALD TRUMP:  I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made.

LISA DESJARDINS:  This the same day that Clinton hoped to focus on other areas, like debuting a new television ad featuring President Obama.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  These last eight years is on the ballot.

LISA DESJARDINS:  And the Clinton camp had good news on the fund-raising front, as Donald Trump faced new money questions, especially about his repeated pledges to personally finance his campaign, like this from two days ago.

DONALD TRUMP:  I will have over $100 million in the campaign.  And I'm prepared to go much more than that.

LISA DESJARDINS:  But new fund-raising reports show the total Trump personally donated to the campaign was $56 million as of just over a week ago.  His contributions dropped in October to a total of $31,000 for the first three weeks of this month.

What might matter more is how much Trump's campaign has on hand.  It's $16 million according to the report.  That compares with $62 million in Hillary Clinton's war chest.  Today, Trump said he is writing a $10 million check to his campaign.  That is a big boost, but it still leaves a more than 2-1 money gap.

Meanwhile, key Senate races are winding up with a contentious New Hampshire Senate debate last night and a headline-making face-off in Illinois.  Democratic Congresswoman and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth had spoken of her family's history of military service going back to the Revolutionary War.

That prompted this from incumbent Republican Mark Kirk:

SEN.  MARK KIRK (R-Ill.):  I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.

LISA DESJARDINS:  Duckworth's mother is a Thai immigrant.  Her father's family does go back to the nation's founding.  Kirk later apologized.

With a week-and-a-half left, the twists and turns of campaign 2016 keep coming.

For the PBS NewsHour, I'm Lisa Desjardins.

"Interpreting the FBI's announcement on Clinton's private server" PBS NewsHour 10/28/2016


SUMMARY:  Director James Comey announced the FBI will review a new batch of emails apparently related to Hillary Clinton's private server.  The messages were discovered in an unrelated investigation concerning former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner's alleged communication with a 15-year-old girl.  To discuss the startling development, Judy Woodruff speaks with the Wall Street Journal's Devlin Barrett.

CYBER WARS - Protecting Consumer Data

Also a Greed File

"FCC chief outlines new plans to protect consumer data online" PBS NewsHour 10/27/2016


SUMMARY:  There are new rules for broadband providers when it comes to collecting and sharing consumer data.  On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted for the first time to create protections on the transmission of personal information for broadband providers.  Hari Sreenivasan speaks with Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  New rules for broadband providers when it comes to collecting and sharing customer data.

The Federal Communications Commission voted for the first time today to create protections on the transmission of personal information from broadband providers.

Tom Wheeler is the chairman of the FCC.  And he joins me now.

What is a provider going to have to do under these new rules?

TOM WHEELER, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission:  Well, the key thing is that it is the consumers' information.  It's not the network's information.

And the consumer now has the choice to say how they want that information to be used and if they want it to be used.  So, there are really three key things.  One, there has to be transparency, that the consumers have to be told, here's what we're doing with your information.  Two, they have to have choice.  So, do you want to opt in or opt out of this kind of service?

And, three, that data, when it's stored someplace, has to be stored securely and consumers have to know if there is some kind of data breach.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  So, you have also expanded the definition of what is sensitive data.  And some businesses have pushed back, saying, the browsing history, the app usage, Internet companies like Facebook and Google, they already have all that, and you're placing undue burdens on companies like Verizon, AT&T, et cetera.

TOM WHEELER:  But what we're talking about is not the fact that you may go to a dozen sites that each will get a little bit of information.

We're talking about the network that takes you to every site and knows everything you're doing.  And that's the big difference.  You hire the network to deliver you to those sites.  You don't hire the network to take your information without your permission and turn around and resell it.

ECONOMICS - A Rich Nations' Worst Enemy

"Why rich nations may be their own worst enemy" PBS NewsHour 10/27/2016


SUMMARY:  Economist Todd Buchholz rails against what America has become:  a people who want everything but aren't willing to pay for it.  In “The Price of Prosperity,” he suggests that wealthy nations such as the U.S. inflict harm on themselves, even cause their own demise, by racking up debt, having fewer children and increasing governmental regulations.  Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.

TODD BUCHHOLZ, Author, “The Price of Prosperity:  Why Rich Nations Fail and How to Renew Them”:  Washington, D.C., is a beautiful city, Greek, Roman architecture.  Our society is based on those empires, but they're gone.  So, why do we think that our country is going to defy all of human history?

PAUL SOLMAN (NewsHour):  Because empires, asserts Republican economist Todd Buchholz, are so often forced to pay the price of prosperity.

TODD BUCHHOLZ:  They undermine themselves, and they do that by racking up more debt, by having fewer babies born, [and] by more regulation.  And it's difficult to keep up patriotism as time goes by.

PAUL SOLMAN:  “The Price of Prosperity” is Buchholz's downbeat new book, a dissonant contrast to its upbeat author.

Buchholz was an original investor in the musical mega-hit “Jersey Boys,” author of the bestselling “New Ideas From Dead Economists,” director of economic policy under President George H.W. Bush, pushing economic growth optimistically.

But he rails at what we have become, a people that want everything, but won't pay for it themselves, and, thus, in the first of his symptoms of prosperity malaise, have run up a $19 trillion national debt.  And how exactly?

TODD BUCHHOLZ:  Because people will lend to us.  Because the U.S. is a rich country, we don't seem to have the need yet to discipline ourselves.

PAUL SOLMAN:  But in the future, there will be fewer Americans to cough up the taxes to pay the debt, our fertility having fallen below the replacement rate for the first time in our history.  Low fertility is Buchholz's symptom number two.

TODD BUCHHOLZ:  This was a hospital.  This is where my kids were born.  Lots of D.C. kids were born here, but it's not a hospital anymore.  It's condos.

You know, throughout the world, throughout history, when countries get rich, they stop having kids.

PAUL SOLMAN:  Because Who needs them?

TODD BUCHHOLZ:  Rich countries don't need as many children.  We used to need kids to work in the fields as farm hands, to crawl on their bellies into coal mines.  Well, kids are more like luxury objects now.

SUPREME COURT - Justice Clarence Thomas Allegations

"Exclusive:  The story behind new allegations against Justice Clarence Thomas" PBS NewsHour 10/27/2016


SUMMARY:  There are new sexual assault allegations aimed at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  In the wake of Donald Trump's “Access Hollywood” tape, as women took to social media to recount their experiences, one lawyer wrote about being groped by Thomas as a young scholar.  The National Law Journal's Marcia Coyle broke the story and joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the allegations.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  As you just heard, there are new allegations coming out today of sexual assault aimed at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Marcia Coyle, who is the chief Washington correspondent for The National Law Journal and a NewsHour regular, she broke the story, and she joins us now.

Marcia, welcome to the program.

MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal:  Thanks, Judy.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, you cover the Supreme Court.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  How did this come to your attention?

MARCIA COYLE:  Well, the evening of the day that all of us were reading about Donald Trump's audiotape in which he talked about how he treated women, Moira Smith, who is a lawyer and executive at a natural gas company in Alaska, put a post on her Facebook page in which she recounted three instances of inappropriate touching, even sexual assault, in her life.

And one of the incidents that she mentioned involved Justice Clarence Thomas.  Back in 1999, when she was just shy of her 24th birthday, she was a Truman Foundation scholar here in Washington, D.C., and she was at a dinner party hosted by her boss at the time at the foundation, and Justice Thomas was there with some other guests.

She claimed that he groped her at that dinner.  A friend of hers sent a copy of the Facebook post to me in a private Twitter message.  And after discussing it with my editors, we felt we should open the line of communication with her.

I called her, with no commitment to publish anything, to see if she wanted to talk.  She didn't seek us out, and we didn't go hunting for her.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, you say this was a dinner party.  It involved the group that she was part of.  Her employer was having the dinner.  How did she happen to be next to, be adjacent to the justice?

MARCIA COYLE:  She was called a resident scholar.  She was spending a year in which she basically helped the foundation with its activities.

And part of her unofficial duties was to be at these dinner parties that the director of the foundation used to network.  This was a special dinner in which the foundation was planning to give an award to a Kansas state legislator.  And Justice Thomas was invited because he was going to give the award the next day at the Supreme Court.

She claims that she was there doing preparations and doing final setting of the table for the dinner.  Most of the guests, she said, were in the kitchen with her boss, who was a gourmet chef.  When she was setting the table next to the justice is when she claims that he reached out and grabbed her with his right arm about five to six inches below the waist and squeezed her several times while asking her where was she going to sit.  He thought she should sit next to him.

She eventually broke away.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  And, that night, she didn't say anything to anyone at the party.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  But she did later?

MARCIA COYLE:  Well, based on my conversations that we had almost daily, I — while listening to her, I also began to report out to see if there was any corroboration.

And I so found that she had three roommates, housemates that summer, in D.C., and I found them and interviewed each of them individually.  And even though they were fuzzy — I mean, it's been a long time on the actual details of what she said — they all remembered her telling them about inappropriate behavior by the justice and how they really just didn't know what to do.

I also found a fourth person who was a scholar that summer who also remembered her telling him about the incident shortly afterwards.

BUDDHISM - The Next Dalai Lama

"Meet the Minnesota 9-year-old destined to be a Buddhist spiritual leader" PBS NewsHour 10/27/2016


SUMMARY:  Like any 4th grade boy, Jalue Dorje enjoys soccer, swimming and Pokemon cards.  But unlike most 9-year-olds, he is believed to be -- and confirmed by the Dalai Lama himself -- the reincarnation of an eminent senior lama who died nine years ago.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  The tradition of rebirth is a central Tenet in the Buddhist religion.  And when spiritual leaders, or lamas, die, there's an elaborate process of identifying their reincarnation.

It's usually an infant.  One such young lama was identified a few years ago far away from his Himalayan roots.

Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports from Minnesota.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO, Special correspondent:  They are chants more likely heard in a Himalayan monastery than a working-class Minneapolis suburb.

But it's here in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, that 9-year-old Jalue Dorje begins the day in a routine of Tibetan Buddhist mantras, coached by his father.

A bit later, there are house calls from volunteer teachers in modern Tibetan, in the calligraphy of the ancient scriptures.

THINLY WORSER, Teacher:  He has really motivation to learn and especially — even I know him, he's tired, but he says, no, I'm not tired.  I want to continue, you know?

So that also motivated me also to teach him.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  It's a fitting trait, because Jalue Dorje has been recognized as a reincarnation of Takshem Karma Yongdu Choekyi Nima, an eminent senior lama, or spiritual leader, who died nine years ago.  He would be the eighth reincarnation of the first Takshem lama, who lived in the 16th century.

In Tibetan tradition, the process of recognizing a reincarnate varies, depending on circumstances.  Spiritual masters divine from a variety of signals.  In the case of Jalue Dorje, it was the dream of a senior monk who had visited Jalue's home in Minnesota, which is home to some 3,000 Tibetan-Americans, the second in size only to New York.

In that dream, tigers roamed in every room of Jalue's house.  It was a critical clue in the search for the Takshem Lama's reincarnation.

THINLY WORSER:  The Takshem lamas, they used to wear skirts of the tiger skin.  Then I also thought, oh, it might be, you know, because Takshem lama was passed away year before, and everybody was trying to find out his reincarnation.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  The question of whether that reincarnation is indeed Jalue Dorje went all the way up to the Dalai Lama, spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism.

THINLY WORSER:  Then His Holiness' prediction was the same, and many other high lamas, and so he was confirmed.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  In the old days, the boy would be moved to a monastery in Tibet, or now in India, where the Dalai Lama and thousands of followers have lived in exile since 1959.

However, the Dalai Lama suggested that Jalue's monastic education be deferred until he's a bit older.  The spiritual leader has emphasized that Tibetans, or all Buddhists must reconcile their traditional belief system with the modern world.  .

DALAI LAMA:  I always appealing we Buddhists should be 21st century Buddhists.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:  For Jalue Dorje, that means immersion in ceremony and scripture, on one hand, and, on the other, a fairly typical 21st century Minnesota upbringing.

Soccer and swimming are favorite pastimes, as are more sedentary ones, isolated in headphones and a laptop computer.  All this will soon change drastically in a Himalayan monastery perhaps in a couple of years, though an exact date has not yet been determined.

After about 10 years in India, he is to return to Minnesota as a spiritual leader.

When you grow older and you've completed your studies, what do you think you'll be doing for people?

JALUE DORJE:  I will be praying for them.  I will be chanting for them.

SUPREMACIST GROUPS - White Nationalists

aka "In Trump's Basket of Deplorables"

"Why white nationalists hear a political ally in Donald Trump" PBS NewsHour 10/26/2016


SUMMARY:  White nationalist groups are nothing new to the U.S.  But in recent years, their numbers have grown, drawing whites who feel marginalized in today's America.  The NewsHour's P.J. Tobia visits a white separatist community in Indiana to understand why they're supporting Donald Trump this election.  Sensitivity Warning:  This report contains graphic images and symbols that are widely considered to represent hate speech.

P.J. TOBIA (NewsHour):  Late summer, in the hills of East Tennessee, a small group of white power activists hold a meeting.  There's merchandise, music, and a rewriting of history.

MAN:  Despite the mythology, Russian Jews were never oppressed in any way.

P.J. TOBIA:  Later, the group goes to a nearby town for a rally, in the center of it all, Matthew Heimbach.

MATTHEW HEIMBACH, Traditionalist Worker Party:  Because a white homeland shall be our homeland.

P.J. TOBIA:  Just 25 years old, the Southern Poverty Law Center has called Heimbach the face of a new generation of white nationalists.

In 2015, he founded the Traditionalist Worker Party.  They're white separatists who want distinct homelands in the U.S. for whites and blacks.  They want Jews out of the country entirely.

Are you guys racists?

MATTHEW HEIMBACH:  The definition of racist is thrown around all the time in America, and it's used almost exclusively just to determine any white people that want to be able to advocate for their best interests.

P.J. TOBIA:  But there were Nazis and all kinds of very strident anti-minority propaganda.  Anyone with a Nazi symbol on them is going to be considered a racist, if not racially insensitive.

MATTHEW HEIMBACH:  And so our movement is moving towards being a European-style nationalist movement.  And I respect all my comrades from other organizations.  They might take a little bit of a different presentation than we do.  And you can see what direction our movement is moving in.  And I'm happy to be a part of that.

Read as, "I'm happy to be a raciest Nazi."

COLLEGE STUDENTS 2016 - Basic Survival

"For these college students, the most difficult test may be basic survival" PBS NewsHour 10/25/2016


SUMMARY:  The biggest challenge for these college students may not be exams or papers, but finding the means to survive.  While the University of California system has worked to bring in more first-generation and “non-traditional” students, helping them stay, succeed and meet basic needs like getting enough food requires greater investment.  Jeffrey Brown reports from Berkeley, California.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  You will probably be surprised to hear that hunger and homelessness is a growing problem for thousands of college students across the country, particularly among those who are the first in their families to pursue a degree.

This is forcing some universities to figure out new ways of keeping low-income students in school.

Jeffrey Brown has the story from the University of California, Berkeley, as part of our weekly education series 'Making the Grade.'

ANTHONY CARRASCO, Student, University of California, Berkeley:  Oh, darn.  These tortillas are not very good.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  Every Sunday night, Anthony Carrasco prepares the food he will eat for the week ahead, setting himself a quota of one meal a day.

ANTHONY CARRASCO:  I can skip breakfast, skip lunch, and even skip dinner.  And I have just saved myself close to $30 or $40.  I, like many folks, come to college to get out of poverty.  I really thought that was the end of the line when we got the admission letter.  Unfortunately, it wasn't.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Anthony is a junior at the University of California, Berkeley, one of the nation's leading public universities.  And he's the first in his family to attend college.  It was hard to get in, and now hard to stay in, but maybe not for a reason many people have considered.

ANTHONY CARRASCO:  We were expecting long nights in the libraries and tough exams; but what we're really facing is, you know, just, you know, sleepless nights worried about rent, and really distracting lecture halls when you just cannot stop thinking about food.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Today, almost a third of all students entering two- and four-year colleges are first-generation.  They're more likely to be minorities and come from low-income families.  And by the estimate of one advocacy group, more than half of them lack reliable access to food.  And that contributes to their lower graduation rates.

Many years ago, I myself was a student here at Berkeley.  I was fortunate enough to have the means so I could concentrate on my studies, my grades, and, yes, the fun side of college life.  But more and more these days, many students find they have to worry about more basic needs, including food and shelter.

A beautiful campus, world-class academics and now a new reality.

WOMAN:  Is there any stock on Friday?

MAN:  We're going to restock on Friday, so everything is going to be here on Friday.

JEFFREY BROWN:  A campus food pantry, where twice a month students can stock up on staples.  The University of California system has worked hard to bring in first-generation, low-income and what are called nontraditional students, such as veterans and those with families.  But more work is required to help these students survive and graduate.

RUBEN CANEDO, University of California Global Food Initiative:  Twenty-five bags today.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Ruben Canedo is a first-generation graduate from Berkeley.  He's now a leading advocate for student food security, and oversees the campus food pantry.

RUBEN CANEDO:  What we're doing on our campus is making sure that campus becomes basic need secure.  You have the recession, you have the increasing cost of living, and students are caught in the middle of that.

RACE MATTERS - History of the Infamous N-Word

"How the N-word became the ‘atomic bomb of racial slurs'" PBS NewsHour 10/25/2016


SUMMARY:  Its effect can be explosive and painful:  Harvard University professor Randall Kennedy has traced the history of the N-word to understand the evolution of the infamous racial slur.  Kennedy joins special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault to discuss this history, including reappropriations of the word and the complexities and damages of its usage today.

Editor's Note:  This conversation contains a racial slur.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Yesterday, Charlotte television reporter Steve Crump accepted an apology from Brian Eybers.  The two men were involved in a confrontation last week during which Eybers used the N-word.  And Crump recorded it.

Crump was on assignment in Charleston, South Carolina, reporting on hurricane recovery when he walked past Eybers.

And a warning:  The next two videos include use of the N-word.

STEVE CRUMP, WBTV:  What did you call me?


STEVE CRUMP:  What did you just call me?

BRIAN EYBERS:  I called you sir.

STEVE CRUMP:  No, you didn't call me sir.  You called me the N-word, right?

BRIAN EYBERS:  I did.  I believe I did call you the N-word.

You're a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) idiot.  You're ignorant.  So, you really are a n—–, then.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Well, the N-word is one of the most contentious words in the English language.

Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault its origins and use with Harvard Law School Professor Randall Kennedy as part of our year-long 'Race Matters Solutions' series.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, Special correspondent:  Professor Kennedy, thank you for joining us.

RANDALL KENNEDY, Harvard University:  Thank you.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT:  I don't have to tell you we are dealing with a very contentious word, but it wasn't always that way.  So, take us back when it was more benign.

RANDALL KENNEDY:  It's like many words.  It has a mysterious — it sort of rises from the midst.

So, for instance, in 1619, when there are reports about the first blacks brought to British North America, they are referred to as N-I-G-G-U-H-S.  Well, it doesn't seem that was meant in a derogatory way.  It seems merely descriptive.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT:  When did it become the kind of word that is so controversial today?

RANDALL KENNEDY:  Go back and take a look at what some black writers were saying in the 1820s, the 1830s.

They make mention of how some white people would tell their children, if you don't behave, we're going to put you in the n—– seat.  If you don't behave, we are going to make you sit with the n—–s.

That's why we know that, by then, the word had become a slur.

ELECTION 2016 - The World's View

"What the world is thinking about the U.S. election" PBS NewsHour 10/25/2016


SUMMARY:  Who is chosen as the next president of the United States isn't just a matter of national importance, but will make a big difference to the rest of the world.  This year, the international community is watching with a combination of fascination and trepidation.  Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant gets a sampling of global views on the election.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  The President of the United States is often called the leader of the free world.  And with just two weeks left in the campaign, it can be relatively safely said that many eyes overseas are keeping close tabs on the race for the White House.

Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant has been sampling opinion on his recent travels through Europe, and he sent us what he found.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  She's playing chicken.  Look, Putin…

CHRIS WALLACE, Moderator:  Wait, but…

DONALD TRUMP:  … from everything I see, has no respect for this person.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as President of the United States.

DONALD TRUMP:  No puppet.  No puppet.

HILLARY CLINTON:  And it's pretty clear…

DONALD TRUMP:  You're the puppet.

HILLARY CLINTON:  It's pretty clear…

MALCOLM BRABANT, Special correspondent:  There's little doubt that the world is watching the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with a combination of fascination and trepidation.

In Greece, the land that invented democracy, hostility towards Germany has replaced anti-Americanism during the financial crisis.  But in a nation that is Europe's frontier with the Islamic world, leading foreign analyst Thanos Dokos is concerned about the possibility of a Trump presidency.

THANOS DOKOS, Foreign Analyst:  He will most likely be an isolationist President, which is never good news for the rest of the world.

MALCOLM BRABANT:  American-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq divided Europe.  But one of George W. Bush's staunchest allies in the coalition of the willing was Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.  He went on to become the NATO secretary-general.  And he's dismissive of this November's Republican candidate.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, Former Prime Minister, Denmark:  The American electorate have a choice between two very different candidates, one who made a clear statement that he doesn't want the U.S. to be the world's policeman, and another candidate, who I know from four years of cooperation when she was Secretary of State, who has the will to lead the world.

NEWSHOUR SHARES - Saving THE Ruby Slippers

"Who's footing the bill to restore the ruby slippers" PBS NewsHour 10/24/2016


SUMMARY:  In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, Judy Garland's iconic ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” are one of the most popular attractions at the National Museum of American History.  But since their debut on the yellow brick road, the glittering, sequined shoes have faded and degraded while on display.  In order to restore them, the museum launched a crowdfunding campaign.

SYRIA - America's Shame

"For this Syrian activist, hope, like his hometown, is gone" PBS NewsHour 10/24/2016


SUMMARY:  In 2012, activist Saleh Hawa, who lead demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, had confidence in the Syrian opposition's prospects.  Four years later, none of his hopes and all of his fears have been realized.  He believed the U.S. would help put Assad out of power; now he says his country has lost faith in the world.  Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports.

MARGARET WARNER (NewsHour):  It was November 2012 in a small town in Syria, and Saleh Hawa had hopes.

With civil war roiling around him, this father of three, an English literature teacher, was leading demonstrations against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  Hawa also headed a local civic council in his town in rebel-controlled Northwest Syria.  It was working to restore electricity and basic services destroyed by government attacks.

He sounded fairly confident then in his country's prospects.  A formal Syrian opposition coalition had just been created, with the encouragement of Western and Gulf countries.

SALEH HAWA, Local Administrative Council, Haratan, Syria:  I am optimistic, because the international community is now cooperating with this council, with this new council.  And I think, personally, that most of the Syrian people are with this council.

We are looking forward to a better future, and we are tired now.  We are tired now of war.  We are tired of shelling every day.

MARGARET WARNER:  We spoke in a walled garden in Hawa's hometown of Haratan, just northwest of Aleppo.  We then traveled to the regional headquarters of the Free Syrian Army, made up of self-declared moderate rebels.

Its Commander, Colonel Abdul-Jabbar Akidi, told us bluntly how desperately they needed weapons from the United States.

COL. ABDUL-JABBAR AKIDI, Aleppo Region Military Council (through translator):  The Syrian people will not forget any country that provides them with support, and will not forgive any country that helps the Assad regime.

MARGARET WARNER:  But in the four years since then, none of Hawa's hopes, but all of his fears, have been realized.

Haratan has been repeatedly pounded by bombing from Russian and Syrian jets, dropping not only explosive-packed barrel bombs, but cluster bombs and the fearsome incendiary white phosphorous.  When we first met Hawa, the war had killed 37,000 people.  Now it's 500,000 dead and nine million displaced.

Aleppo and the area around it has become ground zero.  Last week, the Russian military announced a short-lived cease-fire, a pause to let humanitarian aid into and around Aleppo, including Hawa's hometown.

But Hawa, whom we reconnected with via Skype, says there are few lives left to save in his town.

SALEH HAWA:  Most of the population of Haratan left the town, because there is no single house which is safe right now.  Most of the houses were completely or partially destroyed.  And they cannot be lived in again.

So, most of the families left the city, because right now there is no electricity, no water, no food.  Even the bakery was targeted.  All hospitals, all medical centers were targeted.

MARGARET WARNER:  Hawa and wife and children fled Haratan to a nearby town.  They're all safe, he said, but he's lost many friends, and himself was the target of a car bomb attack in early 2014.

He and others are still teaching at a makeshift college they call the Free University of Aleppo, but he sounds full of despair and bitterness.

SALEH HAWA:  We are being butchered under the eye of the international community.

WANTED:  International War Criminal,  Bashar al-Assad (dead or alive)

PLAY BALL - Baseball's 2016 World Series

"Long-suffering fans savor Chicago-Cleveland World Series matchup" PBS NewsHour 10/24/2016


SUMMARY:  It's a victory the Chicago Cubs haven't had in 71 years, a ticket to the World Series.  If they win, it will be the first time since 1908.  But their opponents are also hoping for an end to a long drought:  The Cubs are playing the Cleveland Indians, who haven't won the championship since 1948.  John Yang speaks with Al Pawlowski of Fox SportsTime Ohio and Rick Telander of Chicago Sun-Times for more.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  After all of these years, it's hard to believe this next sentence, but fans know it's true:  The Chicago Cubs will face off against the Cleveland Indians starting tomorrow night in the World Series.

Life is about to change in one of these cities, whose fans have long suffered and waited decades for a baseball championship.

John Yang, who has Chicago and Cleveland roots of his own, is our guide.

MAN:  The Cubs have won the pennant!

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  It's a call that hasn't been made in 71 years.  The Chicago Cubs and their long-suffering fans are finally going back to World Series.

WOMAN:  Oh, my gosh, I was crying the whole game.  I'm out of tears.

WOMAN:  It's unbelievable.  Like, all you think is, are they really going to do it and am I going to be there?  And we were.  We were here to watch them win.

JOHN YANG:  Cubs fans have seen their share of heartbreak, including losing 101 games just four years ago.  The last time the Cubs actually won the World Series, 1908.  The last time they won a pennant, a local tavern owner and his goat were kicked out of World Series game four at Wrigley Field.  Ever since, the curse of the billy goat, and some notorious blunders on field and off, have kept them on the outside looking in.

But the Cubs aren't the only team hoping to end a World Series drought this year.  They're set to face the Cleveland Indians, who haven't won the fall classic since 1948.  They have made it three times since, but lost each time, most recently in 1995 and 1997.

WOMAN:  Just amazing.  They're doing great, and I know they're going to bring that World Series home.

JOHN YANG:  Game one is set for Tuesday in Cleveland, and the excitement in both cities is running high.  According to tracking site TicketIQ, standing room for Tuesday's start at $860.  And for Friday's game in Chicago, $2,000.

More on this moment, the history and the mood from a pair of sports reporters covering these teams.

Al Pawlowski is host of “Indians Live,” the Cleveland pre- and post-game shows on Fox SportsTime Ohio.  And Rick Telander is the senior sports columnist for The Chicago Sun-Times.



"Voices From the Movement for Native Lives" by Stephanie Woodard, In These Times 10/25/2016

Advocates talk about the country's “silent, comfortable genocide.”

As In These Times reported in “The Police Killings No One Is Talking About,” Native Americans are shot by police—or die in their custody—at the highest rate of any group.  Yet the general public has almost no awareness of this.  Or, as Darleen Tareeq, whose fiancĂ© Philip Quinn of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe was shot and killed by police in September 2015, puts it, “Everyone is cool with it.”

In a recently released study of this national blind spot, Claremont Graduate University researchers Roger Chin, Jean Schroedel and Lily Rowen agree, writing that the minimal coverage of the issue indicates that Native people are ignored and their issues devalued.

As Black Lives Matter, Idle No More and other social justice movements have proliferated, “Native Lives Matter” has been taken up as a rallying cry by Natives grieving the loss of loved ones to police violence, as well as those calling attention to numerous other injustices—such as the routing of the Dakota Access Pipeline so as to imperil the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation's water source, which the tribe opposes.

In These Times spoke with five advocates who devote their time and energy to promoting the concept that Native Lives Matter.

Troy Amlee, or Akicita Sunka-Wakan Ska (White Horse Soldier), a hip-hop and dubstep musician from the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes, and JR Bobick, a French Canadian descendant from St. Paul, Minn.—both activists with 'Idle No More Twin Cities'—were outraged by the December 2013 police-shooting death of Cheyenne-Arapaho teen Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket.  Together, they posted on 'Idle No More's' pages, then created the Native Lives Matter Facebook page in 2014 to document and bring awareness to the deaths.

Darleen Tareeq, of White Earth and Leech Lake Ojibwe heritage, spoke to In These Times a year to the day after police killed her fiancĂ©, Philip Quinn.  Before getting on the phone with In These Times, she, Amlee and Bobick attended a vigil for Quinn.  The event included a dinner, honor songs, speeches by Quinn's family and friends, fireworks and a traditional giveaway of gifts from the family to supporters.  “It was a beautiful night,” says Tareeq.

Attorney Chase Iron Eyes helped raise the movement's profile by hosting a Native Lives Matter rally in Rapid City, S.D., in December 2014 and penning a report on the subject for the Lakota People's Law Project in 2015.  A member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Iron Eyes is running for Congress as a Democrat from North Dakota.

In early 2015, Marlee Kanosh, of the Paiute Tribe of Utah, began administering the Facebook page Native Lives Taken By Police.  The loss of her brother Corey in a 2012 police shooting drew her to the online community of people suffering similar tragedies, and what she describes as “a whole world of people going through the same thing for a very long time.”

How do you define Native Lives Matter?

Chase:  It's a movement for reclaiming our inherent spiritual dignity.  Native Lives Matter is a healing and a way to move beyond what has been imposed on us for 500 years—since the arrival of Europeans.

Black Lives Matter brought attention to police brutality and institutional racism, and we were very aware of that when we coined our version of the term.  We want Native Lives Matter understood as expansive—including improvement in many quality-of-life issues that affect our communities, in addition to police shootings specifically.  As such, it's a comprehensive call to action for social justice reform.

JR:  The mainstream media doesn't follow Native issues, so we base the content of our Facebook page, Native Lives Matter, on what our community wants, not on what we want as organizers.  As a result of listening to the people, we have covered many subjects in addition to police brutality.  The issues relate to each other.  This approach has brought the page nearly 100,000 “Likes” so far.

Troy:  We have also tried to make our page a reliable source for news about the Dakota Access Pipeline, a big concern for Native people these days.  As a group, we support positive issues and projects.  We advocate for healthy eating and living, encourage planting of backyard gardens and hold clothing drives.  We are showing up for the people.

Marlee:  As administrator for the Facebook page Native Lives Taken By Police, I focus on police brutality.  My posts are also very personal.  In addition to research, I talk to the families, find out who the victims really were and get permission to use their photographs and other material.  I have met some of the families, including Daniel Covarrubias's mother and sister at Rise Up October in New York City in 2015.  [As reported in In These Times, Lakewood, Wash., police shot and killed Covarrubias earlier that year.]

What moment brought you to this issue?

Marlee:  My brother Corey was shot and killed [by police] in 2012 in Millard County, Utah.  There are so many questions about his death.  It doesn't add up.  The medical examiner said no major organs or veins were hit, so the shots weren't immediately fatal.  It seems that he was just allowed to die.  [Kanosh reportedly did not receive care after he was shot, but rather lay face-down in the dirt until morning, when his mother was notified he was dead.]  Why was Corey not given medical aid?  Isn't there a law requiring this?  We are citizens of this country, and we have rights.  We feel lied to and betrayed.  I didn't know how to deal with this other than to use my feelings, my pain and my hurt, to be helpful—to share others' stories.  I know how the families feel when this happens. 

Chase:  In December 2014, friends and I organized a rally in Rapid City to make clear the contrast between what Natives contribute to the local economy and what we suffer.  We were attending the Lakota Invitational Basketball Tournament, which brings a significant amount of money to Rapid City.  In addition, the nearby Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations have few businesses, so money from local Native residents and people living on the reservations flows directly to Rapid City business owners throughout the year.  And you know the statistics—just about every quality-of-life indicator for Native people­ is very bad.  We suffer disproportionate incarceration, and our children are taken from their families and placed in foster care far more often than non-Native children.

[A local man named] Allen Locke, who is Lakota, happened to attend the rally.  The next day was the championship game.  I went to buy Christmas gifts, and when I returned to the tournament, everyone's Facebook timelines were going crazy with the information that cops had shot someone in a development called Lakota Homes.

Some of us went over and learned it was Allen.  His family asked us for help dealing with the police and the media.  We said, “Yeah, absolutely,” and hung out to make sure they had what they needed.  After that, we went to the Lakota People's Law Project office in Rapid City, which became the base camp where we held press conferences, produced literature and got information out.  I wanted to document what was occurring and wrote the report “Native Lives Matter.”

Troy:  Five years ago, a lot of tokala warriors [members of a traditional warrior society] attended the funeral of my uncle Beau Little Sky, who was in AIM, the American Indian Movement.  I was 19 at the time and observed that they had a consciousness about them.  So I was curious.  I joined AIM and did homeless feeds and cop-watch patrols, which involved going around Minneapolis/St. Paul with a police scanner and listening for minority-related calls.  Through cop-watching, I got involved with Occupy Minnesota and 'Idle No More Twin Cities.'  The Native Lives Matter page JR and I put together now has nine admins in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Colorado.

Darleen: Today is the one-year anniversary of the day my baby's father was murdered by police.  Marking that anniversary is an Ojibwe tradition, which we did at Indian Mounds, an ancient burial mound in St.  Paul.  There was a lot of support.  Families of other victims, such as Marcus Golden, also killed in 2015, joined us.  His dad is indigenous, and his mom is African American.  Family members of Jamar Clark, an African-American man shot last fall, were there as well.

I got involved in this grassroots Native Lives Matter group because I wanted to be part of listening to and protecting the people.  Native people nationwide are being murdered at a higher rate than other people.  We have been living a silent, comfortable genocide.  Everyone is cool with it—us dying and our cultures being taken away. 

How has the idea spread?

Chase:  Everywhere there are reservation bordertowns or large Indian populations, there is tension—from Oklahoma and states surrounding the Navajo Nation to rural areas of Montana and Minnesota.  As the Native Lives Matter idea has grown, it has also come to include cities like L.A.  and Denver.  Natives everywhere have taken it over in ways that let them get out their own message.

Marlee:  Without the Internet and social media, each of us would be talking to small communities.  With online connections, we can talk to the larger community.

Chase:  Indians are tribal people.  There are few degrees of separation between any of us.  We're also highly involved Internet users, with the ability to go viral even though we're a small percentage of the U.S. population.  Tweets about opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline were trending high on Twitter long before there was any mainstream media coverage, long before elected officials were talking about it.  They live in a world that doesn't exist anymore, a world where you had to get a [TV] network to cover you.  That's old school.

How does your work affect you?

Marlee:  I have so many dreams.  Every night after I do a story for the page, I dream about it.  Today, opening up the page and seeing all the stories there overwhelmed me.  I have done about 80 and have a couple of additional names to get to as well.  I know there are even more.  Being helpful makes me feel better, though.  I also do a lot of praying and meditating.

Any more thoughts?

JR:  Our Native Lives Matter page is about helping build a community.

Marlee:  Through Native Lives Taken By Police, I want to help people keep their family member's story alive.  It has been important for my own family to do this, so I am doing what I can for others.

Chase:  It is painfully clear that some people can't expect justice.  We want to stop being ignored.  In our eyes, Allen Locke gave his life for that.

ELECTION 2016 - Opting Out is NOT an Option

"The Luxury of Opting Out of This Election" by James Thindwa, In These Times 10/25/2016

People whose livelihoods can turn with an election can't afford to wait for a third party to rescue them.

In the 40 years that In These Times has spoken truth to power, few topics have generated more spirited discussion among its readers and writers than how the Left should relate to the Democratic Party, whether to challenge the neoliberal establishment from within, or to build a competing political structure from without.  This is an old debate, but carries more relevance and urgency today than ever, given the rise of a neofascist Republican presidential nominee.

A core mission of left movements is to promote the interests of working-class and marginalized communities.  Yet for many such communities, this debate is far removed from everyday realities.  People whose livelihoods can turn with an election don't have the luxury to wait for a messianic third party—or a political revolution, for that matter—to rescue them.  As just one example, for those making minimum wage, this election could make the difference between their pay plummeting (if Trump carries through on abolishing the federal floor of $7.25 per hour) or doubling (if Hillary Clinton makes good on the Democratic Party platform promise, pushed through by the Sanders campaign, to raise the minimum to $15).  On purely humanitarian terms, progressives must help ensure relief for vulnerable communities by voting without apology for the candidate—yes, Hillary Clinton—who will embrace a minimum wage hike.

There are strategic reasons for doing so, as well.  In this election, polls show that African Americans and Latinos overwhelmingly favor Clinton.  To engage these communities in movement-building, progressives must listen to them.  We cannot say, “To hell with your fears.  We know best what's best for you.” The total rejection of the candidate who is supported by a significant segment of the progressive base undercuts the mutual trust necessary for such a conversation.

Bernie Sanders' insurgent campaign indicates that the Democratic Party can be pushed left.  Thanks to the Sanders campaign, the Democrats embraced the most progressive platform in their history.

The challenge going forward is to sustain this new energy and translate the noble aspirations of the platform into concrete policy.  This can only happen if the progressive movement, in partnership with allies in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, demands that Democratic elected officials advance the platform.

Since its founding, In These Times has championed an inside-outside strategy of political engagement—pushing the Democratic Party left by working through the electoral system while simultaneously building popular movements.  That strategy works.  Outside, the climate movement forced President Obama to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline in November 2015.  Inside, the Sanders campaign pushed Clinton to abandon her support for the pro-corporate Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Should Clinton be elected, it will be up to the progressive movement, mobilizing on the outside and organizing on the inside, to encourage her to tack to the left, rather than, as was her husband's wont, to the right.

Here at In These Times, we pledge to continue to help build a national progressive movement by reporting on conditions on the ground and providing a forum to share strategies, solutions and lessons learned.  As In These Times' 40 years on the beat demonstrate, we are up to this historic challenge.

Monday, October 24, 2016

SOUTH AFRICA - Leaving the International Criminal Court

"South Africa to leave the International Criminal Court" PBS NewsHour 10/22/2016


SUMMARY:  South Africa announced it will withdraw from the International Criminal Court, whose oversight includes 124 member nations.  Burundi's parliament has also voted to leave the court, which was established in 2002 to investigate and prosecute war crimes.  Andrew Meldrum, the acting Africa Editor for the Associated Press, joins Hari Sreenivasan from Johannesburg.

HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR:  The United Nations' Human Rights Council in Geneva voted yesterday to start a formal inquiry into the Syrian government's bombardment of Aleppo, with the U.N.'s top envoy to Syria saying the military strikes on the city, aided by Russia, may amount to war crimes.  The probe could eventually lead to a trial before the International Criminal Court, which was established in 2002 to investigate and prosecute wartime atrocities.

However, the court received a vote of no confidence yesterday when South Africa announced it will withdraw from the court's oversight.  It's the second nation to do so — the other is Burundi — and it is unclear how many countries might follow their lead.  The court has 124 member nations, including 34 in Africa.

Joining me now to discuss South Africa's move and how damaging it might be is Andrew Meldrum, the acting Africa editor for The Associated Press.  He's in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Thanks for joining us.

So, why did South Africa take this step?

ANDREW MELDRUM, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:  South Africa made the decision to leave the International Criminal Court because it did not like the court's decision that South Africa should have arrested the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, when he visited South Africa more than a year ago.  And South Africa said the court should not be telling it to arrest sitting heads of state.  There should have been diplomatic immunity.  And so, they said they don't like that — what they called interference — from the ICC.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Coming on the heels of the withdrawal from Burundi, is this part of a larger trend?

ANDREW MELDRUM:  Well, that — there are many that are worried that this — that the two African — that the decision of the two African countries to leave the ICC this week could set off a movement where several other African countries withdraw from the ICC.

Already, the African Union, which represents all 54 countries of Africa, has said that they don't think that the ICC should press charges against any sitting head of state.  And Uganda's deputy foreign minister has said that he would like to see this issue of African members being in the ICC be brought up at the next African Union meeting.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  So, why is this happening among African nations and not everywhere else?  Do they feel disproportionately prosecuted?

ANDREW MELDRUM:  That is the complaint, in fact.  All six current prosecutions or prosecutions in the process are of Africans, and there, so far, the ICC has not indicted or pressed charges against any other people from any other part world.  They do have the — the ICC does have investigations pending against leaders of Colombia and Afghanistan, but so far, no charges have been pressed.

And so, African leaders have said — they've complained for a couple of years now or more, that it's only Africans that the ICC is pressing charges against, and they think that is unfair.

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 10/21/2016

"Shields and Brooks on the danger of our ideological divide" PBS NewsHour 10/21/2016


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week's news, including the third and final presidential debate, Donald Trump's "reckless" questioning of the election's legitimacy, the country's vast ideological divide, the caustic tone at Thursday night's Al Smith Charity Dinner, and the candidates' rhetoric on the campaign trail.

RADIO - "A Prairie Home Companion"

"‘Prairie Home' gets a new companion" PBS NewsHour 10/21/2016


SUMMARY:  "A Prairie Home Companion" has always been synonymous with one man:  Garrison Keillor.  Since his departure, the live variety radio program transitioned to a new host.  But 35-year-old Chris Thile isn't actually new -- he's been performing on the show since he was 15 and listening since early childhood.  Jeffrey Brown reports on how the iconic program is changing -- and how it's remaining the same.

CHRIS THILE, A Prairie Home Companion:  You know, I suspect we're going to have some fun this evening.


JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  The new “A Prairie Home Companion,” still at the beautiful Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, still a two-hour variety show presented live on public radio, but now led by 35-year-old Chris Thile.

CHRIS THILE:  I'm obsessed with the good things that people make to give to one another.  This show is a place, has been one of America's most consistent sources of good things for 40 years.  And I feel like it's imperative that it continue.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Since its founding in 1974, of course, “A Prairie Home Companion” has been synonymous with one man, Garrison Keillor.  He hosted it, wrote it, embodied it with a sense of the people and place he knew in his bones.

GARRISON KEILLOR, A Prairie Home Companion:  That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Two years ago on this very stage, Keillor told me of the magic of radio and storytelling.

GARRISON KEILLOR:  I think there's — there's a lot of power in listening to one person talking to you.  And — and this should never be underestimated.

JEFFREY BROWN:  It was Keillor who hand-picked his successor, one who'd been performing on the show since age 15 and had listened to it even earlier.

CHRIS THILE:  Some of my earliest memories are of hearing Garrison Keillor's voice in our living room, at a point when I…


CHRIS THILE:  Yes, when I couldn't even tell the difference between his voice and my father's voice.  It's like an authoritative — this authoritative, paternal sound coming from the radio.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Chris Thile, who grew up in Southern California, was a child prodigy on the mandolin.  With groups like Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers, he grew into a leader of a new generation of bluegrass-based, genre-bending musicians.

He can seemingly do anything with his instrument.  I first spoke to Thile three years ago when he recorded an album of 'Bach Partitas.'

CHRIS THILE:  The fugal pieces where they're all about precision, and these second voices come in and then there's a third voice.


"Why student debt is ‘a crisis' for some borrowers" PBS NewsHour 10/21/2016


SUMMARY:  Student debt has been a prominent topic during this year's presidential campaign, with several candidates touting plans for tuition-free college.  Indeed, more than 40 million Americans carry debt from student loans, totaling around $1.3 trillion nationally.  While the median debt is about $27,000, people who owe less than $10,000 are the most likely to default.  Marketplace's Lizzie O'Leary reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Student debt has been a big talking point on the 2016 campaign trail.  Hillary Clinton proposes making tuition free for many students at public colleges.  Donald Trump would expand limits on how much borrowers have to pay back each month.

But what about those already holding debt?

We take a look as part of our series How the Deck Is Stacked, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in partnership with Frontline and Marketplace.

Marketplace's Lizzie O'Leary has the first of two stories.

LIZZIE O'LEARY, Marketplace:  If everything had gone according to plan, Chris Savelle would be on Wall Street right now, not biking through downtown Detroit in a free weekly community ride.

Savelle, who is 31, graduated into the teeth of the recession.  He's got $100,000 in student loan debt on his mind.

What does $100,000 feel like?

CHRIS SAVELLE, Student Borrower:  It sucks.

LIZZIE O'LEARY:  Jessica Love Jordan is in a similar situation.  She started college late and is now working on finishing her master's in addiction counseling.  She juggles school, work and being a single parent.  Sometimes, the debt feels too much.

JESSICA LOVE JORDAN, Student Borrower:  Now and again, when I look at the statement, and see how much I actually have to pay back, it's almost suffocating.  I have those fleeing thoughts, you know what, let me just stop now, and go work, so I can be able to live later on in life.

LIZZIE O'LEARY:  When she graduates, she can expect to make about $33,000 annually as an addiction counselor.  Her debt will be about $90,000.

The median student debt is much lower than Savelle or Love Jordan's, about $27,000.  But their experiences are similar to those of many students who attended state universities at a time when their budgets were being cut, and as the great recession hit.  The money for school had to come from somewhere, in most cases, students.

Where did you think you would be in your life at 31?

CHRIS SAVELLE:  Go work for an investment firm or hedge fund, Chicago, New York, something like that.

LIZZIE O'LEARY:  But when Savelle graduated in 2008, the best job he could find was at a local Wal-Mart.  He's recovered somewhat now.  He works as a supply chain engineer, and supports his mother and sister.

Temple University Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab has been researching the rising price of college for years.

LOAN SHARK SPEAK - Navient:  "We have been strong advocates for streamlining the enrollment process to make it easier for borrowers." aka 'we make it very easy to get into debt and hard to get out of debt.  We need our profits, after all.'

INSIDE JOB - NSA Espionage Suspect Flight Risk

"NSA contractor suspected of espionage is deemed a flight risk" PBS NewsHour 10/21/2016

REF:  The Shadow Brokers (with ransom note)

AGAIN - Snowden is a TRAITOR and he knows it, which is why he fled.


SUMMARY:  The National Security Agency contractor accused of mishandling massive amounts of classified data has been deemed a flight risk.  In August, Harold Martin was arrested at his home in Maryland, where the equivalent of half a billion pages of documents and electronic data was found, some allegedly taken from NSA headquarters.  William Brangham speaks with Matt Apuzzo of The New York Times for more.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  A judge ruled today that a Maryland man accused of stealing massive amounts of information from the National Security Agency was a flight risk and will remain in federal custody.

William Brangham has the story.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  This past August, Harold Martin III was arrested at his home in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.  In his house, investigators discovered the equivalent of half-a-billion pages of documents and electronic data, some allegedly taken from the NSA's headquarters at nearby Fort Meade.

Among the documents were ones marked top-secret and also tools used by the NSA to hack into the computer networks of foreign governments.

Joining me now for more on this case is Matt Apuzzo, who's been covering this story for The New York Times.

Matt Apuzzo, welcome.

I wonder if you would just start off by laying out the case against this gentleman, and what is his defense?

MATT APUZZO, The New York Times:  Well, I mean, what is fascinating is there is the case that's been brought.

And the case that's been brought, as you said, is; hey, this guy had terabytes, billions of pages of documents in his house, in his shed, in the back seat of his car, in the trunk of his car, and, obviously, you're not supposed to do that.  So, there is that case.

But then there is this other case that's kind of looming over all this, and the question is, is he the guy who, not too long ago, facilitated the release of NSA documents, basically for ransom, put them up for sale online?  These were hacking tools, the way the government, the United States government, hacks into other countries and businesses and whatnot?

And so that's really what's going on here, is, there's, OK, he mishandled classified information.  He has basically admitted that.  But is he the guy, is he part of some network that's putting information up for sale?

ELECTION 2016 - From People in Poverty

"What people living in poverty want the presidential candidates to know" PBS NewsHour 10/20/2016

IMHO:  Of course these people are not being listened to.  They are not rich enough to buy politicians.


SUMMARY:  In rural Wilkesboro, North Carolina, nearly a quarter of residents live in poverty, well above the national rate.  Residents there say their needs and concerns are not being discussed in the national political dialogue, which means for some, they won't vote at all. Lisa Desjardins reports.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  All right, this was your assignment for today, but since the election is so close, we have got you working on lots of different things.

And, as part of our Chasing the Dream series, you just recently went out to rural North Carolina.

LISA DESJARDINS (NewsHour):  That's right.

And out there, we found a large group of people and a very large issue that the truth is the campaigns have nearly ignored.

It is a place rich in landscapes and in spirit, fiercely proud of its Appalachian heritage. But amid that beauty and strength, the towns of Western North Carolina are struggling, and many feel no one is listening.

MARK TRUDELL, North Carolina:  I don't have a savings.  It is pretty much paycheck to paycheck.

DARLA DIETZ, North Carolina:  And I don't think politicians realize how many of us.  This is the face of poverty.

LESLIE DIETZ:  They don't understand that there are people that actually try to get by and honestly make a living, and they automatically assume the worst.

LISA DESJARDINS:  It's a conversation happening far outside of Washington.

As the economy slowly improves in many places, here in Wilkes County, at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, by many accounts, times are getting tougher.  Wilkes saw median income plunge 30 percent since the year 2000 down to $33,000 per household.  That's the second steepest drop in wealth in the nation.

CARBON TAX - View From State of Washington

"Pay for carbon pollution?  Why some environmentalists don't support this state tax" PBS NewsHour 10/20/2016

NOTE:  "The state of Washington is one of only seven states that does not levy a personal income tax."  They use a sales tax system.


SUMMARY:  In Washington state, economist Yoram Bauman is leading a campaign to cut carbon emissions by imposing a revenue-neutral carbon tax.  Everyone would have to pay, but instead of creating more revenue, existing taxes like the state sales tax would be cut.  Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports that the opponents and proponents of the measure are not who you might expect.

YORAM BAUMAN, Carbon Washington:  You might be an economist if you don't read human interest stories because they don't interest you.


PAUL SOLMAN (NewsHour):  At Seattle's Museum of Flight earlier this year, Climate Night, headlining, Yoram Bauman, who claims, with a straight face, that he's the world's first and only economic comic.

YORAM BAUMAN:  You might be an economist if you have ever gone into a bank or other financial institution in the hopes of getting a date.


YORAM BAUMAN:  If you adamantly refuse to sell your children because you think they will be worth more later.


PAUL SOLMAN:  But when we visited Seattle in April, Bauman had begun a dead serious fight, to combat climate change in his home state of Washington by imposing a tax on carbon emissions.  He'd founded the grassroots group Carbon Washington to put the issue to voters.

MAN:  Initiative 732, it's going to be on the November ballot.

MAN:  I-732 works by charging polluters with a carbon fee, which lowers pollution.

WOMAN:  And then the revenue that is created will go to reducing other taxes in the state.

PAUL SOLMAN:  Making the carbon tax, starting at $25 per ton of CO2, about 25 cents per gallon of gasoline, revenue-neutral.

YORAM BAUMAN:  The revenue from the carbon tax goes to cut existing taxes.  Most of it goes to cut the state sales tax by a full percentage point.

Most households are going to pay a few hundred dollars a year more for fossil fuels and a few hundred dollars a year less for everything else.