Friday, May 31, 2019

CALIFORNIA - In Wake of Horse Racing Deaths

NOTE:  This has been copied form the e-newspaper, so no links to article

"Governor backs measure to expand racing board powers" by John Antczak, San Diego Union-Tribune 5312019

In wake of horse deaths, bill would allow prompt suspension of meets

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he’s supporting legislation that would give the California Horse Racing Board authority to quickly suspend a meet license when necessary to protect the health and safety of horses or riders.

The announcement Thursday follows the deaths of 26 horses at Santa Anita since Dec.  26.

“The recent horse fatalities in California are unacceptable,” Newsom said in a statement.  “We must hold the horse racing industry to account.  If we can regulate horse race meets, we should have the authority to suspend licenses when animal or human welfare is at risk.”

The legislation, SB469 by state Sen. Bill Dodd, would allow the board to immediately suspend a license without the usual legal notice at least 10 days in advance of a vote, or the 48-hour requirement in the case of so-called special meetings.  The bill has cleared the Senate and now goes to the Assembly.

“Santa Anita Park has led the way in implementing historic reforms that modern racing requires,” Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for track owner The Stronach Group, said in an email.

“We are committed to working with Governor Newsom and to continue the progress we have made to date with owners, trainers, jockeys and all other stakeholders who are prioritizing horse and rider safety,” he said.

Santa Anita’s current meet ends June 23.  On Nov. 1-2, it will host the Breeders’ Cup, considered the biggest two-day event in U.S. horse racing.

Los Alamitos, in Orange County, will then race for three weeks before Del Mar [San Diego] opens it summer meeting July 17.

After the summer meet in 2016, during which 17 horses died, Del Mar invested $5 million in upgrading the track surface and added more veterinarian oversight.  Track officials also reduced racing days in order to have more time after the San Diego County Fair to make the track safe.

Fatalities at Del Mar dropped by 70.6 percent over the past two summers.

The rate of deaths at Santa Anita began drawing notice during the winter when the track east of Los Angeles received unusually heavy rain, bringing scrutiny of the condition of the surface.

Most of the deaths occurred before the track temporarily suspended racing in early March and limited training.

Before racing resumed March 29, Santa Anita instituted medication limits and provided additional track veterinarians to monitor training hours.  The racing board also increased veterinarian, steward and investigator staffing time.

In the meantime, the Los Angeles County district attorney opened an investigation and animal-rights activists have protested at the track.

The most recent death was on May 26, when a 9-year-old gelding was euthanized after injuring a leg in a race a day earlier.  It was the third horse death in nine days.

Among the array of new measures aimed at improving safety, The Stronach Group invested $500,000 in a scanning machine to detect injuries.

In addition, no race-day medications are allowed except for the anti-bleeding medication Lasix, which will be phased out in stages.  Medications for horses in training require a diagnosis from a state-qualified veterinarian, and transparency of veterinarian records has been increased.

Timed, high-speed workouts require permission at least 48 hours in advance so that veterinarians can try to identify at-risk horses.

The group also said it would continue working with independent track surface experts.

Antczak writes for The Associated Press.  U-T staff writer Bryce Miller contributed to this report.

Monday, May 27, 2019

CYBERATTACK - American Towns

"American towns under cyberattack from an NSA-built software" PBS NewsHour 5/26/2019


SUMMARY:  Over the last few weeks, the city of Baltimore essentially went offline after a cyberattack was followed by a ransom demand which the city refused to pay.  According to the New York Times, ‘EternalBlue,’ the software that wreaked havoc in Baltimore and other cities, was actually created by the National Security Agency.  New York Times reporter Scott Shane joins Hari Sreenivasan for more.

CLIMATE CHANGE - What Old Ship's Logs Have To Say

"Centuries-old ships’ logs give insight into climate change" PBS NewsHour 5/25/2019


SUMMARY:  The study of climate change is no longer limited to laboratories and scientists.  Citizen-scientists are helping with research, including a look back through centuries-old ships’ log books.  Rachel Becker, environment reporter for CALmatters and formerly a reporter for The Verge, joins Hari Sreenivasan via Skype from Sacramento for more on what these handwritten histories are telling us.

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 5/24/2019

"Shields and Brooks on Trump-Pelosi feud, 2020 Democrats" PBS NewsHour 5/24/2019


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including NewsHour interviews with 2020 Presidential candidates Eric Swalwell and Kirsten Gillibrand, the escalating feud between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and whether ongoing congressional investigations are leading to impeachment.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And now we turn to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Hello to both of you.

So, we are trying to work our way through a conversation with each one of these candidates.

Mark, there are now, as we said, 23 of them.  We talked to Eric Swalwell tonight, Kirsten Gillibrand last night.

I'm not going to say they are one-issue candidates, but they are — in his case, you heard him talk about gun control, Kirsten Gillibrand emphasizing women's issues.

What are you hearing from them?  Is it smart for them to seize on one issue or not?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Well, we will find out whether it is.

It just strikes me that abortion, as an issue, has been…

Judy Woodruff:  What she's talking about.

Mark Shields:  That's where Kirsten Gillibrand is probably most prominently identified — is an issue where those who seek serious and large change find themselves on the political defensive.

And I think it's fair to say that it's hard to imagine anybody running a winning national campaign on enlarging and making statutory abortion legal in all circumstances or, for that matter, a Democratic Party which is essentially unwelcoming to those people who are — have reservations or are pro-life, but agree on every other issue.

Essentially, we had Bob Casey in his fifth term from Pennsylvania, the United States senator, wouldn't be welcome and not receive party backing, basically.

Judy Woodruff:  What is coming through to you?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Yes.

When I look at these candidates, I'm first struck by how the self-esteem movement was obviously very effective.


David Brooks:  Because, when I look at the presidency — I have interviewed a lot of Presidents since Reagan, really.  And the one thing I come away with after every single interview was, I could never do that job.

Like, it's a really hard job.  And Eisenhower — if I were Eisenhower, I would think, yes, I could do that.  I have run a war.  Franklin Roosevelt was governor of New York.  Ronald Reagan was governor of California.  George H.W. Bush had served in every position almost imaginable.

But why these people think they could be President of the United States is a little mystifying to me.  But maybe they're right.

The second thing I look for is a unique selling proposition, like an actual route to the White House, why you're called to run, not — why it's not just about you getting a little more famous, but why there's been some call on you to run.

And for Elizabeth Warren, I can see it.  She's got a set of policies and plans that are sort of unique.  It's a unique selling proposition.  Biden's got broad experience.  Bernie Sanders has an outlook.

With a lot of the candidates, a lot of the 23, I don't quite see a unique selling proposition or politically even a route to victory.

Judy Woodruff:  Hmm.  Well…

Mark Shields:  Well, no, I don't argue with that.

I mean, I just say, the uneasy consensus on abortion in this country seems to me be in favor of the status quo, which is rape, incest and the life of the mother.  And that — to me, if you start to change that, which I think Republicans are finding right now, when you have got the Republican national chair disavowing it, and the Republican Senate majority leader disavowing the latest change, the most zealous changes that the Republicans are making, I think it tells you something about the politics of that issue.

David Brooks:  It's weird that 50 percent of the country is sort of in the middle on abortion.

Mark Shields:  Yes.

David Brooks:  And Gillibrand says no Democratic candidate should get support if they're in the 50 percent, which is like a guarantee of permanent minority.

Judy Woodruff:  All right, well, let's talk about something that's consumed us for the last couple of days.

And that is what was a fight, a battle between the President and Democrats in the Congress over subpoenas and documents and so forth that has turned into this very personal feud, Mark, between Speaker Pelosi and President Trump.

And here is just a little bit of what the two of them have been saying about each other over the last two days.

Mark Shields:  OK.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):   We believe that the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.

Donald Trump:  I don't do cover-ups.  I'm the most transparent President probably in the history of this country.  So, get these phony investigations over with.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi:  I pray for the President of the United States.  I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.

The White House is just crying out for impeachment.  That's why he flipped yesterday.

Donald Trump:  I'm an extremely stable genius.  She's a mess.  Look, let's face it.  Crazy Nancy, I will tell you what, I have been watching her.  And I have been watching her for a long period of time.  She's not the same person.  She's lost it.

I think Nancy Pelosi is not helping this country. 

Judy Woodruff:  So, Mark, it's gotten very personal.

Mark Shields:  It has gotten very personal, particularly on the President's part.

And it just struck me, when Nancy Pelosi used the term intervention, that's a serious — that is a — that's an attempt, a collective attempt, a cooperative attempt, a collaborative attempt on the part of family and friends to intercede and to present to a person they think is suffering from an addiction or some sort of condition that condition is out of control, and with the idea of seeking remedy and seeking repair.

And I don't think she used the term lightly.  And I would add to that, when you get General James Mattis, who has been totally silent…

Judy Woodruff:  Former defense secretary.

Mark Shields:  Former defense secretary.

He left, and he now is cautioning this President on Iran.  He is cautioning him, the United States, on the use of military power and arguing that diplomacy is important.  When you get the former secretary of defense, whom the President upbraided and insulted, Rex Tillerson, going to the Congress, and really raising serious questions about the President's…

Judy Woodruff:  He testified this week.

Mark Shields:  Testified that the President was unprepared, ill-prepared for the summit in Hamburg with Secretary — with Mr. Putin, and left the United States at a disadvantage, I think that this a larger message here than just political back and forth.

I think there's a serious concern about this President and this presidency.  And, Judy, the first rule I learned covering American President politics is, beware of the Presidential candidate who does not have friends of his or her own age who can tell him when he's wrong and to go to hell.

And, right now, there are no grownups left in the White House.  Donald Trump has Mr. Kushner and Mr. Miller as his two confidants.

Judy Woodruff:  How serious do you see this?

David Brooks:  Yes, I mean, it irks me that they're both questioning each other's mental competence, basically.

You can question policies.  You can question a lot of things, but to say someone is basically in mental decline, it just — it just strikes me as a little too personal.

Donald Trump was — is in the Hall of Fame of the World Wrestling Federation.  And he's taking it to the World Wrestling Federation levels of confrontation.  And do I think he knows what he's doing?  Well, at some level, I do think he does.

The question is, in that stage play, when he confronted all the Democrats, was it him going crazy because he's so self-obsessed?  Yes.  But was — is there also some craftiness to it?  Yes.

I think it's politically the right move for him.  If you look around the world, what's rising is hostility to elites?  Modi gets elected.  Australia, Brexit, Netanyahu, it's just all over the world.

And you can win, you can be forgiven a lot of sins, if you oppose coastal elites in our country, urban elites.  And he's riding that train.  And Nancy Pelosi is a good foil for that.  And, politically, I do think there's some — it's not crazy what he's doing.

Judy Woodruff:  Well…

Mark Shields:  Can I just disagree with David, OK?  And that's this?

I don't think it is shrewd.  I mean, remember what they were discussing.

Judy Woodruff:  I'm sorry, you don't think it's…

Mark Shields:  I don't think it is shrewd.  I don't think it's clever.

What they were discussing is the infrastructure of the United States.  If there's one issue on which there is agreement that the country that was number one on all infrastructure, roads, highways, airports, ports, rail just 15 years ago, and is now number nine, and we're falling apart — we have got an $836 billion back-load.  We haven't raised the gasoline tax in 26 years.

And there's something with the economy just maybe needing a goose very well next year.  I mean, this begs to be done.  It's something that the country desperately needs.  And he walks away from it.  He walks away from it and just ignores it, when, in fact, he could have a political success and a public success.

David Brooks:  I would say, first of all, the fact that he walked away from it shows he cares about more himself than the country.

Mark Shields:  Yes.

David Brooks:  That, I agree with.

Mark Shields:  OK.

David Brooks:  But I don't think it's wrong to think that voters are driven more by animosity than by, what have you done for me?

If you can whip up animosities in this climate, or at least among some voters, then you have got a route to victory, rather than saying, oh, I did something really good for you, you should be grateful, you should reward me.

Those kind of soft and uplifting emotions are a little alien right now from politics.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, let me just say, speaking of whipping up animosities, I just want to show you just this, again, a short clip.

This is something that the President tweeted a version of this.  His personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had spread this on Twitter and then pulled it back.

This is a doctored and then a real version of Nancy Pelosi speaking this week.  I just want to show you a bit of it.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi:  And then he had a press conference in the Rose Garden with all this sort of visuals that obviously were planned.

And then he had a press conference in the Rose Garden with all this sort of visuals that obviously were planned.

Judy Woodruff:  So — and, I mean, we have seen this happen in social media.  It's what's going on right now.  But to know that the President's lawyer — the President was pushing another version of Pelosi.

They pulled together some clips where Pelosi was speaking in a sort of halting way and had it on FOX Business Channel.

I mean, what are we seeing here?

Mark Shields:  We're seeing, Judy, the lack of any moral center or compass in a President and a presidency.

I mean, when — they're going to ask — the grandchildren are going to ask, what did you stand for, grandpa, what did you do?  I mean, when Roosevelt brought a country that was on its knees and its back, back to its feet, when Ronald Reagan won the Cold War, I mean, when Lyndon Johnson brought civil rights to the country, this is what he's going to say?

I doctored up, I made my opponents look bad, I put out phony tapes on them?

I mean, this is beyond — this is an indignity to the office, and it's a disgrace, really, to the country.

David Brooks:  Yes, I agree with that, but it's sort of the times.

We're sort of the old legacy media.  The "NewsHour," The New York Times, The Washington Post, we're legacy media.  But the one thing legacy media has is, we have basic standards below which it's unimaginable to sink, like making up stuff.

Judy Woodruff:  Absolutely.

David Brooks:  And if you do make an error, you correct it.

And so that's just the job we do.  It's the normal thing, part of our world.

The Internet comes in, and there are some things on the Internet that are great, that live up to the standards that we're used to as professionals, and some things that are not.

And you have got to make the distinction between those above the line and those below the line.  But that distinction between above the line and below the line seems to get washed away on the Internet.

And it doesn't help that the President doesn't seem — even seem to acknowledge the idea of the line.

Judy Woodruff:  It's the Internet.  It's social media.  It's also some work being done on cable — on cable news.

Mark Shields:  That's right.

UNDER ATTACK - Transgender Americans

"Why violence against transgender Americans is a crisis that’s under reported" PBS NewsHour 5/24/2019


SUMMARY:  A recent series of murders of transgender victims is causing growing concern, particularly for trans women of color.  It comes at a time when trans celebrities are more accepted in pop culture than ever before -- but also as the Trump administration aims to roll back Obama-era discrimination protections for transgender people.  Amna Nawaz talks to the Anti-Violence Project's Beverly Tillery.

BREXIT - Political Consequences

"After years of Brexit turmoil, UK’s May to step down" PBS NewsHour 5/24/2019


SUMMARY:  Britain's ruling Conservative Party is in search of a new leader, and the country in search of a new Prime Minister.  After less than three years in office, Theresa May announced her resignation Friday, acknowledging that the time for her to try to usher in Brexit had concluded.  May’s turbulent tenure was defined by the UK’s struggle to withdraw from the European Union.  Judy Woodruff reports.

SLAVERY IN AMERICA - The Last Slave Ship

"How discovery of the slave ship Clotilda informs U.S. history" PBS NewsHour 5/23/2019


SUMMARY:  The remains of the last slave ship that came to America have been found.  In 1860, the schooner Clotilda brought 110 Africans to U.S. shores, decades after it was illegal to import slaves into the country.  The wreckage of the boat was discovered in Alabama’s Mobile River.  Megan Thompson reports on the search for Clotilda, its history and the significance for the descendants of those slaves.

CAREGIVERS - Indentured Servitude?

"Why some residential caregivers call their jobs ‘indentured servitude’" PBS NewsHour 5/23/2019


SUMMARY:  Providing for the elderly has become a multi-billion dollar industry, with about 29,000 residential care facilities operating across the country.  But a new investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, finds that some of these facilities are profiting by exploiting caregivers, effectively paying them as little as $2 an hour to work around the clock.  Jennifer Gollan reports.

AMERICAN TALIBAN - John Walker Lindh

"Release of ‘American Taliban’ raises questions about U.S. efforts to deradicalize" PBS NewsHour 5/23/2019


SUMMARY:  John Walker Lindh, who became known as the "American Taliban," was released from federal prison Thursday, three years short of his 20-year sentence.  President Trump criticized the release, saying Lindh was still an extremist.  Nick Schifrin reports and talks to Kevin Lowry, who was chief probation officer for the U.S. district court in Minnesota, about how the U.S. deals with convicted radicals.


"What struggling U.S. farmers want even more than federal aid" PBS NewsHour 5/23/2019


SUMMARY:  American farmers have been among the hardest hit by the U.S. trade war with China.  With no deal between the world’s two largest economies in sight, the Trump administration unveiled a second emergency aid plan Thursday to help offset agricultural losses.  William Brangham talks to Iowa Public Television's Delaney Howell about farmers' support for President Trump and what they want more than aid.

COMEDY - Stand-Up for Peace

"This Jewish-Palestinian couple offers a comedic cure for Middle East conflict" PBS NewsHour 5/22/2019


SUMMARY:  Jess Salomon and Eman El-husseini, a Jewish-Palestinian lesbian married couple who perform standup comedy together, have gained new audiences at a moment when the political debate in Washington over U.S. support for Israel has heated up.  Hari Sreenivasan reports on how this couple is using humor to tackle conflict.

MENTAL HEALTH - Tempering Stress

"How mental health checks may help restaurant workers temper destructive stress" PBS NewsHour 5/22/2019


SUMMARY:  After a series of high-profile suicides last year, one restaurant owner in Sacramento, California, decided to confront a problem plaguing kitchens around the country.  The fast-paced, high-pressure environment and often low wages can take its toll on workers' mental health.  His peer-to-peer counseling and support program, “I Got Your Back,” is now starting to spread.  John Yang reports.

RETHINK COLLEGE - The Morehouse College Grads

"Morehouse grads just got a stunning gift.  What can help more students of color?" PBS NewsHour 5/22/2019


SUMMARY:  Morehouse College's class of 2019 was stunned on Sunday when their commencement speaker, Robert F. Smith, promised to eliminate all of the graduates' student debt.  But the generous pledge also highlights the distinct wealth gap for recent African American graduates.  Amna Nawaz talks with Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed and Mehrsa Baradaran of the University of Georgia School of Law.

RETHINKING COLLEGE - Mending the Divide

"Can the political divide be mended by bringing rural and urban students together?" PBS NewsHour 5/21/2019


SUMMARY:  In a country fractured by political polarization, an Illinois program is hoping college students can help mend the rift.  The University of Chicago and Eureka College created Bridging the Divide to address the harsh rhetoric that emerged from the 2016 election and inspire a generation of leaders by encouraging urban and rural college students to discuss their differences.  Hari Sreenivasan reports.

JUSTICE IN AMERICA - The Eric Garner Shooting

"What’s at stake in hearing for NYPD officer who caused Eric Garner’s death" PBS NewsHour 5/21/2019


SUMMARY:  Eric Garner’s 2014 death at the hands of New York City police sparked national outrage and helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.  The police officer at the center of the case is now facing an administrative hearing, although it is not expected to call for significant penalties.  Amna Nawaz reports and talks to Jim Dwyer of The New York Times, who has been following the story and the hearing.

EUROPE - Migrant Crisis Update

"How this Greek island proves European migrant crisis isn’t over" PBS NewsHour 5/21/2019


SUMMARY:  Right-wing nationalists are expected to do well in upcoming elections for the European Parliament, in part due to voter weariness over mass immigration.  The European Union says the migration crisis that began four years ago is over, as new arrivals have dwindled dramatically.  But as special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports, on the Greek island of Samos, the problem may be worse than ever.

IMMIGRATION - Will 'Dreamers' Have no Home?

"Some ‘Dreamers’ face painful reality of no country to call home" PBS NewsHour 5/20/2019


SUMMARY:  The immigration policies of the Trump administration have dramatically changed life for young undocumented Mexicans who came to the U.S. as children.  Under DACA, which President Obama implemented in 2012, they were protected from deportation.  Now, many have been forced out of the U.S. or left out of fear of deportation, finding they belong in neither country.  NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro reports.

IRAN - The Intelligence Briefing

"What 2 senators took away from intelligence briefing on Iran" PBS NewsHour 5/21/2019


SUMMARY:  Heightened tensions with Iran prompted a congressional intelligence briefing on Tuesday.  As Nick Schifrin reports, senators attending the session came away with differing impressions of the situation, with Sen. Bob Menendez [D-N.J.] expressing concern about the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign, while Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) expressed "real confidence" in the U.S. strategy.

TRUMP - Impeach or Not

"Why Rep. Raskin says he’s changed his mind on impeaching Trump" PBS NewsHour 5/21/2019


SUMMARY:  The showdown over the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches continued to play out Tuesday on Capitol Hill, as Congress again sought answers from the White House, and the Trump administration declined to provide them.  Lisa Desjardins reports, and Judy Woodruff talks to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) a member of the House Judiciary Committee, about moving toward impeachment.

"Trump defiance could push more Democrats into ‘impeachment camp,’ Connolly says" PBS NewsHour 5/22/2019


SUMMARY:  House Democrats are divided on the question of whether to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.  Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) says that while he thinks “we have seen a massive cover-up on so many fronts” by the President -- echoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- he doesn’t believe Democrats need an impeachment inquiry to move forward.  Connolly joins Judy Woodruff.

A bully threatens again.

"Trump refuses to work with Democrats amid simmering impeachment debate" PBS NewsHour 5/22/2019


SUMMARY:  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not call for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, as some members of her party are increasingly urging.  But her firm message for the President was met with a vow by Trump not to work with Democrats on infrastructure or anything else until investigations into him have ceased.  Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff for more.
Inherent contempt of Congress

VOTE 2020 - Democrats and Abortion

"How 2020 Democrats are reacting to state abortion restrictions" PBS NewsHour 5/20/2019


SUMMARY:  On the campaign trail, 2020 Democrats condemned a new Alabama law that bans abortion even in cases of rape and incest.  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called the measure, as well as other recent state efforts to restrict abortion, “blatantly unconstitutional.”  Many of the candidates vowed that if elected president, they would nominate only judges who would uphold Roe vs Wade.  Amna Nawaz reports.

TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER - William Barr vs U.S. Intelligence Agencies

"As Barr looks into Trump Tower intelligence briefing, Clapper denies leaking its contents" PBS NewsHour 5/20/2019


SUMMARY:  Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper saw some of the early evidence of Russian meddling in U.S. elections.  Now a frequent critic and target of President Trump, Clapper has recently published a book, “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence.”  Judy Woodruff talks to Clapper about Trump’s showdown with Iran, confidence in U.S. intelligence and the Mueller report.

"Barr’s new power causes concern among intelligence agencies" PBS NewsHour 5/26/2019


SUMMARY:  President Trump last week gave his political appointee, Attorney General William Barr, full authority to declassify information from intelligence agencies related to “surveillance activities” in the Russia probe.  The move is being questioned by intelligence officials and has stoked fears it could weaken national security.  Special correspondent Jeff Greenfield joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

PIC OF THE DAY - Memorial Day 2019


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"These 5 UFO Traits, Seen by Navy Fighters, Defy Explanation" by Missy Sullivan & Greg Daugherty, History Channel 5/20/2019

You know a UFO has earned its "unidentified" status when cockpit transcripts from elite Navy fighter jets include this frantic pilot exclamation: "Holy s___, what is that?"

When Luis Elizondo ran a small team at the U.S. Department of Defense investigating military-based reports of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), he heard numerous such accounts—by some of the most highly trained aeronautic experts in the military.  They describe objects that appeared to be intelligently controlled, possessing aerodynamic capabilities that far surpass any currently known aircraft technology.

Now pursuing his investigations as part of To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, Elizondo is an integral part of the investigative team featured on HISTORY's “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation," where they have continued to gather eyewitness accounts:

"It's white.  It has no wings.  It has no rotors."

"It didn't fly like an aircraft.  It was so unpredictable—high g, rapid velocity, rapid acceleration."

"I didn't see a trail."

"It was going 70-plus knots underwater."

Those reports—from Navy fighter pilots, radar operators and other witnesses from the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group incident from November 2004—were among a handful of shocking encounters the Unidentified team explored.  When Elizondo ran the Defense Department initiative, called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, he compiled a list of extraordinary, logic-defying capabilities most commonly associated with unidentified aerial phenomena sightings.  He calls those traits the “five observables”:

READ MORE:  When Top Gun Pilots Tangled with a Tic-Tac-Shaped UFO

1)  Anti-gravity lift.  Unlike any known aircraft, these objects have been sighted overcoming the earth’s gravity with no visible means of propulsion.  They also lack any flight surfaces, such as wings.  In the Nimitz incident, witnesses describe the crafts as tubular, shaped like a Tic Tac candy.

2)  Sudden and instantaneous acceleration.  The objects may accelerate or change direction so quickly that no human pilot could survive the g-forces—they would be crushed.  In the Nimitz incident, radar operators say they tracked one of the UFOs as it dropped from the sky at more than 30 times the speed of sound.  Black Aces squadron commander David Fravor, the Nimitz-based fighter pilot who was sent to intercept one of the objects, likened its rapid side-to-side movements, later captured on infrared video, to that of a ping-pong ball.  Radar operators on the USS Princeton, part of the Nimitz carrier group, tracked the object accelerating from a standing position to traveling 60 miles in a minute—an astounding 3,600 miles an hour.  According to manufacturer Boeing, the F/A 18 Super Hornet fighter jet typically currently reaches a maximum speed of Mach 1.6, or about 1,200 miles an hour.


3)  Hypersonic velocities without signatures.  If an aircraft travels faster than the speed of sound, it typically leaves "signatures," like vapor trails and sonic booms.  Many UFO accounts note the lack of such evidence. 

4)  Low observability, or cloaking.  Even when objects are observed, getting a clear and detailed view of them—either through pilot sightings, radar or other means—remains difficult.  Witnesses generally only see the glow or haze around them.

5)  Trans-medium travel.  Some UAP have been seen moving easily in and between different environments, such as space, the earth’s atmosphere and even water.  In the Nimitz incident, witnesses described a UFO hovering over a churning "disturbance" just under the ocean's otherwise calm surface, leading to speculation that another craft had entered the water.  USS Princeton radar operator Gary Vorhees later confirmed from a Navy sonar operator in the area that day that a craft was moving faster than 70 knots, roughly two times the speed of nuclear subs.

No one has yet gotten close to crafts that display these traits, so their origins are still unknown.  Are they a super-top-secret U.S. defense project?  Do they hail from Russia?  China?  Or from even further afield?  The only thing we do know is that their capabilities exceed any technologies currently in the U.S. arsenal.

READ MORE:  Interactive Map: UFO Sightings Taken Seriously by the U.S. Government.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

WARNING - Automatic Agreement to Web Site Terms

"Soon You May Not Even Have to Click on a Website Contract to Be Bound by Its Terms" by Ian MacDougall, ProPublica 5/20/2019

A private and influential legal group you’ve never heard of is about to vote on what critics call a fundamental rollback of consumer rights.

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably clicked “I agree” on many online contracts without ever reading them.  Soon you may be deemed to have agreed to a company’s terms without even knowing it.  A vote is occurring Tuesday that would make it easier for online businesses to dispense with that click and allow websites that you merely browse — anything from Amazon and AT&T to Yahoo and Zillow — to bind you to contract terms without your agreement or awareness.

As public outcry mounts over companies like Facebook collecting and selling user information, the new proposal would prime courts and legislatures to give businesses even more power to extract data from unwitting consumers.  If the proposal is approved, merely posting a link to a company’s terms of service on a homepage could be enough for the company to conclude that a user has agreed to its policies.  That includes everything from provisions that allow the sale of customer data or grant the right to track visitors to policies that limit consumers’ legal rights by barring them from suing in court or in class actions.  Some courts have already given their blessing to this practice.  But the proposal up for a vote Tuesday is set to make those kinds of business-friendly rulings all the more common.

The proposal has outraged consumer advocates, state attorneys general and other constituencies.  They see it as improperly tilting the scales in favor of business interests.  They argue that the solution is creating clearer, simpler contracts rather than lengthy, confusing ones that are harder to find.  The proposal’s authors counter that they have simply summarized trends in American law.

There’s been little discussion of the impending change in the general public.  That’s because the vote isn’t before Congress, the Supreme Court or a regulatory agency.  It’s before a private association virtually unknown outside legal circles: the more than 4,700 judges, legal scholars and practicing attorneys that constitute the American Law Institute [ALI].  The new proposal was drafted by three law professors affiliated with the organization.

Almost a century old, ALI is about as elite an institution as the United States has to offer.  It counts among its founders two chief justices of the U.S. Supreme Court — one of whom, William Howard Taft, was also the 27th president — and its membership is a who’s who of the American bar.  Speakers at ALI’s annual conclave in Washington this week include Chief Justice John Roberts and former Justice Anthony Kennedy.

For decades, ALI has exerted profound influence over American law and life through the publication of what it calls the “Restatements of the Law.”  The Restatements are, in essence, guidebooks to the common law.  That body of law — created by judicial opinions rather than statutes — plays a central role in governing everything from property rights to contract disputes to who’s liable when accidents happen.  But it’s a messy realm; courts in each state are free to create or put their own spin on common-law rules.  The point of the Restatements is to clarify the common law and impose order on it.

The reputation of the Restatements is such that for decades courts have treated them as something close to an authoritative explanation of what the law is and where it’s heading.  “The ALI is the unofficial College of Cardinals of the U.S. legal profession,” said Adam Levitin, a Georgetown University law professor and ALI member who has helped spearhead opposition to the new Restatement.  “Even though its members are not representatives of the public, once the ALI approves these Restatements, lawyers, arbitrators, judges and justices use them as a handy reference guide to what the law is and should be.”

At the heart of consumer advocates’ objections to the Restatement is a section that substantially weakens in the consumer context a core concept of contract law — that a contract requires a “meeting of the minds,” with each party assenting to its terms.  Instead, the Restatement requires businesses only to give customers notice of the contract terms and an opportunity to review them.

The Restatement provides examples of how little businesses need to do to bind consumers to their terms and conditions.  In one hypothetical, a user simply browsing a website becomes bound by its terms of use because the homepage contains a notice that links to the language and reads, “By continuing past this page, you agree to abide by the Terms of Use for this site.”  In another, a user becomes bound by the website’s terms merely by clicking a “Read More” button to access the full text of a webpage.  (Companies can continue using “I Agree” buttons if they prefer.)

The authors of the Restatement — three professors from Harvard Law School, NYU School of Law and the University of Chicago Law School — contend that courts have reasoned there’s no need for businesses to do more, because nobody reads these contract terms anyway.

Consumer advocates and other critics acknowledge that nobody reads online contracts.  But they argue the proposed cure is worse than the disease.  They say it provides businesses an incentive to bury objectionable terms inside ever-longer and more impenetrable contracts — think Apple’s user agreements — instead of identifying better ways to alert consumers to significant or intrusive contract terms.

“Weakening the requirement of mutual assent is not only contrary to fundamental principles of contract law,” New York State Attorney General Letitia James wrote in a May 14 letter to ALI, “but will encourage a veritable race to the bottom, as market forces will drive businesses — which will know they can bind consumers to all but the most odious terms — to draft standard form contracts with egregiously self-serving terms.”  The letter was signed by 23 other state attorneys general and top consumer protection officials.  All but one are Democrats.

Worse still, critics claim, the proposed Restatement departs from the traditional role of Restatements — to synthesize the law as it is — and doesn’t accurately reflect the state of the law.  Opponents assert that the Restatement’s authors have relied on faulty empirical methods and cherry-picking from case law to reach their preferred rules.  “They’re being a little disingenuous,” Levitin said.  “They claim they’re following what courts are doing, and this is out of their hands.  Except that it all depends on some rather constrained readings of the cases.”

One lawyer who represents financial institutions offers a similar view.  “It’s not a good portrayal of the common law of contracts as it applies to consumers,” said Alan Kaplinsky, an ALI member and partner at the law firm Ballard Spahr.  (The firm has represented ProPublica in the past.“This is more of a document expressing the aspirations of the three reporters — what they would like the law to be rather than what the law actually is.”

ALI and the Restatement’s authors dispute these claims.  They have defended their methodology and say they have followed the traditional approach.  The Restatement doesn’t reflect personal opinion, noted one of the three authors.  “We are not partisans,” said University of Chicago law professor Omri Ben-Shahar.  “We are not anti-consumer or anti-business.  ALI entrusted us to identify patterns in the law as developed in the courts.  We did our best to identify what are the relevant precedents and rules.”  As Ben-Shahar put it, “The grounds for the opposition is that people don’t like the law and hope that either the ALI will try to change the law or not engrave into stone existing law, in the hope that maybe it would change in courts over time, since we’re talking about common law that’s developed by courts.”

Proponents of the Restatement argue that it hews to how courts have responded to the rise of e-commerce.  “The courts (and everyone else) recognize that most don’t read the contracts,” Steven Weise wrote in an email to ProPublica.  Weise is a partner at the law firm Proskauer Rose and a member of the ALI’s governing council.  “But that doesn’t mean that the law should give up — the courts have taken classic rules on contract law and applied them in the changing, online environment.”

The authors also contend that there’s a benefit for consumers: tools that make it easier to sue in court.

But consumer advocates see that as meaningless.  Most consumers don’t litigate contract issues because they can’t afford to, they say.  Consumer goods usually aren’t worth the legal fees, and contracts often include mandatory arbitration clauses or class-action waivers that further deter litigation.

The consumer advocates have found an unexpected ally among some in the business community, who oppose the proposed changes to the rules that apply to consumer lawsuits.  Some companies fear that the stronger legal tools will result in a flood of lawsuits and leave businesses unsure of how to conduct themselves to avoid liability.

The combination of consumer and business opposition has led to a groundswell of critical op-eds, law review articles, posts on legal blogs and letters.  Their goal is to stop the Restatement altogether and leave consumer contracts guidelines as they currently are.

The extent of the opposition makes Tuesday’s vote hard to predict, according to ALI members.

Proponents are confident.  Historically, the broader membership has followed the organization’s governing council, which in this case voted in favor of the Restatement.

Opponents seem pessimistic.  “My hope is they drop it altogether,” said Kaplinsky, who served on ALI’s board of advisers for the consumer contracts Restatement.  “The best the opponents can hope for is that it gets sent back” for revision to the authors and the governing council “and dies a slow death.”

Monday, May 20, 2019

SOUTH CHINA SEA - Catastrophic Threats

"South China Sea threatened by ‘a series of catastrophes’" PBS NewsHour 5/18/2019


SUMMARY:  The South China Sea is home to more than a tenth of all the fish caught in the world, but fish stocks there are now on the verge of collapsing.  Overfishing and the destruction of coral reefs have been exacerbated by maritime disputes and development projects.  Greg Poling of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

BREXIT - The British EU to Vote

"With Brexit looming, Britain will vote in European elections" PBS NewsHour 5/18/2019


SUMMARY:  As Britain's departure from the European Union remains on hold, the country will participate next week in the European Parliament elections.  Britain's new Brexit Party is forecast to win a majority of the United Kingdom’s seats in the EU's 28-nation legislative body.  NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 5/17/2019

"Shields and Brooks on abortion law battles, 2020 generational divide" PBS NewsHour 5/17/2019


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including the role of foreign policy in the upcoming Presidential election, restrictive new abortion laws, polling for Presidential candidates and a generational divide in the Democratic Party.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And with that, we turn to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Gentleman, hello.

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Judy.

Judy Woodruff:  So, you have listened to the conversation with Congresswoman Gabbard.

David, to you first. 

How much of a role is foreign policy going the play in this election?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, at the moment, I don't think a primary role.

I was a foreign correspondent in the early '90s covering sort of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.  And I remember, when the Clinton campaign started, suddenly, all my stories about these foreign policy issues disappeared off the American consciousness, because, when Clinton came in people said, something is happening right here.

And, right now, the focus of voters' attention is the crisis right here.  And so I think that's the way it is.  It could change with one foreign policy crisis.  It could all change.  But, right now, this is a pretty domestically focused nation.

Judy Woodruff:  So, for Congresswoman Gabbard, I mean, Mark, as you heard her say, she's very focused on, what does the U.S. do, what's its role in the world, mistakes have been made.

Is that a way to capture voters' imagination, I guess is what I'm asking.

Mark Shields:  Well, it is if, in fact, David is right and an issue or crisis does develop.

And I think we can see crises brewing at this point.  George H.W. Bush, I think it's fair to say, in 1988, his foreign policy credentials, his own military experience, were strong credentials in his election, John Kerry's nomination in 2004.

And Barack Obama, being the only Democratic candidate who had opposed the United States' war in Iraq was — that was his calling card.  That was his credential.  So, I mean, if in fact it's there, it becomes central, if it isn't.  It wasn't in 1992.

So, a lot of — just quickly, David, a lot of comment right now about how the President has handled North Korea, Venezuela, Iran.  So, do we see that being a plus or a minus for the President?


David Brooks:  Well, I would say the big minus is the way he's frayed all our alliances, which makes all those issues harder.

But his general posture is one of sometimes extreme bellicosity, with no convincing idea that he's actually going to do anything about these things.  And so I think we're not very far — we're not very close to a war in Iran.

I think he's loathe to do that.  He'd be crazy to do that.  But he is responding to a situation, which is a tough situation.  If the intelligence reports are true that the Iranians told their militant armies that they sort of control in the region to target Americans, then that's something any American President is going to respond to.

I'm not sure you can respond as well when you have no allies, or you can respond as well as when you have already walked out of the Iran deal.  You have sort of left yourself in a hard place.

And the thing that worries me is, the administration seems to think Iran is on the verge of folding, and that if they just up the pressure, get a little more erratic, then Iran will fold.  Most experts I know do not think they're that close to folding, and we could be in a situation where things spiral.

Judy Woodruff:  Mark, let's turn to a domestic issue that a lot of people are talking about right now.

And that is the anti-abortion movement moving essentially state after state in the last few weeks and months to impose even stricter limits on abortion, in the case of Alabama, the strictest limits in the country, basically saying all abortions are illegal.  Doctors could go to prison.

What do you see is going on here?  I mean, what does this movement say to you?  And do you think one political party or another — I mean, setting — obviously, it's a serious issue.  But setting the issue itself aside, does one political party or another stand to lose from this?

Mark Shields:  Yes.  Yes.

I would say that, first of all, the issue itself is thorny and unresolved in the country, and remains so, after some 45 years, unlike the country's moved considerably to the left or liberal position on gay rights, on same-sex marriage.

Abortion has been stuck in — the Gallup poll has asked the same question annually.  Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?  The most recent, 48 percent of Americans considered pro-life, 48 percent pro-choice.

But Lydia Saad of Gallup writes — and I think she's right — there is a consensus on this thorny, difficult issue on three aspects, on the life of the mother, should abortion be available and optional in the case of the life of the mother.

Judy Woodruff:  Right.

Mark Shields:  And 71 percent of those who identify as pro-life say it should be, so seven out of 10.  And the same thing by a simple majority — it's not quite that high — on the question of a pregnancy as a result of rape or incest.

So I would say, in answer to your question, Judy, that, politically, this is a — it's — I don't want to say a suicide pact for Republicans.  Republicans are very much on the defensive.  And it will put them in a position where all those Democratic House seats that were won in 2018 in places like Pennsylvania, New Jersey got a lot tougher for — uphill for Republicans to win back.

David Brooks:  Yes, I'm not sure.

I mean, New York started this by passing a very liberal abortion law, which went all the way through the pregnancy.

Mark Shields:  That's right.

Judy Woodruff:  Right.

David Brooks:  Virginia, there was one that was proposed that didn't end up going anywhere.

And so I — the polling data I look at has three positions.  One, do you think abortion should always be legal?  And you get like 27 percent.

Mark Shields:  Yes.

David Brooks:  Should never be legal, 18 percent.  Should be legal, which the European solution, which is just legal first trimester, harder the second, 50 percent.

And that 50 or 55 percent has — as Mark says, has been very stable since Roe v. Wade.  And — but the problem is, we took it out of politics, so we couldn't get to the moderate position.  Now the extremists have taken over both sides.

And everybody is speaking for these extreme position.


Judy Woodruff:  But I was just going to say, right now, it's the restrictive side that is having success in legislature after legislature.

David Brooks:  Right.  Well, in the red states, yes.

Judy Woodruff:  Right.

Mark Shields:  I think David — both in Virginia and New York, the Democrats were seen, unfavorably and unfortunately, and I think wrong, as a party of infanticide.  I mean, they really were.

I mean, Ralph Northam, that's what got him into initial trouble.

Judy Woodruff:  The proposal that was put forward and then withdrawn.

Mark Shields:  That's exactly right.

But now I think there's no question that it's the Republican dominant position.  That's why Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader, has tried to distance himself.  He realizes this — this is a killer in suburban America.

And America remains pro-choice and anti-abortion.

David Brooks:  It's like what the NRA did to the gun issue, these people are doing to the abortion issue.

Mark Shields:  Yes.  That's right.  Yes.

GAME OF THRONES - Effect on Fantasy Genre

"What blockbuster ‘Game of Thrones’ meant for the fantasy genre" PBS NewsHour 5/17/2019


SUMMARY:  For the millions of viewers around the world addicted to HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” winter is coming, this weekend.  The television phenomenon, which upwards of 17 million people watch per episode, concludes its eighth and final season with no shortage of attention or critique.  Jeffrey Brown reports on how the series became a sensation, where it fell short and what it means for the fantasy genre.

COMMENT:  I have read may complaints on Twitter/Facebook about season 8 ending, but from what I see many have forgotten that it's "The Game of THRONES."  The show was not about the 'coming winter' or any other issue than who will sit on the "Iron Throne."

Game of Thrones Season 8 - Official Trailer

CALIFORNIA - Wildfire Fallout

"This wildfire season, aging power infrastructure may leave parts of California dark" PBS NewsHour 5/17/2019


SUMMARY:  California wildfires have been brutal recently.  The worst in a century was last November’s Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and largely destroyed the town of Paradise.  State investigators have confirmed a Pacific Gas & Electric transmission line caused the blaze.  Amna Nawaz talks to The Wall Street Journal’s Russell Gold about how it started and whether PG&E has taken steps to prevent recurrence.

HONG KONG - Extradition to China a Threat

"If bill allowing extradition to China passes, ‘nobody is safe’ in Hong Kong, says critic" PBS NewsHour 5/17/2019


SUMMARY:  In Hong Kong, crowds are taking to the streets to protest a new law that allows extradition of suspected criminals to China.  The city has long valued its independence, and opponents of the policy fear it will enable China to target critics and create a chilling effect on speech.  Nick Schifrin talks to Martin Lee, an attorney and the founding chairman of the first pro-democracy party in Hong Kong.


"Report says OSU doctor sexually abused students for decades — and school officials knew" PBS NewsHour 5/17/2019


SUMMARY:  Disturbing new details are emerging about another college athletics sex abuse scandal, this time at the Ohio State University.  The school says a physician who worked in the student health center and served as a team doctor committed the abuse from the 1970s through the 1990s.  John Yang talks to Mike Thompson news director at WOSU public media, which is independent of the university.

THE MET - Donor Accountability

"How the Met is handling dilemma of donor accountability" PBS NewsHour 5/16/2019


SUMMARY:  Pressure is increasingly being applied to institutions benefiting from philanthropy to be accountable for their funding sources.  Lately, the opioid epidemic has highlighted that dilemma: New York's famed Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met] is the latest museum to turn down money from a family linked with the manufacturing of OxyContin.  Jeffrey Brown talks to the Met's president and CEO, Daniel Weiss.

GEN Z - Looking For Careers

"What Gen Z college grads are looking for in a career" PBS NewsHour 5/16/2019


SUMMARY:  The oldest members of Gen Z, the population segment born after 1996, are leaving college and entering the workforce.  How do their expectations and outlooks vary from those of the Millennials who have recently reshaped the modern workplace?  Economics correspondent Paul Solman and financial journalist Beth Kobliner talk to Gen Z college students as they approach graduation and anticipate careers.

SOUTH AFRICA - Running Dry

"How failing infrastructure and climate change leave many South Africans without water" PBS NewsHour 5/16/2019


SUMMARY:  It's been 25 years since South Africa dismantled apartheid, and while political progress has occurred, the young democracy continues to face hurdles.  In recent years, extreme drought pushed the country to the brink of disaster, and although rainfall finally mitigated the situation, persistent water shortages are now a part of daily life.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

HURRICANE RELIEF - Rick Scott vs Chuck Schumer

"Why Sen. Scott blames Schumer for stalled Hurricane Michael relief" PBS NewsHour 5/16/2019


SUMMARY:  More than 200 days have passed since Hurricane Michael hit Florida with devastating Category 5 force -- but a corresponding disaster relief bill is still yet to be passed.  Amna Nawaz talks to Florida .  Rick Scott [R-Fl], who was the state’s governor during the storm, about the “frustrating” months of gridlock, funding Puerto Rico's recovery and why Sen. Scott blames Sen. Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] for the stalemate.

U.S. SUPREME COURT - View of Former Justice Stevens

"Former Justice Stevens on the 3 worst Supreme Court decisions of his tenure" PBS NewsHour 5/15/2019


SUMMARY:  Former Justice John Paul Stevens spent 35 years on the Supreme Court, writing some of its most important decisions.  At age 99, he is still writing, including a new memoir, and weighing in on prominent U.S. issues today.  Judy Woodruff sat down with Justice Stevens in April to hear his thoughts on everything from President Trump to how a childhood accident shaped his future views on gun ownership.

DRUG CARTELS - The Rx Cartel

"Conn. Attorney General calls generic drug makers a ‘private sector cartel’" PBS NewsHour 5/15/2019


SUMMARY:  Affordable health care is a persistent concern for Americans and a topic of great political debate.  Typically, generic prescription drugs offer a cheaper alternative to name brands, but a new multi-state [44] lawsuit alleges that their manufacturers have been artificially raising prices.  John Yang talks to William Tong, Attorney General of Connecticut, whose office has been leading the investigation.

"How generic drug makers are responding to price-fixing lawsuit" PBS NewsHour 5/15/2019


SUMMARY:  U.S. consumers often turn to generic versions of prescription drugs to keep costs down, but dozens of states are now suing manufacturers of these drugs, saying they illegally fixed prices and divided up market share.  Affected drugs include medicines used to treat everything from minor infections to HIV.  John Yang gets reaction from Chip Davis, CEO of the Association for Accessible Medicines.

MEDIA ART - Fire & Ice

"Artists harness the power of fire and ice to shape attitudes on climate change" PBS NewsHour 5/15/2019


SUMMARY:  There's no shortage of powerful images and video when it comes to natural disasters like wildfires and melting glaciers.  But a pair of artists are now using those images in new ways, as part of their mission to warn people about climate change and its devastating impact on familiar landscapes.  Miles O'Brien takes a different look at fire and ice and the balance between horror and beauty.

"California on Fire" preview

Art of Zaria Formen

ABORTION WARS - Extreme Anti-Abortion Laws and Roe v Wade

aka 'The March to Theocracy,' government by the Bible.

"With abortion measures, states see chance to challenge Roe v Wade" PBS NewsHour 5/15/2019


SUMMARY:  With the Supreme Court's conservative makeup, more states are implementing legislation that tests the limits of Roe v Wade.  Alabama's governor has signed the most restrictive abortion law in the country, while Vermont aims to preserve abortion rights into the future.  Amna Nawaz talks to The Montgomery Advertiser's Brian Lyman, VTDigger's Anne Galloway, and Florida State University's Mary Ziegler.

TRUMP ANTI-IMMIGRATION - 'Overhaul' of Immigration

"Trump to propose overhaul of U.S. immigration system" PBS NewsHour 5/15/2019


SUMMARY:  President Trump is returning to a familiar issue: immigration.  On Thursday, Trump is expected to deliver a speech in which he proposes an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, including the number of immigrants accepted, development of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and how visas are granted.  Yamiche Alcindor talks to Amna Nawaz about the plan’s details and its likely reception by Congress.

RETHINKING COLLEGE - Why Need for Remedial Math

In high school I 'majored' in math (including college prep classes), the problem is a failure of today's high school education programs.

"Many college students struggle to pass remedial math.  Do they need to?" PBS NewsHour 5/14/2019


SUMMARY:  Colleges created remedial education classes to ensure students were sufficiently prepared for more advanced material.  But increasingly, there’s a sense that remedial courses are hurting the prospects of the students they are intended to help.  As a result, some California colleges and high schools are rethinking their approach to teaching math -- with encouraging results.  Hari Sreenivasan reports.