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<September 2014>


College under fire over sex questions
Clemson University suspends mandatory online course that asked questions about sex lives, drinking and drug use.

Airliner's engine 'exploded'
The plane was flying over the ocean off California with 147 people on board when the right engine "blew," JetBlue said. Smoke filled the cabin, but the oxygen masks didn't deploy, one passenger said. The drama didn't end there.

6 must-have apps for iPhone 6
As millions of people get their hands on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on Friday, many will no doubt be looking for new apps that take advantage of the new phones' capabilities.

Current Weather Conditions In Guthrie, OK
Fair, and 71 ° F. For more details?


Fence jumper prompts White House evacuation

Barack Obama, Michelle ObamaPart of the White House has been evacuated after someone jumped the fence at the executive mansion.

The incident occurred Friday evening shortly after President Barack Obama and his daughters left aboard a helicopter for the presidential retreat in Maryland, Camp David. A Secret Service agent at the scene says someone jumped the fence surrounding the White House. Much of the West Wing was evacuated.

Last week, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Secret Service apprehended a man who jumped over the North Fence of the White House. Officers drew their firearms and used a service dog as they took the man in custody.

The post Fence jumper prompts White House evacuation appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Brooks and Dionne on ground troop debate, Hillary’s chances of running


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JUDY WOODRUFF: This week, Congress gave its support to arming moderate Syrian rebels, but there seemed to be a divide between the military and the White House over the need for ground troops to take on the Islamic State group.

We analyze that and more with Brooks and Dionne. That’s New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. Mark Shields is away.

Welcome to you both.

E.J. DIONNE, The Washington Post: Good to be with you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, the Islamic State group, the president got the support, David, that he wanted from the House and the Senate to arm Syrian rebels.

The polls, though, are showing the public is saying they don’t think this strategy is going to work, even though they agree with the specifics. And then, as we just said, the generals are saying, hey, we are going to need ground troops, despite what the president said.

How does all this limit him?  How much does it complicate what the U.S. is trying to do?

DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times: Well, the first thing is, I was impressed by how big the majorities were. It seems like, when you look at politics, that parties, especially the Republican Party, has shifted radically on domestic policy, the Tea Party direction, which tends to be less interventionist abroad.

But the Republican Party especially was solidly behind the president for the most part. The Democratic Party was too. And so there were people on either end that were against it, but there’s still sort of a — at least in this foreign policy, on this issue, preventing a caliphate from existing in Iraq and Syria, pretty solid majorities.

What’s happening now, we’re in — we’re entering the mission creep phase. It’s pretty clear that the idea of just using air warfare is not going to get ISIS out of the cities. And the generals are beginning to think that through, and you will probably need some special forces on the ground, not a big invasion or anything like that.

It’s also clear we have a pretty unilateral effort. It’s much multilateral than George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq a decade ago or whatever. And so what we have is a big gap between what we have so far committed and what we will be required to get to accomplish the mission. And the coming debate is over how much we increase that commitment.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, E.J., the strategy is only a couple weeks’ old and already it’s — is it falling apart?

E.J. DIONNE: Well, it hasn’t been tested yet.

I mean, I think that the vote was striking. If you like bipartisanship, you will love this vote, because not only was support bipartisan, but the opposition was bipartisan. When you have Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren on the same side, on the no side, you’re talking about…

JUDY WOODRUFF: For different reasons.

E.J. DIONNE: For — well, different, but — that’s true.

Ron Paul — Rand Paul, rather, was — is sort of uneasy about the intervention. And I think that you had an interesting moment with the generals, where they were arguing, we need more troops. And the president really went out of his way to assert kind of civilian control, and to say, you know, they can say what they want, but I am committed not to putting American ground troops in, combat troops in.

And so I think the test here — I don’t think the limits on the president are I political. I don’t think the limits on the president are even from his own military. The limits are, will this strategy work?  And I think Americans basically don’t want to commit ground troops, and yet these polls suggest they worry that anything we touch in Iraq will not work the way we intended. And there’s some reason for them to feel that way.


But there are sort of two strategies here from the president. The first is, we will degrade ISIS. The second is that we will not commit ground troops. Well, those two things may not be true. And so which one is he going to choose?  Is he really going to leave office with the Islamic State as powerful as it is now, holding as much ground as it is now?

I suspect he’s going to begin to give ground. It’s not a big invasion if it’s special operations forces. I suspect he’s going to involve — Dwight Eisenhower used to say, planning is everything, but plans are nothing, which means you go in with a strategy, but you have got to adjust.

And I suspect there is going to be a lot of adjustment in ways that we can’t foresee right now.

E.J. DIONNE: But I think a lot depends on, how quickly do we expect to get this done?  And all of the testimony, including from the military, is that this is a very long-term operation.

And the hope is that not only can you get the Iraqi military back into a position where they can fight again, but they’re going to try to build, to create these Sunni national guard units. Now, that will take time. And it’s a lot to hang on new national guard units.

But I think there’s not a lot of pressure to get this done tomorrow morning, which is why I think he can hold his ground for a while on the ground — on the combat troops.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Is it wise to rule out ground troops, though, before this even begins, though?

DAVID BROOKS: I don’t think so. I think you have a strategy and then you have the means to get there. Whether you have ground troops or not is the means.

The strategy is to degrade ISIS, so you should leave all your means on the table. That doesn’t mean you want to do it, and that doesn’t mean the American people support it or I particularly would want to do it. But sending special operations forces to locate terrorists and things like that, that may be necessary. It seems to me, if you are committed, as the president said he was, to mission, then you should have maximum flexibility about how to get there.

E.J. DIONNE: It’s a statement to our allies, and particularly in the Middle East, saying, we can’t do all this ourselves. We have no intention of doing what we did the last time, so you have got to step up, too. So I think there could be something strategic about it as well.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Change of subject to somebody who saw herself having some hiccups and problems a few years ago when she tried to run for president over her Iraq position.

But, David, Hillary Clinton, she was in Iowa this weekend. She was telling a big crowd at the Harkin — Tom Harkin final steak fry that, yes, she’s thinking about running for president again.

Do we learn something from this?  Do we learn that it’s — she’s farther down the road?  Do we learn anything about whether people want her to run?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, people do want her to run. She’s the odds-on favorite.

What we haven’t learned is what the message is. And that’s the big thing I’m really curious about. What she’s been saying so far is a message of economic security. It’s basically a standard Democratic message. It’s not particularly new, but it may be effective.

But if I’m looking at Hillary Clinton, I do think there’s going to be opposition on the left in the university towns, in the more progressive side. There’s clearly a desire for something on the left. And there’s the problem of age and the fact that she seems to be from the 1990s.

And so, to me, the impulse is to be conservative and coast to the nomination, but the imperative is to be new and say, I’m not the — we’re not just going back to the Clinton years. I have got a new theme. I have got a new agenda. I have got a new argument.

And so far — it’s not fair to expect her to have done it so far, but I do think the desire to take risks is how — one of the ways to look at the Clinton campaign. Is it really a risk-taking, new thing?

JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see that?

E.J. DIONNE: Well, first, the fact that she’s back in Iowa is a pretty sure indication that she’s running, because, after running third in those caucuses, she had never wanted to go back there. She noted that it’s been — she hasn’t been there since 2008.

And I think she is trying to find for this — for 2016 very similar ground to what Bill Clinton found in 1992. But it doesn’t mean it’s exactly the same ground. Clinton, the — Bill Clinton was very good at, on the one hand, being the new Democrat, having new ideas, but he still in many ways was an old-fashioned Democrat who talked about inequality, taxing the rich more, and he managed to put that together.

Doing that in 2016 probably requires Hillary Clinton to be a little tougher on the left side. She has got to be tougher on inequality, which she was, and she spoke very strongly about that. She’s talking a lot about women, and particularly working-class women, and what they’re going through.

E.J. DIONNE: And I think that is — she is trying to create the same thing, but all these years later, it has got to be a slightly different thing.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But is it — is she saying enough at this point, David?  Is this sort of teasing with a comment every few weeks or so, is that where she ought to be at this point in September 2014?


Wait until the midterm, and then you can get serious. I think it would be premature, immature, overmature.


E.J. DIONNE: Immature, she won’t get accused of.

DAVID BROOKS: Right. Right. Yes.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we were following her. We had a camera crew, and so we followed her in Iowa this weekend.

But, E.J., we were there also to cover the Senate race, a very close race between Congressman Braley, the Democrat, Joni Ernst, the Republican state senator. A lot — a few things have happened on the Senate landscape this week. There’s that. There’s — that race has gotten a little bit tighter just in the last few days.

In Kansas, the race that we thought Congressman — or Senator Pat Roberts, the Republican incumbent, had it in a walk. The ballot is changed. The Democrat’s out — he’s running against the incumbent. A judge ruled something today. But how do you see the Senate landscape?  What does it feel like right now?

E.J. DIONNE: Well, this may prove I’m a self-hating pundit, but I love the fact the pundits can’t figure this out.


E.J. DIONNE: You have all of these very complicated mathematical models that say 51-49 the Republicans will take over. That’s a very sophisticated way of saying, who knows?

And I think that what you have got in this election overall are Republicans hoping and believing that President — President Obama’s unpopularity is enough to carry them through. And the president is down. But the Republicans aren’t really offering very much, and a lot of these Democrats are saying, wait a minute, what would you cut?  What kinds of — do you have anything for working people who are — who have really been hammered by this economy?

And so I think you have got an electorate that hasn’t figured out what this campaign is about, because I don’t think the politicians have figured what it’s about. I think Kansas is a state that I think is going to be perhaps the most interesting state in the country, because you not only have an independent running against a Republican, and so you have a chance of a Republican losing for the first time in the New Deal, but — since the New Deal — but you also have this amazing governor’s race, where Governor Sam Brownback, who has done all this tax-cutting — the budget is a mess, and people are worried about cuts in education.

The Democrats could win that. Joe Scarborough made — former congressman, made a great point, that, in 1978, Prop 13 made the tax-cutting — made tax-cutting the central Republican issue. This might be the first election where a Republican governor loses an election because he cut taxes too much. It’s an amazing thing going on in Kansas.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you see things still unsettled in mid-September?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, we know where they are now. We don’t know where they will be in six weeks.

But I do think this pundit has it — does have it figured out.


DAVID BROOKS: That we see a national tide. There’s clearly a national tide.

You look at the New York Times/CBS poll that came out this week, huge to the Republicans. They’re just doing very, very well in the generic ballot. Obama is down, huge national tide. And so if it becomes a national election, which the Republicans are trying to make it, they’re going to do really well.

Militating against that, you see in individual states some shifts in the Democratic direction. North Carolina, in particular, you’re seeing a shift there on the Democratic part, the situation in Kansas, a few other places. To me, the bottom line right now is — and the Democrats are trying to make it local races, a bunch of local races.

I think the history is that when you have one party trying to do national, one party trying to do local, usually, the one that is trying to do national tends to do a little bit better. And so I do still think the Republicans are likely to take it over, but, you know, that could all shift, obviously.

E.J. DIONNE: I think this is premature punditry at this point.

DAVID BROOKS: Well, I’m only saying where it is today.


JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s nothing wrong with that.

But you think things are still…

E.J. DIONNE: I think things are still unsettled.

And, in fact, one of the striking things in the punditry is that people were saying this is heading the Republicans’ way. And you have seen pulling back. Iowa is a case where the race has probably moved a little Democratic. There are a bunch of states where that has happened.

DAVID BROOKS: Right, Georgia, too.


DAVID BROOKS: And the only point I would make is that there are just so many states the Republicans can pick up. There are so — the Democrats are defending on so many fronts, that the Republicans don’t have to win them all.

E.J. DIONNE: They start with three, and so they need three more.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, the two of you are terrific. And we’re glad you’re here.

E.J. DIONNE: Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: E.J. Dionne, David Brooks, thank you.

E.J. DIONNE: Take care.

The post Brooks and Dionne on ground troop debate, Hillary’s chances of running appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Should public lands be a natural setting for extreme sports?


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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to the second in our two-part look at land disputes in the American West.

Last night, Jeffrey Brown looked at a fight between local residents and the federal government over closing down a canyon rich in archaeological treasures to motorized vehicles.

Tonight, Jeff has the story of a very different split over how to enjoy and experience the natural beauty.

JEFFREY BROWN: Stretch a high-tech nylon line some 400 feet above a canyon near Moab, Utah.

HAYLEY ASHBURN: Do you want to tighten it before we walk?

SCOTT ROGERS: It’s really tight, actually.

JEFFREY BROWN: Strap on a harness.

SCOTT ROGERS: I’m going to go barefoot. I like feeling the line between my toes.

JEFFREY BROWN: And step out into the air.


JEFFREY BROWN: It’s called highlining, done on public lands, a perfectly legal activity that most of us, including your correspondent, who stayed far back from cliff’s edge, would never dream of undertaking.

HAYLEY ASHBURN: I’m always a little bit nervous no matter how many I do.

JEFFREY BROWN: But Hayley Ashburn and Scott Rogers, members of a group called the Moab Monkeys, do this sort of thing several times a week.

HAYLEY ASHBURN: You are forced to narrow your focus. So, I’m thinking about the anchor on the other side and how bad I want to get there. And I’m thinking about how long it’s been since I took my last step and when I’m going to take my next step and what my foot feels like on the line.

SCOTT ROGERS: It’s this really, like, rush of overwhelming happiness, because you have done something that you were terrified of, and then you overcame that fear, and then all of a sudden you’re proud of yourself. You feel empowered, like you can do anything, really.

JEFFREY BROWN: In highlining, sky walkers are tethered to the line. As this video of Scott Rogers shows, that’s not the case in other new sports, like base jumping, in which jumpers launch themselves off stationary objects like cliffs and pull a parachute at the key moment. Timing is everything, the room for error very small.

Rogers and Ashburn know people who have died when the wind blew them back into the cliff or their parachute was opened too late. But that doesn’t stop them, and it certainly doesn’t stop them from capturing their exploits on video and posting them online.

HAYLEY ASHBURN: I love spreading the joy, because I feel like we know the secret about life, about when you do things that are scary and you overcome your fears, not only is it the most fun you will ever have, but it’s so empowering and it changes the whole rest of your life.

And doing — being out here doing what we do and making media like that is our goal, for sure.

SCOTT ROGERS: It’s taking something that is part of our life and then showing it to the world and saying, hey, look, you can have fun doing these things you didn’t even realize existed.

JEFFREY BROWN: But there’s, of course, another way of looking at and being a part of this extraordinary landscape, one that’s quieter, calmer, and sees the beauty, the drama, the extremes, if you will, in the land itself, the red rock walls, towering spires, winding rivers, plunging canyons.

In this way of experiencing the wilderness, the long walk, the light footprint, the contemplation of man’s small part in the universe take precedence.

ANDREW GULLIFORD, Environmental Author: The question is what sort of land protection do you want, and what sort of ethic do you want to evolve with the younger generation?  Part of what the struggle is right now is for quiet users to have the space they need.

Colorado historian and nature writer Andrew Gulliford says cultural shifts in how people view the outdoors have raised important new questions.

ANDREW GULLIFORD: We have a long tradition of public land use in the American West. The new kinds of outdoor activities, though, the extreme sport activities, there’s not a lot of nature involved.

So today’s generation is treating the outdoors as a dirty gym, and that’s not what was thought about 50 years ago with the 1964 Wilderness Act, with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. So those conservation laws were about preserving nature for nature’s sake. And we have got a new generation of extreme sports enthusiasts who simply want to go out, use the outdoors, photograph themselves with, you know, special little cameras, and then hit the brew pub by dark and talk about their exploits.

JEFFREY BROWN: There has been much talk about this particular exploit, the rope swing at Corona Arch, an iconic landmark just outside Moab.

The YouTube video put out in 2012 has had more than 25 million views online. It also got the attention of the federal Bureau of Land Management, which had recently taken over the arch from the state of Utah in a land swap, and which administers so much of this state and other parts of the West.

MEGAN CRANDALL, Spokeswoman, Bureau of Land Management Utah: It’s just created over time.

JEFFREY BROWN: Megan Crandall is a spokeswoman.

So we learn about this on videos that we see. How do you learn about it?

MEGAN CRANDALL: The same way you do.

JEFFREY BROWN: What was your reaction?




MEGAN CRANDALL: No, I mean, my reaction, I was just blown away. Wow, that’s incredible.

JEFFREY BROWN: And then what happens?  You have to figure out how to manage this.

MEGAN CRANDALL: Right. Certainly, we have a responsibility to manage for some of these new uses, but, as we have seen with roped activities, it was like a firestorm. It took off. It gained in popularity. And we just saw usage in that way surge.

JEFFREY BROWN: The surge of use including one death and one serious injury by rope swingers who misjudged how long the ropes needed to be.

Crandall says BLM policy is that people use public lands at their own risk, but the agency does look at a variety of factors, including damage to the rocks and the impact on those who want to experience the arch the old-fashioned way. And while they study these impacts, federal officials proposed a ban on roped activities at Corona.

MEGAN CRANDALL: What we’re doing is, we’re putting out for public comment a suggestion that we institute a temporary two-year restriction on roped activities to give us the time and space we need to really evaluate if continuing to allow those activities here is the most appropriate use of the area.

JEFFREY BROWN: The Moab Monkeys, of course, say they love the land too, and are happy to share it.

HAYLEY ASHBURN: It seems like a really long flight.

JEFFREY BROWN: But Hayley Ashburn says there are plenty of public places for those who complain about the disruption of the extreme sports.

HAYLEY ASHBURN: If they want peace, they should go to Arches or any national park. I call those no-fun-allowed zones.

JEFFREY BROWN: The national parks?

HAYLEY ASHBURN: Yes. It’s, like, going to be nice and quiet. Nobody is going to be no base jumping, and nobody is going to be bolting anything. There’s nobody going to be screaming and yelling and having a really amazing time.

JEFFREY BROWN: The BLM’s Megan Crandall suggests that argument works both ways, that there’s also plenty of room for roped activities if a ban is put in at Corona Arch.

MEGAN CRANDALL: There are other places in the Moab Field Office area where you can still engage in these activities. But at least, for us, we want to take the time to really think about whether it’s appropriate for those to continue here.

JEFFREY BROWN: The BLM is taking public comments on the issue through the end of this month.

The post Should public lands be a natural setting for extreme sports? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.