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Women’s History Month


I have been thinking about Women’s History Month and how to mark its passing for a while. This month has always been a time of reflection, a chance to look back on all that women have accomplished for themselves and the contributions they have made to American history. 

Which is why I jumped at the opportunity to sit down with four inspiring women DNC Caucus and Council Chairs at the DNC’s Winter Meeting and discuss what Women’s History Month means to them. Bel Leong-Hong, Iris Martinez, Betty Richie, and Virgie Rollins have been working for American women from all backgrounds and walks of life for decades, and they are happy to share their war stories, with much humor, with the next generation.

There’s no doubt that “we haven’t come as far as we think,” DNC Rural Council Chair Betty Richie explained to me.  Whether in boardrooms or at the ballot box, the barriers that women still face are on her mind.

Bel Leong-Hong, DNC Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus Chair agrees. “We are just beginning to get a seat at the table. We have to remind our youth that the world is theirs” if we want to continue making gains in leadership positions. 

Of course, a great opportunity to bring young women into the fold is coming up in 2016, as Virgie Rollins, DNC Black Caucus Chair, reminded us. “2016 should be exciting for women,” she said.

The next rising star political woman could come from anywhere – just ask Illinois State Senator Iris Martinez, Chair of the DNC Hispanic Council. She got a job in the mailroom of the Mayor’s office not because she wanted to run for office but because she needed a job.

So this year, with these words of wisdom to guide me, I am embracing Women’s History Month as a call to action to continue the fight for women’s rights and political participation. 

Young women can’t assume that the women who came before us have already fought and won on our behalf.  Rather, young women everywhere should be inspired by their example to do more and better for ourselves and generations to come. 

Here’s one final question that I asked the group: What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in male-dominated fields?

“Never give up.” – Bel Leong-Hong, DNC AAPI Caucus Chair, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence, and Maryland Democratic superdelegate.

“¡Sí se puede!  Yes you can!” – Iris Martinez, DNC Hispanic Caucus Chair and Illinois State Senator, first Hispanic woman elected to the Illinois State Senate and to serve as Assistant Majority Leader.

“Just be yourself, be prepared…and break down the door!” – Betty Richie, DNC Rural Council Chair, DNC Women’s Caucus Secretary, 2008 Texas Democratic superdelegate.

“Don’t be afraid, you cannot be afraid! Just go out and be a leader.” – Virgie Rollins, DNC Black Caucus Chair, former President of the National Federation of Democratic Women, first African American woman to Chair the Michigan Democratic Women’s Caucus.

Happy Women’s History Month!

Bridget Hebbard is the Mame Reiley Fellow at the Democratic National Committee.

DNC Chair Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s Statement on the Retirement of Senator Harry Reid

Washington, DC – DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on Harry Reid’s announcement that he will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2016:

"Senator Harry Reid is a committed fighter for the people of Nevada, and he embodies the true definition of a thoughtful public servant and a pragmatic politician. As the leader of Senate Democrats for the past decade, he shepherded some of our greatest legislative achievements on behalf of the American people, including the Affordable Care Act and Wall Street reform.

"On a personal note, Harry Reid has stepped up to help me pass critical legislation through the Senate, from swimming pool safety to save children's lives, to my EARLY Act breast cancer legislation, which he added to the Affordable Care Act, helping young breast cancer patients and survivors. It has been an honor to get to know him and fight by his side.

"From Searchlight to the Senate, he has been a tireless advocate for improving people’s lives, advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, a higher minimum wage, and a cleaner environment.

“I look forward to working with him to advance our party’s agenda nationally and in the Congress over the next 22 months.

“He and Landra deserve all the happiness in the world, and I wish them and their family the best.”

DNC Vice Chair Statement on Governor Mike Pence Signing SB 101

Washington, DC – In response to Indiana Governor Mike Pence signing SB 101, a bill that could allow Indiana businesses to deny services to customers based on sexual orientation, DNC Vice Chair, President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair, and Member of the DNC’s LGBT Caucus Ray Buckley released the following statement:

“In the face of opposition from Indiana’s LGBT community, Indiana’s business community, and the majority of Americans who believe a business should not be able to refuse services to individuals because they are gay or lesbian, Governor Mike Pence and the Republican Party decided to move forward with a damaging bill that turns back the clock on the progress we have made for LGBT equality.

“By signing this blatantly discriminatory bill that will only drive business out of his state, Pence reminds every Hoosier and every American that the Republican Party is more focused on its ideological social agenda than it is on expanding opportunity for the middle class and growing our economy.

“And the fact is, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Pence is far from alone on this issue.  Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio have all voiced support for similar legislation and policies that would give businesses the right to refuse services to LGBT people. Just imagine if these politicians had the chance to bring this dangerous and divisive agenda to the White House.

“So while Republicans applaud Mike Pence for allowing Indiana businesses to discriminate against the LBGT community, Democrats will continue to stand with our community and fight for a more inclusive society in Indiana and across the country.”

DNC Chair Statement on the House Budget Passage

Washington, DC – After House Republicans passed their budget last night, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

“Budgets show the values of the people who propose them, and the latest House Republican budget shows exactly what congressional Republicans and the Republican presidential hopefuls stand for - continuing backwards policies that benefit the wealthiest few at the expense of the middle class, at the expense of our seniors, and at the expense of young people. While Democrats continue to pursue policies that help the middle class and move the country forward, Republicans campaigning for President will have to explain to voters why their party is voucherizing Medicare, freezing Pell Grants, and hurting hardworking Americans instead of building a middle class economy. These are going to be the central questions of the 2016 election, and Republicans better start attempting to explain themselves now.”

DNC Chair Statement on Jacksonville Mayoral Election

Washington – DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement on last night’s mayoral election in Jacksonville, FL:

Congratulations to Mayor Alvin Brown on being the top vote-getter in yesterday's four-way election. I'm particularly pleased by the number of Democrats who participated in early voting. Mayor Brown has delivered for the people of Jacksonville, making the city a great place to live and work. I look forward to joining other Florida Democrats in helping the Mayor win May's runoff and earn another four years of service.

DNC Chair Statement on Ted Cruz’s 2016 Announcement

Washington, DC – In response to Senator Ted Cruz’s announcement that he will run for president in 2016, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

"As the de-facto leader of the Republican Party in recent years, it is only fitting that Ted Cruz would position himself in front of the GOP’s 2016 presidential field. But Cruz’s determination to oppose and obstruct any and all attempts to help the middle class is the embodiment of what’s wrong with the Republican Party.

"Ted Cruz clearly could not understand that shutting down the government, so he could deny millions of Americans health care – and costing the economy $24 billion in the process – was not a fight worth having. He was then willing to do it over again and threaten our national security in the process.  His reckless approach to governing would make life worse, not better for Americans and he isn’t the type of fighter that America’s middle class families need."

DNC Chair Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s Statement on the 5th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

Washington, DC – DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement in recognition of the 5th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act:

“Today we celebrate five years since President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.

“Republicans in Congress have voted more than fifty times to repeal or undermine this critical law. Meanwhile, potential GOP 2016 candidates – including Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz - have cited repeal among their top agenda items in office. Chris Christie called the law a “failure” and Jeb Bush has said that it “doesn’t work.” Yet despite all the warnings of imminent catastrophe, it is abundantly clear: the Affordable Care Act is working.

“Under the law, more than 16 million Americans have gained health insurance, including young adults who can stay on their parents’ insurance and Americans no longer denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Seniors and people with disabilities have saved billions on prescription drugs, and consumers have benefitted from free preventive care and rules requiring insurance companies to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar on actual care. Importantly, health care spending is growing at its slowest rate in 50 years.

“Eight in ten consumers can now find a coverage plan for $100 or less per month after tax credits, and more than 11 million additional Americans were covered under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program than before ACA open enrollment. But millions more could have access in states that have refused to expand Medicaid, and a conservative decision by the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell could jeopardize subsidies for millions of Americans.

“Access to quality, affordable health care is one of the cornerstones of a middle class life, and Democrats are proud to have helped bring that dream within reach for more Americans. While Republicans insist on pursuing policies that would take health insurance away from millions, Democrats will continue to stand for expanded access for middle class families and those still fighting to get there.”

DNC Black Caucus Chair Virgie Rollins’ Statement on the Passing of DNC Member Rev. Willie Barrow

The Democratic National Committee mourns the loss of Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow.  Not only did she serve as our DNC Black Caucus chaplain and as a mentor to many, she was a civil rights icon in her own right.  As an activist, an organizer, an author, and a dedicated committee member, Rev. Barrow inspired and empowered generations of African Americans and women.  We will remember and carry forward her words of wisdom and encouragement.  The members of this caucus stand on her shoulders.

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the House GOP Budget

Washington, DC – In response to the newly released budget by Congressional Republicans, please see the below quote from the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

“Today’s House GOP budget may have a new cover page, but it still includes all of the same worn-out, top-down economic policies that have failed America’s middle class families time after time. With each ‘new’ budget, Republicans in Congress remind us they only want to pad the wallets of millionaires and billionaires, repeal the Affordable Care Act taking us back to a broken health care system, and end Medicare as we know it, hurting our seniors.  So as Congressional Republicans continue to push their backwards economic plan, Democrats will continue to fight to create more opportunity for America’s working families and to build an economy that supports our growing middle class, not the wealthy few.

“Republicans’ presidential hopefuls have already made clear that they are right in step with the backwards priorities of this House GOP budget – supporting tax cuts for the wealthy at everyone else’s expense, and I call on them to say exactly where they stand on the GOP budget that will hurt seniors and working families, and move us backwards to the failed policies of the past.”

DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile Statement on Oregon’s Historic Automatic Voter Registration Law

Washington, DC-- Yesterday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed an historic piece of legislation into law, creating an automatic voter registration system in the state. In support of this important day, DNC Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation Donna Brazile released the following statement:

“The law signed yesterday by Governor Brown represents a watershed moment in expanding access to the ballot box.  Through the use of technology and innovation, states now have the tools to make voter registration more cost effective, more secure and more convenient for voters. This is what Democrats mean when we say we are fighting to expand the vote.

“We applaud the people of Oregon for bringing up to 300,000 new voters into the electoral process.  Actions like these are a stark contrast to recent laws we’ve seen come out of Republican legislatures to restrict the right to vote through strict voter ID laws, shortened or eliminated early voting periods, or limiting polling locations.

“At the Democratic National Committee we are working to ensure that every eligible voter is registered, every registered voter is able to vote, and that every vote is accurately counted. Last year we implemented the National Voter Expansion Project. This year, DNC members unanimously voted to endorse a constitutional amendment explicitly guaranteeing the right to vote, and we’re working every day to protect and expand the right to vote.”


Readout of Vice President Biden's Call with Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden spoke this morning with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. They discussed ongoing military operations across Iraq, including in Anbar and Salah Ad Din provinces. The Vice President praised Prime Minister Abadi for his leadership in directing operations to clear ISIL from Tikrit. Both leaders expressed their strong support for continued cooperation between the Iraqi government and the international coalition. The Vice President commended the patriotism of the Iraqi Security Forces and those Iraqis who have volunteered to join the fight against ISIL. He reiterated the United States’ support for Iraq’s security under the Strategic Framework Agreement and full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and independence.

Weekly Address: Protecting Working Americans’ Paychecks

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress made protecting American consumers since he signed Wall Street Reform into law five years ago, including an important new step taken by the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week toward preventing abuses in payday lending.  The President emphasized his commitment to fighting to advance middle-class economics and ensure everybody who works hard can get ahead, while opposing attempts by Republicans both to weaken the CFPB and give large tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at at 6:00 a.m. ET, March 28, 2015.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
March 28, 2015

Hi, everybody.  Five years ago, after the worst financial crisis in decades, we passed historic Wall Street reform to end the era of bailouts and too big to fail. 

As part that reform, we created an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with one mission: to protect American consumers from some of the worst practices of the financial industry. 

They’ve already put $5 billion back in the pockets of more than 15 million families.  And this week, they took an important first step towards cracking down on some of the most abusive practices involving payday loans. 

Millions of Americans take out these loans every year.  In Alabama, where I visited this week, there are four times as many payday lending stores as there are McDonald’s.  But while payday loans might seem like easy money, folks often end up trapped in a cycle of debt.  If you take out a $500 loan, it’s easy to wind up paying more than $1,000 in interest and fees. 

The step the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced this week is designed to change that.  The idea is pretty common sense: if you’re a payday lender preparing to give a loan, you should make sure that the borrower can afford to pay it back first. 

As Americans, we believe there’s nothing wrong with making a profit.  But there is something wrong with making that profit by trapping hard-working men and women in a vicious cycle of debt.  

Protecting working Americans’ paychecks shouldn’t be a partisan issue.  But the budget Republicans unveiled last week would make it harder, not easier, to crack down on financial fraud and abuse.  And this week, when Republicans rolled out their next economic idea, it had nothing to do with the middle class.  It was a new, more-than-$250 billion tax cut for the top one-tenth of the top one percent of Americans.  That would mean handing out an average tax cut of $4 million a year to just 4,000 Americans per year, and leaving the rest of the country to pay for it. 

I don’t think our top economic priority should be helping a tiny number of Americans who are already doing extraordinarily well, and asking everybody else to foot the bill.  I think our top priority should be helping everybody who works hard get ahead.  This country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. 

That’s what middle-class economics is all about, and as long as I’m your President, that’s what I’ll keep on fighting to do.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on the President’s Call with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia

Today, the President spoke with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia to discuss recent developments in Yemen.  The President reaffirmed the strong friendship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and emphasized the United States’ support for the action taken by Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, and others in response to President Hadi’s request and in support of the legitimate government of Yemen.  The President underscored our commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security.  The President and King Salman agreed that our collective goal is to achieve lasting stability in Yemen through a negotiated political solution facilitated by the United Nations and involving all parties as envisioned in the GCC Initiative.

Remarks by the President in Meeting with Members of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Roosevelt Room

3:25 P.M. EDT

MR. PRESIDENT:  I’m happy to have an opportunity to meet with my Science and Technology Advisory Group, which has worked on an ongoing basis on a whole range of technology and science and research issues.  And we’re joined by a couple of Cabinet members -- Secretary Burwell and Secretary Vilsack. 

The reason I called you guys in here today before the meeting is I wanted to talk about an issue that is of great importance to America’s public health and the world’s public health, and that is some of the problems that we’re having in antibiotics becoming less effective and the need for us to deal with these drug-resistant bacteria. 

This is a major public health issue.  Some of you may have been reading and hearing recently about the problem.  Drug-resistant bacteria are one of the most serious public health issues that we face today.  They cause tens of thousands of deaths, millions of illnesses, and that’s just in the United States.  And the numbers are sure to climb unless we take some very clear, concrete and coordinated action.

Last year, I issued an executive order directing agencies across the government to create a National Action Plan for Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.  And today we are releasing that plan.  John, give me the plan.  (Laughter.)  Just so we have a little prop.  (Laughter.) 

This is a product of extraordinary work from some of our top scientists and the private sector, research universities, and practitioners, doctors, and health professionals so that we can figure out how do we approach this problem.  It is detailed, it is realistic, it covers the next five years, starting right now. 
We’ve set some aggressive goals.  First, we’re going to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections.  Second, we’re going to include surveillance; we want to know when it’s happening and why it’s happening.  Third, we’re going to develop better diagnostic tools.  Fourth, we’re going to accelerate research into new drugs.  And, fifth, we’re going to improve global coordination because this is going to end up being a global problem.

Last year, I also called for the creation of an Advisory Council for Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria to advise me and future Presidents on how to see this mission through because this is not something that we’ll solve just in the next 20 or 22 months.  Starting today, we’re officially taking nominations for that council. 

The budget that I released earlier this year nearly doubles the investment in fighting antibiotic resistance.  This plan spells out exactly where the money would go.  So I’m going to be urging Congress to pass a budget that will ultimately help save lives.  We can’t do this without Congress.  But in order for us to get it done we’re also going to have to educate the public.  And this is one of those problems that doesn’t always rise to the top of people’s day-to-day concerns until somebody in their family is impacted.  We take antibiotics for granted for a lot of illnesses that can be deadly or debilitating, and we’re extraordinarily fortunate to have been living in a period where antibiotics work. 

If we start seeing those medicines diminish in effectiveness, we’re going to have problems.  And part of the solution here is not just finding replacements or traditional antibiotics; it’s also making sure that we’re using antibiotics properly, because part of the problem is that a lot of times we over-diagnose them; they’re entering into our food chain through livestock; there are a whole range of reasons why bacteria is becoming more and more resistant to our traditional treatments. 

And this is something that we have to take seriously now and invest in now.  If we do, then I’m confident we’re going to be able to deal with this effectively.  If we don’t, if we put this off, this is going to be a major public health problem and it will be a lot harder to solve.

Thank you, everybody.

3:30 P.M. EDT

Statement by the Press Secretary on Mexico’s Climate Announcement

The U.S. welcomes the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submission by President Peña Nieto earlier today and applauds Mexico for being the first major emerging economy to formally submit its INDC.  Mexico is setting an example for the rest of the world by submitting an INDC that is timely, clear, ambitious, and supported by robust, unconditional policy commitments.  In particular, Mexico’s target to peak its emissions by 2026 and drive them down thereafter is a landmark step in the global transition to a low-carbon economy.  Mexico’s submission is in keeping with the Lima Decision calling on all parties to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions well in advance of COP21 in Paris this December. We hope that Mexico’s actions will encourage other economies to submit INDCs that are ambitious, timely, transparent, detailed, and achievable.

Joint Statement on U.S.-Mexico Climate Policy Cooperation


Office of the Press Secretary


March 27, 2015

Joint Statement on U.S.-Mexico Climate Policy Cooperation

On the occasion of Mexico submitting its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto reaffirm their commitment to addressing global climate change, one of the greatest threats facing humanity. The leaders underscore the importance of jointly addressing climate in their integrated economy. Smart action on climate change and developing clean energy can drive economic growth, and bring broad security, health, and development benefits to the region. The two countries will seize every opportunity to harmonize their efforts and policies towards their common climate goals. The two countries will launch a new high-level bilateral clean energy and climate policy task force to further deepen policy and regulatory coordination in specific areas including clean electricity, grid modernization, appliance standards, and energy efficiency, as well as promoting more fuel efficient automobile fleets in both countries, global and regional climate modeling, weather forecasting and early alerts system. The interagency task force will be chaired by Secretary Ernest Moniz and Secretary Juan José Guerra Abud, and hold its first meeting this spring. The task force will also look to advance its work program through the Clean Energy Ministerial that Mexico is hosting on May 27-28 and related initiatives. Both countries also commit to enhanced cooperation on air quality and climate policy, including harmonization and implementation of heavy-duty diesel and light duty emission standards, common programs to reduce reliance on HFCs, and technical cooperation on black carbon.



Joint Statement on U.S.-Mexico Climate Policy Cooperation

On the occasion of Mexico submitting its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto reaffirm their commitment to addressing global climate change, one of the greatest threats facing humanity. The leaders underscore the importance of jointly addressing climate in their integrated economy. Smart action on climate change and developing clean energy can drive economic growth, and bring broad security, health, and development benefits to the region. The two countries will seize every opportunity to harmonize their efforts and policies towards their common climate goals. The two countries will launch a new high-level bilateral clean energy and climate policy task force to further deepen policy and regulatory coordination in specific areas including clean electricity, grid modernization, appliance standards, and energy efficiency, as well as promoting more fuel efficient automobile fleets in both countries, global and regional climate modeling, weather forecasting and early alerts system. The interagency task force will be chaired by Secretary Ernest Moniz and Secretary Juan José Guerra Abud, and hold its first meeting this spring. The task force will also look to advance its work program through the Clean Energy Ministerial that Mexico is hosting on May 27-28 and related initiatives. Both countries also commit to enhanced cooperation on air quality and climate policy, including harmonization and implementation of heavy-duty diesel and light duty emission standards, common programs to reduce reliance on HFCs, and technical cooperation on black carbon.

Readout of the President's Call with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany

The President spoke today with Chancellor Merkel of Germany concerning the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.  They reaffirmed their commitment to achieving  a long term comprehensive deal that fully and verifiably ensures that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful going forward, while noting that Iran must make the decisions necessary to resolve several remaining issues.

Presidential Memorandum -- Delegation of Authority Under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015


SUBJECT:      Delegation of Authority Under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby order as follows:

I hereby delegate to the Secretary of State the authority to notify the Congress as required by section 1242(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (Public Law 113-291) (the "Act").

Any reference in this memorandum to the Act shall be deemed to be a reference to any future act that is the same or substantially the same as such provision.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.


President Obama Honors Outstanding Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentors

WASHINGTON, DC - President Obama today named fourteen individuals and one organization as the newest recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). These mentors will receive their awards at a White House ceremony later this year.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring is awarded by the White House to individuals and organizations to recognize the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering—particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields. By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators represent a diverse pool of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent throughout the United States.

Candidates for the award are nominated by colleagues, administrators, and students in their home institutions or through professional affiliations. Candidates may also self-nominate. Their mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school and professional development mentoring of early career scientists. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $10,000 from the National Science Foundation. The mentors and organizations announced today represent the winners for 2012 and 2013.

“These educators are helping to cultivate America’s future scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” President Obama said. “They open new worlds to their students, and give them the encouragement they need to learn, discover and innovate. That’s transforming those students’ futures, and our nation’s future, too.”

The latest set of individuals and organizations receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring are:

• Sheila M. Humphreys, University of California, Berkeley
• Raymond L. Johnson, University of Maryland, College Park
• Murty S. Kambhampati, Southern University at New Orleans
• Gary S. May, Dean, Georgia Institute of Technology
• Elizabeth A. Parry, North Carolina State University
• Tilak Ratnanather, The Johns Hopkins University
• John Brooks Slaughter, University of Southern California
• GeoFORCE Texas, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin
• Luis Colón, State University of New York at Buffalo
• Anne E. Donnelly, University of Florida
• Lorraine Fleming, Howard University
• John Matsui, University of California, Berkeley
• Beth Olivares, University of Rochester
• Sandra Petersen, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
• Julio Soto, San Jose State University


Daily Kos Radio is ALL NEW (but not live) at 9 am ET!
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Happy Monday!

I mentioned at the end of last week that I'd likely be busy with the kids today, and so I am. But I felt bad about leaving you hanging without a new show on a Monday. Plus, I had so many stories on backlog that I thought I'd just keep the "tape" rolling after we ran out of time on Friday, and use that to build you an ALL NEW Monday podcast that we could roll during our regular 9-11 AM ET time slot.

So, enjoy! Get your brand new KITM fix while I'm chasing the kids around town, and I'll see you (and your joke and complaint tweets) tomorrow!

Listen LIVE at 9:00 ET, here: Click this Link to Listen on your iTunes, Winamp or Windows Media Player

Daily Kos Radio's Kagro in the Morning show podcasts are now available through iTunes.


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Help support the show through Stitcher's revenue sharing program. Be one of 5,000 "active listeners" per month, and, well, they send us money. All you need to do, believe it or not, is listen to 30 seconds of a show, once in a month. Seriously! Choose any one of the shows at this link, listen to 30 seconds' worth, and you're on board!

Did you happen to miss our last LIVE show? You can catch it here:

A veritable parade of guest voices today! First, the big news of Harry Reid's retirement. Greg Dworkin discusses that, and rounds up headlines on the Senate budget vote-a-rama (and the impact of the race for the White House on it), House passage of the "doc fix" bill, and just for fun, a story out of left field about maple syrup. And, uh, "maple water," God help us. Next, Rosalyn MacGregor's Michigan update, which we botched live, but have "digitally remastered" for the podcast! Gov. Snyder short-circuits school reform, the MI House OKs "religious" discrimination against gay adoption, while their Senate approves a "choose life" vanity license plate scheme that funnels state dollars to anti-abortion activists. Meteor Blades dropped in to discuss developments in the nuclear talks with Iran. And Armando also joined in to discuss Harry Reid, and briefly, breaking news on a California concealed carry case.

Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold

Abbreviated pundit round-up: Threat of modernized nukes? Biden for prez? Who best to replace Reid?

E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post writes Harry Reid vs. the Smooth Deal:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is an acquired taste. It may surprise people outside of his Democratic caucus that many of his colleagues will miss him. But they will. [...]

There is a vogue for admiring Lyndon Johnson’s take-no-prisoners canniness as a legislative leader. But there is actually an unacknowledged tilt in our media and political culture toward politicians who wrap the knives they wield in political battles with velvet. Harry Reid isn’t into velvet, and he doesn’t pander very well to journalists. We like being pandered to, even though we don’t admit it. Reid has no compunction about picking up the phone and issuing a scolding when he dislikes something he sees in print.

But there is a big upside to Reid’s approach, which is candor.

Doyle McManus at the Los Angeles Times writes Joe Biden is Democrats' 2016 understudy, in the wings in case Hillary Clinton falters:
Joe Biden still wants to run for president. At least, his friends tell me, a big part of him does. He talks about the prospect readily, whenever reporters or voters ask. He doesn't sound as if the ambition that fired him to run when he was 44 or 64 has diminished at 72. [...]

At this point, the main cheerleader for a Biden presidency is a voluble former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman, Dick Harpootlian, who laid out the rationale for a run to the Washington Post this way: "He ain't got no email problems. He ain't got no foundation problems. What you see with Joe is what you get."

Head below the orange splash for more pundit excerpts.

Open thread for night owls: The growing progressive movement to save public education
Ruth Conniff at The Progressive writes The Growing Progressive Movement to Save Public Education. An excerpt:
All over the country, a growing movement of parents, teachers, and students is rising up against over-testing, school closings, and shady schemes that channel public funds into private schools.

Saving public education is shaping up to be a key issue in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

In a front-page article this week, The New York Times described Hillary Clinton’s dilemma on so-called education reform.

On one side, charter school operators and hedge fund managers are urging Hillary to adopt their teachers-union-bashing, pro-privatization agenda.

On the other side, communities all over the country are experiencing education “reform” as a major threat to their local public schools.

 “Mrs. Clinton is re-entering the fray like a Rip Van Winkle for whom the terrain on education standards has shifted markedly, with deep new fissures in the Democratic Party,” Times reporter Maggie Haberman writes.

The pressure Haberman notes, however, is mostly coming from one side—Wall Street hedge fund managers and “wealthy Democrats who favor sweeping changes to education—including a more business-like approach, and tying teacher tenure to performance as measured by student test scores.”

But there is more to the story than what Wall Street wants. [...]

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2012Texas loses federal dollars for Medicaid, promises to magically fund it ... somehow:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry may not be able to count to three, but apparently, he's a mathematical genius when it comes to funding the state's Medicaid program.

After losing federal funding because it was more important to screw over 130,000 poor women in order to stick it to Planned Parenthood, the governor and the state's Health and Human Services Commission are assuring Texans that it's all good, don't worry, they've got a plan:

With federal funding choked off, state health officials and Gov. Rick Perry pledge that a Medicaid based program directed at low-income women will live on­ without federal dollars—but the details on how and what else might be at stake as a result aren’t yet clear.
Okay, so maybe it's not so much a plan as a completely empty promise the state can't afford to keep because it's already knee-deep in budget problems. But it's not like the state's program was that dependent on federal funding:

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NYT tells us there is a skills gap in almost every industry. If true, then why aren't wages rising?

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The Evening Blues

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Americans continue to lose because we do not know our savior
Creative Common,
This week a dear friend sent me an email. She was uncharacteristically upset in the correspondence. Her husband, as well as many in this community, works for ExxonMobil. Many in Texas do. Her email said:
This landed in the email boxes of tens of thousands of Exxon employees this morning. This is what the Texas Democratic party doesn’t understand about winning elections. In Texas the energy industry directly impacts millions of voters … and to clarify , that means people who actually do vote.

This email message is very cleverly worded and, of course, does not make reference to the fact that local municipalities are voting to ban fracking within their jurisdictions and that this legislation would negate their authority.

I NEVER hear anything from our state party about messaging to neutralize this constant perversion of reality. This email is begging to be exposed.

Her frustration with the Democratic Party's response to a very well orchestrated corporate messaging was palpable. The saga began with the Denton, Texas ban on hydraulic fracking. Ever since that move by local citizens to take control of their future, Republicans have been making moves to negate the will of the people by attempting to pass bills that would squash local fracking bans.

And that leads us to the email from ExxonMobil my friend forwarded to me, below the fold:

New proposals to rein in payday loans show why unscrupulous corporations want you to hate government
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) listens to the new Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington July 17, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing
Richard Cordray runs the agency that issued the proposals. Barack Obama signed legislation creating that agency.
I've got two quotations I'd like you to consider, one from someone you know, and one from someone you probably don't. The first is from Ronald Reagan:
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'
The second remark is from Trudy Robideau. It describes her experience with so-called payday loans, i.e., short term, high interest loans designed to help people with a financial emergency who are between paychecks. Ms. Robideau needed to repair her car and borrowed $800. When it came due, she paid a fee to extend the due date. Eventually, she ended up taking out a new loan to pay back the old one, beginning a vicious cycle similar to the one that has ruined countless lives while this industry has almost quadrupled in size (not counting for inflation) since 2001. Here's Ms. Robideau:
Ka-ching. You're hooked. You can feel the hook right in your mouth. And you don't know it at the time, but it gets deeper and deeper.
The remark from President Reagan perfectly encapsulates contemporary Republicanism, both in form and content. It's simplistic, ideological, and emotional. One other thing: it's completely divorced from the reality of any specific person's life. A person like Trudy Robideau.

Please follow me beyond the fold for more on this issue.

Daily Kos Elections presents our fully interactive visualizations of the 2014 federal elections
2014 U.S. House, Overall Win Margin

Daily Kos Elections is pleased to present a comprehensive look back at the 2014 election results, illustrated with a broad range of fully interactive maps and data visualizations. The above map, for instance, shows the 2014 U.S. House results by overall winning margin between Democrats and Republicans, with Democrats in blue Republicans in red. Click on a district and you will find info about the winner of each district, the 2014 election results, and the 2012 presidential results as calculated by Daily Kos Elections. The full-screen versions of this and the House maps below also have a map legend.

Aside from uncontested seats, the largest winning margins for each party were Democrat Nydia Velázquez's 80 point win in New York's 7th district and Republican Mac Thornberry's 72 point win in Texas' 13th district. Arizona's 2nd district was the closest race of 2014, with Republican Martha McSally defeating incumbent Democrat Ron Barber by just 0.07 percent.

The interactive scatterplot below illustrates the very strong relationship between 2012 presidential and 2014 House performance. Hover over a dot and you will find the district winner and basic result stats, utilizing the two-party-only vote. Outliers to the top and left saw Democrats overperform, while those to the bottom and right saw Republicans do so.

2014 U.S. House Democratic Vote vs. Obama 2012

The non-interactive version also provides a line of best fit. There's very little variation around the best-fit line, as the two election outcomes were highly correlated. Presidential performance in 2012 was the single most informative predictor 2014 congressional outcomes.

Head below the fold to see more maps on the House as well as similar visualizations for the Senate.

The Iran Regime Change Act of 2015
When it comes to the Iranian nuclear program, the United States is rapidly approaching a point of no return. The P5+1 talks are coming down to the wire even as the participants express cautious optimism that a deal could be inked as soon as Sunday. But if the negotiations in Geneva fail or if their opponents in Congress succeed in blowing them up, leaders of both U.S. political parties will have to quickly come up with a plan B to prevent Tehran from building a nuclear device.

To put it another way, all those who have sought to sabotage an agreement will have to put up or shut up. The Congressional Republicans who invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to torpedo the Iranian talks, the 47 GOP Senators who wrote the leadership of the Islamic Republic threatening to block sanctions relief for Tehran, the 367 House members who penned a similar letter to President Obama, the bipartisan supporters of the Corker-Menendez bill and virtually the entire 2016 Republican presidential field will have to put their money where their mouths are.

And the amount of that money could be as much as $2 trillion over a decade. Thousands of U.S servicemen and women, as well as American civilians, could be the casualties of a conflict that might well spread beyond the region. To ensure that Iran can never develop nuclear weapons, that's the possible price tag in blood and treasure for an American invasion and occupation of Iran that would require "a commitment of resources and personnel greater than what the U.S. has expended over the past 10 years in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined."

Perhaps President Obama's foes on both sides of the aisle would like to bring that package up for a vote in Congress. Call it the "Iran Regime Change Act of 2015."

Of course, you'd never know about any of these risks listening to those who casually chant, "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran."

Continue reading below:

Just how many elected officials are there in the United States? The answer is mind-blowing
Freshmen members of the 114th Congress pose for a class photo (Jan. 2015)
These freshmen members of the 114th Congress are just the tip of the electoral iceberg
At a recent company retreat, a colleague and I were nerding out (as is our wont) and debating a question: Just how many elected officials are there in the United States in total? It's an easy question to start answering—you begin with the president and vice president (two), plus Congress (535), then move on to governors (another 50). And if you're a real elections junkie, you may be aware that there are around 7,000 state legislators nationwide.

But that barely scratches the surface. There are over 3,000 counties and more than 19,000 cities and towns ... and almost every one of those has some form of elected government, including county executives, county councils, mayors, and city councils. That still scarcely covers it, though, because that doesn't include things like judges, school boards, water boards, mosquito control boards (!)—hell, even coroner is an elected position in some places. And in Duxbury, Vermont, they actually elect, yes, the dog catcher.

Once you really start counting, the numbers get very big very quickly. And amazingly, someone actually has tried counting: government Prof. Jennifer Lawless, who assembled the remarkable table below in her 2012 book Becoming a Candidate:

Chart from Jennifer Lawless' book
Check out that number in the bottom right-hand corner: over half a million! That means more than one out of every thousand people in this country is an elected official of one sort or another. So there's a decent chance you personally know at least one—or maybe you even are one yourself—though as Lawless points out, most of these positions "pay only a token salary and meet on a limited basis," so the vast majority of these officials have other full-time jobs.

(Note: Lawless' number of "statewide elected offices" appears to contain a typo; it should probably be more like 1,000. That still doesn't affect the bottom-line number very much, though. Hardcore election junkies may also recall that Lawless once ran for office herself, losing a 2006 primary challenge to Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin in Rhode Island's 2nd District by a 62-38 margin.)

Hold on, though, because there's even more. One category Lawless leaves out (not unreasonably) are party officials, who in many states are often elected on primary ballots, alongside candidates for regular office. For instance, in Louisiana, voters elect representatives to the Democratic State Central Committee; New York has something similar called district leaders. How many of these folks are there? We haven't found a tally anywhere, but the answer is undoubtedly "a lot"—enough to swell that 500,000-plus figure by a fair bit, for sure.

That monstrous number, whatever it may be exactly, prompts some questions of its own, though. For starters, do we have too many elections and elected offices in this country? Surely jobs like judge and coroner should be appointed positions, but beyond that, do we really need so many overlapping layers of government?

But since there are so many opportunities to get elected to office, why do so many people insist on starting for the first time at the highest levels, like state legislature or Congress? Those (relatively) plum posts are just the tip of the elective iceberg and are thus very difficult to win. If you're considering running for office as a new candidate, there are literally hundreds of thousands of other ways to gain a foothold, build up your experience, and serve your community.

And for progressives in particular, especially if you live in a red area, this is how we build our power—not by sending our rookies to wage longshot bids for top-shelf positions but by bulking up our bench in every nook and cranny of the electoral world. Rep. Mike Honda, a vocal progressive this community supported in his re-election bid last year, started his career as a school board member, for instance. The next Mike Honda is waiting out there, and she may even be reading this post.

(A special "thank you" to Chris Galdieri for pointing me to Lawless' research.)

It's so hard to be an Obamacare-hating Republican these days
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pauses as he addresses the Heritage Action's second annual Conservative Policy Summit in Washington January 12, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4L6A6
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), perhaps seen contemplating
whether to use an Affordable Care Act health plan.
One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!)

-- Julian Sanchez

Julian Sanchez, a CATO Institute fellow who specializes in the areas of privacy and surveillance, was perhaps the first to concisely distill the alternate reality that has been created by the continuously cross-referencing circle of conservative media outlets. Conservatives live in a bubble of epistemic closure in which narratives and ideas that feed a particular narrative are introduced, reinforced and then judged to be accurate simply by virtue of having been presented by the correct media authorities. It doesn't matter if whatever is being claimed has an actual basis in objective reality: once an idea that pleases the conservative id has taken root, it is mighty hard for truth to pierce the bubble of fantasy.

This is why President Obama can in the conservative mind be a Kenyan, a Muslim, a socialist, and a black liberation theologist all at the same time. It's why no amount of evidence can ever convince conservatism the climate change is real. It's why they view it as a fact that Obama is killing jobs and exploding the deficit, even as the facts are exactly the opposite on both counts. And it's also why the Affordable Care Act is simply known to be a disaster that is ruining lives, damaging employers, and constraining freedom, even as in reality it is reducing costs, saving lives, and making health insurance affordable for people who have gone far too long without it.

But when conservatives are forced to venture outside the circle of epistemic closure and actually confront the world outside the bubble, the results are hilarious, as we've seen this week with certain Republican opponents of the Affordable Care Act. More below the fold.

Pence defends Indiana hate law, refuses to say—six times—that law won't allow discrimination
U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) looks at his notes before a news conference about the goal of permanently extending Bush-era tax rates at the U.S. Capitol in Washington December 2, 2010. Pence told reporters on Thursday his view on stripping the Fed
"Yes or no, yes or no? That's a tough question ..."
In the annals of damage control that did more harm than good, Indiana's Gov. Mike Pence has truly set the new standard. Appearing on today's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" to defend and "clarify" Indiana's new right to discriminate law that he eagerly signed last week, Pence—and this is putting it kindly—crashed and burned.

Six times Stephanopoulos asked if, under the law, it would be legal to refuse service to gay customers and six times Pence refused to answer. And when asked outright if "you [Pence] think it should be legal in the state of Indiana  to discriminate against gays or lesbians … it's a yes or no question," Pence's astonishing (and eye roll-inducing) answer was, "Hoosiers don't believe in discrimination." So there you go.

And while Pence continued to peddle the notion that he'd support efforts by the Indiana legislature to "clarify" their new license to discriminate, when asked if making the LGBT community a protected class would be considered, Pence said no, that he wouldn't push for that, that it's not on his agenda and that it's "not an objective of the people of the state of Indiana," and then flat-out said, "We're not going to change the law" and that "I stand by this law."

So, given all this, what was the real purpose of Pence's announcement that they'd seek to have this legally-enshrined bigotry clarified? Beyond insisting that Hoosiers were really nice people and that their only concern was to "strengthen the foundation of the Constitution"? Apparently it was to let everyone know that Pence has been reaching out to business leaders and cooperate leaders to "correct the gross mischaracterization of this law." Because that's the real bottom line.



New Faces of Congress: Second Time’s a Charm for Martha McSally in Arizona
After a narrow loss in 2012, a rematch gives a Republican, who spent time as an Air Force fighter pilot, the seat once held by Gabrielle Giffords.

Clinton Wants to Improve Ties With Israel
Hillary Rodham Clinton told a representative of a group of prominent Jewish leaders that she wanted to put the relationship between the United States and Israel back on “constructive footing.”

An American Military Convoy in Europe Aims to Reassure Allies
Operation Dragoon Ride, consisting of 120 armored vehicles and more than 500 American troops, was envisioned as part public relations event, part training exercise and part signal to Russia.

Indiana Governor Says Legislators May Clarify Religious Beliefs Law
Gov. Mike Pence said he would seek legislation to clear up misunderstandings about the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, denying that it gives license to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Missouri Candidate Picks Up Where She Left Off After Rival’s Suicide
Catherine Hanaway eased back into the race for governor a month after Tom Schweich, a candidate for the Republican nomination, committed suicide. Some close to Mr. Schweich blame his death, at least in part, on a brutal campaign against him.

Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal
With a negotiating deadline on Tuesday, Iranian officials have backed away from a critical element of a proposed nuclear agreement, saying they are no longer willing to ship their atomic fuel out of the country.

Jeb Bush and Scott Walker Point G.O.P. to Contrary Paths
Mr. Bush and Mr. Walker are becoming prominent exponents of dueling visions of how a Republican can retake the White House: by extending the party’s reach, or by energizing the base.

States Are Divided by the Lines They Draw on Immigration
As some states battle President Obama’s executive actions in court, others move to incorporate unauthorized newcomers by offering them licenses and other benefits.

In Delaying Vote on Loretta Lynch as Attorney General, G.O.P. Is in a Quandary
Republicans can accept Loretta E. Lynch, a nominee they oppose because she backs the president’s policies, or reject her and live with an attorney general they loathe, Eric H. Holder Jr.

2016 Hopefuls and Wealthy Are Aligned on Inequality
The Republicans Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul and the Democrat Hillary Clinton agree that the income gap is a problem but diverge from public opinion on how to solve it.


Hendrik Hertzberg: Anthony Weiner’s all-digital sex scandal.
It’s been another political season of impressively gaudy sex scandals, further confounding America’s hard-won reputation as a nation of censorious puritans. The paradox isn’t so surprising, when you think about it: the broader the range of sex-related activities deemed immoral, unnatural, or . . .

John Cassidy: Don’t give up on Detroit.
If you were to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, home to Diego Rivera’s magnificent murals depicting scenes at the Ford Motor Company in the early nineteen-thirties, and then take a stroll through the surrounding streets, you might be surprised at what you would find: coffee shops . . .

Jelani Cobb: The folly of Stand Your Ground laws.
For some years, the N.R.A.’s approach to gun-rights advocacy has amounted to a variant of the old Maoist dictum, to the effect that democracy flows from the barrel of a gun. In March, the group provided a novel twist on the theme of sidearm liberty when it . . .

George Packer: Why Egypt is a foreign-policy puzzle.
American foreign aid has always been an awkward exercise in high-minded self-interest—humanitarian goals balanced uneasily with strategic calculations. Whenever these two come into conflict, Presidents inevitably find a way out of their loftier commitments. In 1947, when Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposed a huge . . .

Jeffrey Toobin: The end of DOMA and the future of gay rights.
The Supreme Court’s embrace of gay rights last week had an almost serene majesty. The obvious correctness of the Court’s judgment, its curt dismissal of a monstrous injustice, had a grandeur that requires little elaboration. Yet the decision had its roots in something prosaic and largely . . .

Steve Coll: Obama sends weapons to Syria.
The carved minaret above Aleppo’s twelfth-century Umayyad Mosque collapsed in April. The city, which is Syria’s most populous, has endured Hittite, Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman rule, little of it benevolent. But this year, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have delivered a distinctly . . .

Hendrik Hertzberg: Difficult questions about the N.S.A.
Since the first week of June, when the Washington Post and London’s Guardian, doing the work that journalism is supposed to do, published detailed news of the National Security Agency’s gigantic programs of cell-phone and Internet information-gathering, the world has been riveted. These were . . .

Steve Coll: Why journalists deserve better protections.
In 1969, when nothing excited the public’s interest like the depredations of drug fiends, the Louisville Courier-Journal sent a reporter named Paul Branzburg to penetrate Kentucky’s marijuana underground. He published eyewitness accounts; a photograph accompanying one of them showed hands hovering over a pile of . . .

William Finnegan: The struggle for immigration reform.
It was edifying while it lasted. A bipartisan immigration bill, supported by an unusually wide coalition of business, labor, church, and humanitarian groups, made its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the baying over Benghazi and the Internal Revenue Service was fierce and rising . . .

Elizabeth Kolbert: What’s at stake in Obama’s Keystone decision.
A lot of what’s known about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be traced back to a chemist named Charles David Keeling, who, in 1958, persuaded the U.S. Weather Bureau to install a set of monitoring devices at its Mauna Loa observatory, on the island of Hawaii. By . . .

60 MINUTES +/-

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on 60 Minutes
Charlie Rose interviews the Syrian dictator as a four-year-old civil war drags on in which his regime has been accused of devastating attacks on civilians

Killing Cancer
60 Minutes follows brain cancer patients in a Duke University clinical trial of a therapy that uses a re-engineered polio virus to kill cancer cells

Use polio to treat cancer?
60 Minutes follows cancer patients at Duke University in the first clinical trial, two of whom now show no signs of cancer

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson's one-man mission
Tyson tells Charlie Rose about his fascination with the universe and his own personal journey to reignite interest in the great beyond

Iraq's Christians persecuted by ISIS
More than 125,000 of Iraq's Christians have been forced to flee the homeland they have lived in for nearly 2,000 years because of ISIS violence and threats

Modern life's devices under China's grip?
From smartphones to cars and defense missiles, modern U.S. life depends on rare earth elements but China dominates the industry

Crucial rare earths industry under Chinese monopoly
How did China corner the market on a critical resource nearly every electronic device we use depends on?

Photo that changed the world
This picture changed the world, says leading scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson

Bishop: Make war on ISIS
An Iraqi bishop says waging war against ISIS fighters is the only way to save the Christian Church in Iraq

Napa winery owner, investor dead in murder-suicide
Police say shooting erupted amid meeting between owner and investor to resolve business dispute

Back to the Wild
Controversial conservationist Damian Aspinall wants to close all zoos, including his own, and free the animals to the wild. But is it a good idea?

Dead or Alive
Thousands of errors to the Social Security Administration's Death Master File can result in fraudulent payments -- costing taxpayers billions -- and identity headaches

A Few Good Women
The Marines are looking for a few good women to serve in combat but, after more than two years of trying, no woman has made it through the grueling infantry officer school

Dead or alive? The government isn't quite sure sometimes
Errors in the government's Death Master File are costing taxpayers billions and creating nightmares for those wrongly declared dead

Woman and combat: Cracking the last all-male bastion in U.S. military?
The Marines are looking for a few good women to serve in combat but, after more than two years of trying, no woman has made it through the grueling infantry officer school

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