Say NO to GMO Salmon!

Join the Costco Week of Action on GE Salmon!

Center for Food Safety via 

Dear Bill ,

Nearly 5,000 Center for Food Safety members have already signed up to hand deliver letters to their local Costco during the Week of Action next week, asking Costco to make a real commitment to not sell genetically engineered (GE) salmon should it come to market. Will you join them? It’s easy, and we’ll send you everything you need!

Join us in this IMPORTANT action! We’ll send you what you need.

Urge Costco to listen to the science and pay attention to you, its customers, and let it know you want it to reject GE salmon, even if the FDA approves it. Already more than 60 other grocery retailers have made this commitment – Costco needs to step up!

Your Costco needs to hear from you directly. Sign up to bring Costco a letter today!

Thanks for everything you do,
the Center for Food Safety team

PS – If you can’t deliver a letter next week, call Costco at 1 (800) 774-2678 and ask them to commit to not sell GE salmon, even if approved by the FDA! You can also post a message on Costco’s Facebook wall, or send them a tweet @Costco

From: Center for Food Safety
Sent: 1:40 PM, Fri, Aug 21, 2015
Subject: Join the Costco Week of Action on GE Salmon!

Dear ,

Thanks to thousands of your emails and phone calls, Costco is finally starting to respond to your demands to reject genetically engineered (GE) salmon. But they haven’t committed to not carrying GE salmon yet, and are leaving the door open based on what the FDA decides.

Unfortunately, we know that GE salmon pose risks to our health, environment, and wild salmonpopulations. We need Costco to listen, and we need your help to deliver this message directly to your local Costco manager!

Shoppers will be visiting Costco for Labor Day weekend and at the same time, you can join thousands of people across the U.S. and visit Costco from August 29th-Sept 6thto let them know you don’t want GE salmon on their shelves.

Join the week of Action: Visit your local Costco and tell them to say NO to GMO salmon, even if approved by the FDA.

Is Costco truly a leader in sustainable seafood? Already more than 60 grocery retailers including Safeway, Kroger and Trader Joe’s have said no to GE Salmon even if FDA approves it. Costco has received more than 300,000 petition signatures from people asking it to say no to GE salmon.

Costco needs to listen to consumer demands. Despite the risks that GE salmon pose to wild salmon and public health, Costco is being fishy with weak statements.

Tell Costco to reject GE salmon: Sign up today to deliver a letter to your local Costco!

A recently released draft risk assessment from Canadian scientists showed new evidence that GE salmon cannot grow more quickly than conventional salmon (which is the key marketing claim of the company that created it). The risk assessment also noted that GE salmon have a higher susceptibility to a disease-causing bacteria, indicating unique animal health concerns in this genetically engineered fish.

Costco is one of the biggest retailers for organic; they need to be consistent and be a true leader in seafood sustainability.

Your local Costco needs to hear from you directly. It’s easy and makes a big difference! Sign-up to take action and we’ll send you a guide to help you. 

Thanks for everything you do,
Center for Food Safety

A Supreme Court Justice of Few Words, Some Not His Own


WASHINGTON — Justice Clarence Thomas has not asked a question from the Supreme Court bench since 2006. His majority opinions tend to be brisk, efficient and dutiful.

Now, studies using linguistic software have discovered another Thomas trait: Those opinions contain language from briefs submitted to the court at unusually high rates.

The findings that the taciturn justice’s opinions appear to rely heavily on the words of others do not suggest misconduct — legal writing often tracks source materials — but they do illuminate his distinctive role on the court.

Since his views on major legal questions can be idiosyncratic and unlikely to command a majority, he is particularly apt to be assigned the inconsequential and technical majority opinions that the justices call dogs. They often involve routine cases involving taxes, bankruptcy, pensions and patents, in which shared wording, including quotations from statutes and earlier decisions, is particularly common.

Justice Thomas’s seven majority opinions in the last term were on average just 12 pages long and contained little but a summary of the facts and terse summaries of the relevant statutes and precedents. Since opinions are signed by justices but often drafted by law clerks, it may be that any borrowed language was the work of Justice Thomas’s clerks.
When Justice Thomas announces his majority opinions from the bench, he sometimes seems to be reading from materials prepared by others. In June, he slipped in a playful aside. What he had just read, a description of synthetic drugs, he said to laughter, was “a sentence which I completely do not understand.”

His prose has its admirers. “I believe his opinions are among the tightest-written on the court,” said Stephen L. Wasby, a political scientist at the University of Albany.

Others questioned the high levels of apparent cribbing from briefs in Supreme Court opinions, a phenomenon not limited to Justice Thomas.

“It seems like they’re using briefs as a template for how they’re going to put the opinion together,” said Adam Feldman, a lawyer and doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Southern California. “They’re taking at face value ways of framing opinions that are not their own.”

Mr. Feldman conducted an extensive analysis of overlapping language, using anti-plagiarism software to detect similar wording in briefs and opinions from 1946 to 2014. The study and related findings were based on almost 10,000 briefs and looked for passages of at least six words with an overlap of at least 80 percent.

Justice Thomas’s majority opinions had the highest rate of overlaps with language in parties’ briefs in the decade since Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court.

Paul M. Collins Jr., a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who helped conduct two more limited studies that came to similar conclusions, said there might be a link between Justice Thomas’s approach to arguments and the high rates of seemingly borrowed language in his opinions.


“His lack of engagement in oral arguments suggests that he doesn’t find them especially useful,” Professor Collins said. “If this is true, his view of cases is being heavily shaped by the legal briefs filed in the cases.”

Justice Thomas is often more expansive when not writing for the majority. In the last term, he filed 30 dissents and concurrences, more than any other justice. Many concerned major constitutional questions, were longer than the majority opinions they critiqued and made novel points.

Over the years, the average rate of nearly identical language between a party’s brief and the majority opinion was 9.6 percent. Justice Thomas’s rate was 11.3 percent. Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s was 11 percent, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 10.5 percent. All three sometimes produce institutional prose.

Justice Elena Kagan, who has a livelier writing style than those three, had the lowest rate, at 7.1 percent; Chief Justice Roberts was in the middle, at 9.2 percent.

Chief Justice Roberts was exceptionally influential when he was a lawyer in private practice. Supreme Court opinions shared language with his briefs at a rate of 13.2 percent.

A new study to be published in Law & Society Review looked at cases from 2002 to 2005 and found that Justice Thomas’s majority opinions incorporated language from friend-of-the-court briefs at 4.4. percent, more than than any other justice.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010, had the least, at 1.8 percent.

A third study, published in The Journal of Politics in 2011, looked at overlaps with lower-court opinions in those years. Here again, Justice Thomas’s rate was the highest, at 6.2 percent. Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s was the lowest, at 2.6 percent.

In the last decade, nine majority opinions shared 25 percent or more of their language with one party’s brief. Justice Thomas signed five of them. Taking account of both parties’ briefs in those cases, four opinions overlapped more than 30 percent of the time. Justice Thomas signed all four.

Those rates are not particularly high by historical standards. From 1955 to 1987, eight majority opinions shared half or more of their language with a brief in the case. A 1965 opinion from Justice William O. Douglas had the highest overlap rate, 59 percent.

In 2013, Ronald Mann, a law professor at Columbia, wrote in a post on Scotusblog that an opinion from Justice Thomas in a debt collection case was “notable for its direct adoption of the two principal arguments” of the collector’s lawyer, Lisa S. Blatt. One was “adopted wholesale,” Professor Mann wrote, while the other “also come straight out of Blatt’s arguments.”

Ms. Blatt said the overlaps were unremarkable. Allison Zieve, the lawyer on the losing side of the case, agreed that there was nothing amiss “other than that the majority disagreed with me.”

In an recent email, Professor Mann attributed the shared language to “successful advocacy.”

“You could regard it as problematic if you thought that the opinion drafting that tracked the brief so closely was ‘lazy,’ ” he added, “but that seems unlikely to me.”

Cribbing from briefs is commonplace among trial-court judges, though some appeals court judges frown on it.

“We have disapproved this practice because it disguises the judge’s reasons and portrays the court as an advocate’s tool, even when the judge adds some words of his own,” Judge Frank Easterbrook of the federal appeals court in Chicago wrote in 1990.

Others defend the practice. “Lawyers craft briefs for the express purpose of aiding the judge in making her decision,” Chief Judge William Jay Riley of the federal appeals court in St. Louis wrote in 2011, “and the district judge is entitled to borrow from those briefs as she may see fit.”

Should College Students be allowed to Reject Required Course Material?

Why Duke University freshmen refuse to read graphic novel ‘Fun Home’ (+video)

Some Duke freshmen have decided to boycott a book REQUIRED of all incoming students, a move that reflects a growing sentiment about the right to not be offended.

  • Listen Up Duke: ?Fun Home? Is Not ?Porn?
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  • Bernard Thomas/The Herald-Sun/AP
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“Fun Home” may be a critically acclaimed graphic novel, but some students at Duke University don’t find it very impressive at all.

A number of incoming students at the elite North Carolina institution have refused to read the book, sent to all members of the Class of 2019, because they say its sexual themes and images conflict with their moral standards and religious beliefs.

Their decision echoes similar sentiments in colleges and universities across the country as issues of free speech come into conflict with some students’ expectations “that they have a right not to read or hear ideas that differ from their worldview or make them uncomfortable,” The Christian Science Monitor’s Kevin Truong reported.

Recommended: 10 university leaders share their personal reading lists

Academic observers describe it as a shift in student concerns from political correctness to “empathetic correctness.” The first is a desire not to offend; the second a desire not to be offended.

“A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense,” free speech lawyer Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt co-wrote for The Atlantic. “This new climate is slowly being institutionalized, and is affecting what can be said in the classroom, even as a basis for discussion.”

Terms like “microaggression” – which refers to unintended discrimination – and “trigger warnings” – which alert a reader, listener, or viewer of potentially offensive content – have also grown ubiquitous in colleges, as some students struggle against material, actions, and discussions that may offend them or cause them discomfort, Mr. Lukianoff and Mr. Haidt wrote.

And despite what the incident at Duke suggests, it’s not usually a debate that divides students along lines of conservative/liberal, either: “I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me,” wrote one college professor, protecting himself behind a pseudonym, in Vox in June.

Behind the shift, experts say, are myriad factors that include the mainstream media’s focus on political correctness; the ever-present nature of social media; and, above all, a university culture that increasingly treats students like consumers to be satisfied instead of pupils to be educated.

Recommended: Top 10 colleges for becoming a billionaire

“According to professors and higher-education experts, the trend is driven by financial realities in the American higher education system, and exacerbated by a contemporary world in which opinions are catalyzed and publicized by the intellectual echo chamber that can exist online,” Mr. Truong reported.

The recent debate at Duke began after freshman Brian Grasso, in a post on the Class of 2019 Facebook page, said he would not read “Fun Home” because of the book’s graphic visual depictions of sexuality, the Duke Chronicle reported. The critically acclaimed novel, written by Alison Bechdel, tackles issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, and death.

“I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” Mr. Grasso wrote. “Duke did not seem to have people like me in mind. It was like Duke didn’t know we existed, which surprises me.” Other students agreed, with some saying that the novel discussed important topics but did so a manner that they found inappropriate.

The joint student-faculty committee that chose “Fun Home” for the “Common Experience summer reading book,” however, noted that not only does the book take on critical issues such as mental health, interpersonal relationships, and human rights – it also does so in a way that is vital to learning.

“The book is a quick read but not an easy one; it made me uncomfortable at times, which I think is one of the most telling reasons why it’s so important for students to read,” said Ibanca Anand, a student member of the committee. “It has the potential to start many arguments and conversations, which, in my opinion, is an integral component of a liberal arts education.”

U.S. Economy Up a Seasonally Adjusted Rate of 3.7%

The U.S. economy grew at a much faster pace than initially estimated in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department’s gross domestic product report released Thursday. The new data showed upward revisions to business investment, inventory building and government spending. Corporate profits advanced at a the faster pace in a year during the spring.

  • 3.7%

    The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.7% seasonally adjusted annual pace in the second quarter. That’s a much quicker pace than the first estimate of a 2.3% advance. Last quarter’s growth is also a sharp uptick from the first quarter’s mild 0.6% expansion.

  • 5.1%

    U.S. corporate profits posted the strongest quarterly increase in a year this spring. Profits after tax and without inventory or capital consumption adjustments rose 5.1% in the second quarter after increasing 2% in the first. It was the best quarterly gain since the second quarter of 2014. From a year earlier, profits advanced 7.3%.

  • 0.22

    Businesses built inventories, rather than let them dwindle, in the second quarter, according to the revised GDP reading. The change in private inventories contributed 0.22 percentage point to overall growth. The initial estimate was a 0.08 percentage point drag on the GDP advance.

  • 3.2%

    Businesses stepped up investments in second quarter. Nonresidential fixed investment, spending on construction, equipment and software, advanced at a 3.2% annual pace in the second quarter. That’s an upward revision from the initial estimate of a 0.6% decline in such spending. The change contributed 0.48 percentage point to the overall upward revision of 1.4 percentage points.
  • 2010

    Spending at all levels of government increased at the fastest pace since the second quarter of 2010. Public outlays advanced 2.6% annual pace  during the second quarter. That’s an upward revision from the initial estimate of a 0.8% advance. Federal spending was flat for the quarter and spending at the state and local level increased 4.3%, the strongest increase since the fourth quarter of 2001.

Murder on TV. Who Was Victor Flanagan?

First Look

What drove Vester Flanagan to murder his former colleagues on air?

The suspected gunman in Wednesday’s slaying of two journalists had a long history with many news stations.

  • TV Reporter, Cameraman Fatally Shot on Air
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Vester Lee Flanagan II, the gunman responsible killing two journalists during a live broadcast of WDBJ-7’s “Mornin’” program in Moneta, Va., and later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, had a history with the Roanoke, Va., station.

His colleagues at the station came to know him as an angry and difficult person to work with, station manager Jeff Marks said during a live broadcast.

“Vester was an unhappy man,” Mr. Marks said, adding that he had to be escorted out of the building by police after he was terminated from the station in 2013.

“He did not take that well,” he added.

Other former colleagues echoed Marks’ sentiments.

Mr. Flanagan “was a good on-air performer, a pretty good reporter and then things started getting a little strange with him,” Don Shafer, the former news director of Florida’s WTWC-TV, where Mr. Flanagan worked in the late 1990s, said Wednesday. He spoke in an interview broadcast by Mr. Shafer’s current employer, San Diego 6 The CW.

Shafer said his “bizarre behavior” prompted managers at the Florida station to fire Flanagan.

Kimberly Moore Wilmoth, who worked with Flanagan at the Florida station, recalled him as “off-kilter” and someone who “never really made himself part of the team.”

Flanagan sued the Florida station over allegations of race discrimination in 2000. He claimed a producer had called him a “monkey” in 1999 and that other black employees had endured the same. The suit also included a complaint about an unnamed white supervisor at the station that had said black people were lazy because they did not take advantage of scholarships to attend college. Flanagan and station managers settled that suit out of court.

Flanagan worked at several other stations around the country before and after his stint in Florida.

In 1996 he worked as a freelance production assistant at KPIX, a San Francisco station. He worked as a general assignment reporter at WTOC-TV in Savannah from 1997 to 1999. From 2002 to 2004, he worked as a reporter and anchor for WNCT-TV in Greenville, N.C.

If his time in broadcast in Florida and Virginia had been troubled, colleagues and neighbors earlier in his life recall a different Flanagan. A former co-worker at the California station, Barbara Rodgers, remembered him only vaguely as “a young, eager kid out of journalism school,” who “just wanted to be on TV and to do a good job.”

At the Georgia station, Flanagan was remembered as “tall, good looking and seemed to be really nice, personable and funny,” said a former fellow reporter, Angela Williams-Gebhardt, who now lives in Ohio. The station’s former news director, Michael Sullivan, said Flanagan was relatively inexperienced, but did a decent job, without any apparent problems.

A native of Oakland, Calif., who graduated from nearby San Francisco State University, Flanagan was remembered by one childhood friend with fondness.

“I don’t remember anything bad about him,” said Sasha Dansky, a high school classmate, recalling Flanagan’s frequent appearance at parties. “He was just a nice, affable guy.”​

Virgil Barker, who lived on the same leafy street, said, “I know you want to hear that he was a monster, but he was the complete opposite.”

Barker added, “He was very, very loving.”

The enduring images of Wednesday’s horror tell a different story. The rampage began with multiple shots that killed reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward on Wednesday morning. Vicki Gardner, a local Chamber of Commerce official who was being interviewed live, was wounded.

Shortly after the violence, purposefully wrought in front of a live audience, Flanagan faxed a 23-page manifesto to ABC News in which he cited the racially motivated shooting deaths of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., this past June as a kind of inspiration, and reported racial discrimination for being black, and harassment and bullying for being gay,according to ABC News.

“I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!” Flanagan wrote.

Flanagan’s family offered condolences to the victims’ loved ones in the following statement:

It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we express our deepest condolenses to the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. We are also praying for the recovery of Vicki Gardner. Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the victims’ families and the WBDJ7 NEWS family. Words cannot express the hurt that we feel for the victtims. Our family is asking that the media respect our privacy.

Authorities have not pinpointed a motive, but missives online, as well as the letter received at ABC, suggest Wednesday’s violence was racially motivated.

Hours after the shooting, someone posted video of the shootings online, apparently from the shooter’s perspective. The videos were posted to Twitter and Facebook accounts registered to Bryce Williams, the name Flanagan had used throughout his career in broadcast journalism. The videos have since been removed.

Posts on the Twitter feed included accusations that one of the victims had made “racist comments” and said that a complaint had been filed with a government agency that enforces discrimination claims.

Flanagan died Wednesday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, presumably sustained during a police pursuit after the shooting. Police apprehended him after he crashed his car and transported him to an area hospital, where he later died.

Migrants Escape to Europe Spreads with about 50 Bodies Found in Austria

Austria Finds Up to 50 Bodies Thought to Be of Migrants in Truck
By ALISON SMALEAUG. 27, 2015, NY Times.

An abandoned truck carrying the dead bodies of people assumed to be migrants was found in Austria on Thursday.

VIENNA — The partly decomposing bodies of as many as 50 people assumed to be migrants being smuggled across Europe were found in a truck abandoned on a highway east of Vienna on Thursday, the police said.

The precise toll was yet to be determined, said Hans-Peter Doskozil, director of the police in the eastern state of Burgenland, during a live news conference on Austria’s public broadcaster.

He said the bodies, some of which had started to decompose, had been discovered when the truck was opened after the police noticed it parked off the highway that links Budapest and Vienna. He declined to give further details.

Mr. Doskozil said the Austrian police had contacted the authorities in neighboring Hungary, where the authorities have accelerated the building of a fence along the border with Serbia in an effort to block the flow of tens of thousands of migrants who have worked their way up the length of the Balkans in recent weeks.

The border fence has threatened to complicate and even cut off what has become an increasingly accessible route for the migrants, many of whom are fleeing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
In recent interviews, humanitarian aid workers and the migrants themselves said the fence would not stop the migrants but would force them to find other ways to make it to wealthy European Union countries farther north, often with the help of human traffickers.

The grisly discovery coincided with the start of a conference in Vienna on how to make the Balkans more secure and prosperous, partly as a means to stop the flight of thousands seeking better economic conditions in Austria, Germany and other, more wealthy parts of the European Union.

The conference is being attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and Balkan heads of government.

Ms. Merkel and Chancellor Werner Faymann of Austria expressed sorrow over the deaths and said they were a chilling reminder of the need to give shelter to migrants fleeing war.

“We are all shaken by this terrible news that up to 50 people have lost their lives because they got into a situation where smugglers did not care about their lives,” Ms. Merkel said.

“Such a tragic death,” she added, emphasized the need for Europe to pull together and ease the current crisis, part of the biggest wave of migrants since World War II.

In his remarks, Mr. Faymann said, “This shows once more how necessary it is to save lives and to fight people smugglers.”

He said, “Those who look back to World War II history know that there were people who depended then on asylum” to survive. Today, too, “it saves lives,” he added.

Gerald Tatzgern, who leads an Austrian police team responsible for fighting human trafficking, said that the police had secured the site where the truck was found. But he said it would take several days for forensics teams to sift through the evidence and, potentially, learn more about the identities of those found dead.

The police are still searching for anyone who might have information about the truck, which had Hungarian license plates and was found abandoned in an emergency area beside a highway in the Neusiedl am See region, near the Hungarian border.


The Austrian authorities said they were working with the Hungarian police to try and find the driver, who is believed to be from Hungary.

Images in the Austrian news media showed a white vehicle with a rear cooler compartment emblazoned with the word “Hyza” in brown letters, with a chicken standing in for the letter Y, surrounded by police cars parked at the side of the freeway.

A Slovakia-based company by the name of Hyza told the Austrian news agency APA that it had sold more than a dozen of its vehicles in 2014 but that it had no further knowledge about them.

Austria’s interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, called it a “dark day” and urged everyone across the 28-nation European Union to move harshly against human traffickers.

“These are not well-minded helpers,” she said. “They are not concerned with the welfare of the migrants. They care only about profit.”

The discovery of the truck not only threatened to overshadow the conference but also highlighted the continuing divides and dysfunction of the European Union in handling a migration crisis that is straining resources.

Ms. Mogherini gave the strongest voice to Europe’s need to act to stop such deaths, “moving from the blame game to real cooperation.”

There is “no magic solution, but the road we can follow to start making things work is very well known,” she said.

“We understand very well that we cannot continue like this — with a moment of silence every time we see someone dying,” she said.

Melissa Eddy contributed reporting from Berlin.

Record Surge Before the New York Close Shows Market Strength



A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. In the coming weeks, economists will be poring over data to assess whether the tumult in financial markets is weighing on investment decisions and consumer spending. CreditAndrew Burton/Getty Images

The Latest

■ The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average closed up nearly 4 percent, with the Dow gaining more than 600 points.

■ William C. Dudley, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, suggested that he thought September might be too soon for an increase in interest rates.

■ Shanghai stocks swung between big losses and gains on Wednesday, closing down 1.3 percent despite rate cuts in China.

■ Markets in Europe closed with major indexes showing losses of more than 1 percent.

In Depth

The storm that tore through global stock markets for several days appeared to have abated on Wednesday.

Stocks in the United States surged late in the day, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping more than 600 points after a late afternoon rally.

Investors seemed to react to suggestions from a Federal Reserve official that policy makers may not raise interest rates soon.

“From my perspective, at this moment, the decision to begin the normalization process at the September F.O.M.C. meeting seems less compelling to me than it was a few weeks ago,” William C. Dudley, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said Wednesday, referring to the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed panel that steers monetary policy. Mr. Dudley is a member of the committee.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, a broad measure of the United States market, closed up about 3.9 percent to 1,940.51. The much-narrower Dow Jones industrial average gained almost 4 percent, or 619 points, to end at 16,285.51.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained more than 4.2 percent to end at 4,697.54. It was the first positive day for all three indexes after six days of losses.

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With investors still confused and concerned about China’s economy, the second largest in the world after the United States’, the apparent lull may not last. And a resurgence of selling could heighten fears that volatility in financial markets will damp economic recoveries that have started in Europe and gained steam in the United States.

More often than not, though, stock market slides do little collateral damage.

“The stock market has to move a lot — and stay there — to have implications for the U.S. economy,” Mr. Dudley said. “What we’re seeing is not a U.S. problem. This is very different from the financial crisis.”

The debate over the consequences of the stock market slump will only intensify as central bankers meet in the coming weeks to decide whether to adjust monetary policy, one of the main drivers of economic activity. Until the current mayhem in the markets, many investors were betting that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates in September.

Continue reading the main story

When Will the Fed Raise Rates?

More than seven years ago the Federal Reserve put its benchmark interest rate close to zero, as a way to bolster the economy. But that policy is about to change.

Stock market corrections — the Wall Street term for a decline of at least 10 percent — come and go, usually with little consequence. And, importantly, they need not signal tough economic times ahead.

“Corrections are generally three times as frequent as recessions,” David Bianco, a strategist at Deutsche Bank in New York, said in an email, referring to the period since 1960. “This time I think the cause isn’t about U.S. recession risk.”

Investors sold the 10-year Treasury note, a safe-haven investment in volatile times. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction from its price, rose to 2.18 percent, from 2.08 percent on Tuesday.

The recent wave of selling was set off in part by China’s surprise devaluation of its currency, the renminbi, on Aug. 11.

Continue reading the main storyVideo

Chinese Investors Express Despair

China’s investors fear the country’s stock markets could fall further.

By REUTERS on Publish DateAugust 26, 2015.Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters. Watch in Times Video »

On Wednesday, shares in Shanghai swung between sharp gains and losses before ending the day down 1.3 percent, and they showed no sign that China’s cut in interest rates late Tuesday would lead to a broader rally.

Officials in Beijing took new steps on Wednesday to bring the stock market to heel, saying they were investigating executives from China’s biggest brokerage firm and had arrested staff members from the country’s stock regulatory agency.

Around Asia, other markets were mixed on Wednesday. Stocks in Japan rebounded 3.2 percent, ending a six-day losing streak.

European stocks, which were up sharply on Tuesday, began trading on Wednesday with declines of 1 percent to 2 percent. They made up that ground, then lost it again, with the Euro Stoxx 50-stock index falling 1.5 percent. It was hard to tell how much of that activity might simply be a function of market volatility or an effect of the downward lead of American markets on Tuesday, and how much might reflect actual concerns about some European companies’ dependence on China.

In the coming weeks, economists will pore over data to assess whether the tumult in financial markets is weighing on investment decisions and consumer spending. The sell-off has wiped more than $1 trillion of value from the S.&P. 500, depleting households’ nest eggs and perhaps delaying some spending. And the weakness in stock markets could be a drag on corporations. The recent wave of mergers and acquisitions, for instance, may lose some steam.

Still, steep stock market declines often have little long-term effect on the wider economy. The last time the stock market declined more than 10 percent was in 2011. But the United States economy has mostly grown steadily since then. Instead, stock market corrections can be relatively isolated events that are driven more by stock valuations than fears about the economy.

Mr. Bianco noted that the profits of companies in the S.&P. 500 had been flat for two quarters and were likely to remain sluggish for a while. “I believe that is the cause of the correction,” he said.


Investors monitored stock prices at a brokerage in Beijing on Wednesday. CreditNg Han Guan/Associated Press

China remains a big question mark. Deeper economic woes in China would have a global impact — on American companies like General Motors and Yum Brands, which count China’s rising middle class among their biggest customers; on Australian iron ore exporters and Peruvian copper miners; and on Japanese industrial robot manufacturers and French luxury goods retailers.

Since China’s stock market started plunging in June, after a rally that more than doubled share values in a year, the country’s leaders have been scrambling to prop up the markets. But shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen have continued to plunge. Officials now appear to be tacitly acknowledging the failure of their attempts to rescue shares.

Li Kui-Wai, an associate professor of economics and finance at the City University of Hong Kong, said such measures amounted to “financial socialism.”

“Basically they just try to bail out everything,” Mr. Li said on Wednesday. “The market is unsure about what China can do or will do, other than interfering in it,” he added, referring to the state measures.

Latino News Media Offended by Donald Trump. Anchor Ejected


Latino News Media, Offended by Donald Trump, Shows It in Broadcasts
By ASHLEY PARKERAUG. 26, 2015,  NewYorkTimes

Univision Anchor Ejected at Trump Event
The anchor Jorge Ramos was thrown out of a campaign news conference in Iowa for the Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.  August 25, 2015. Photo by Ben Brewer/Reuters.
Continue reading the main story

Ricardo Sánchez, known as “El Mandril” on his Spanish-language, drive-time radio show in Los Angeles, has taken to calling Donald J. Trump “El hombre del peluquín” — the man of the toupee.

Some of Mr. Sánchez’s listeners are less kind, referring to Mr. Trump, who has dismissed some Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and criminals, simply as “Hitler.”

Mr. Sánchez says that he tries to focus on the positive in presidential politics, but he, too, at times has used harsh language to describe Mr. Trump, a real estate mogul, according to translations of his show provided by his executive producer.

“A president like Trump would be like giving a loaded gun to a monkey,” Mr. Sanchez said in one broadcast. “But a gun that fires atomic bullets.”

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The adversarial relationship between Mr. Trump and the Spanish-language news media, which has simmered publicly since he announced his candidacy in June, boiled over on Tuesday at a news conference in Dubuque, Iowa, when the candidate erupted at Jorge Ramos, a news anchor at Univision and Fusion, when he tried to ask a question without being called on. Mr. Trump signaled to one of his security guards, who physically removed Mr. Ramos from the event.

“Don’t touch me, sir. Don’t touch me,” Mr. Ramos said, as he was marched out of the room. “I have the right to ask a question.”

Mr. Ramos was eventually allowed to return. But for the Spanish-language press, which has grown in size and influence in politics, the tense exchange was a highly public flexing of muscle against a candidate who many outlets no longer pretend to cover objectively: They are offended by Mr. Trump’s words and tactics — and they are showing it.

Some, including Mr. Ramos, said that their networks have covered Mr. Trump more aggressively than their mainstream counterparts, which until recently, at least, largely dismissed Mr. Trump as a summer amusement — less a serious candidate than a ratings bonanza in the form of a bombastic reality television star. (After the dust-up with Mr. Ramos on Tuesday night, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists issued a statement condemning Mr. Trump.)

Mr. Ramos, who earlier this month delivered a searing indictment of Mr. Trump, calling him, “the loudest voice of intolerance, hatred and division in the United States,” attributed the difference in approach to how directly the issue of immigration affects Latino Americans.

“This is personal, and that’s the big difference between Spanish-language and mainstream media, because he’s talking about our parents, our friends, our kids and our babies,” Mr. Ramos said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Ramos, who has been called the Walter Cronkite of Latino America for the tremendous influence he holds with Hispanic viewers, said that he could not recall Spanish-language news media covering a story as aggressively as it has Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

And though cable news and the Sunday morning news shows have blanketed their political coverage with stories about Mr. Trump’s improbable campaign, the focus of Spanish-language news programs has been almost exclusively on Mr. Trump’s controversial stance on immigration.


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About 58 percent of all mentions of Mr. Trump in mainstream news media — broadcast, cable, radio and online outlets — in the past month have focused on immigration, while on Spanish-language news programs, the proportion is almost 80 percent, according to an analysis by Two.42.Solutions, a nonpartisan media analytics company. The Spanish-language news media has also been more critical in its coverage of Mr. Trump’s positions on the issue, with nearly all of it negative in tone.

José Díaz-Balart, an anchor for Telemundo and MSNBC who takes a straight-news approach to his coverage and does not consider himself an advocate, nonetheless said that because of its viewership, Telemundo has delved deeper into the specifics of Mr. Trump’s immigration plan than many English-language outlets and has covered his candidacy with a sense of “urgency.”

“Our audience is very well versed, very knowledgeable, very well educated on the issue of immigration,” Mr. Díaz-Balart said, adding that his viewers are eager to hear “what are you realistically proposing and planning to do on the issues that are so important to the community.”

When Mr. Trump visited the United States-Mexico border last month, the Spanish-language networks devoted more time to Mr. Trump in their evening broadcasts than their English-language counterparts; Univision gave Mr. Trump six minutes, while Telemundo — which had Mr. Díaz-Balart anchor his nightly newscast live from the border — spent nine minutes on Mr. Trump.

In addition to his comments calling Mexican immigrants drug dealers and rapists, Mr. Trump’s immigration plan — which includes erecting a wall along the southern border and ending birthright citizenship — has also earned the ire of many Hispanics, who are expected to be a critical voting bloc in 2016.

Univision severed ties with the Miss Universe Organization, of which Mr. Trump is a part owner, because of his offensive comments about Mexican immigrants. Mr. Trump is now suing the network for $500 million.

Ken Oliver-Méndez, the director of the Hispanic media arm of the conservative Media Research Center, said that in the Spanish-language news media, “There’s just very opinionated, very sweeping condemnations of Donald Trump taking place.”

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An analysis of news, blogs and forums by Crimson Hexagon, a nonpartisan social media analytics software company, also found that overall mentions of Mr. Trump in the Spanish-language news media since he announced his candidacy were 69 percent negative, but were less negative — 58 percent — in the English-language news media.

Critics of the Spanish-language news coverage, including Mr. Oliver-Méndez, say that the Hispanic press is engaging in advocacy and not journalism.

“The Spanish-language media is basically taking Trump through the prism of what’s best for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, so to the extent that Trump is coming out with statements that are threatening the existence of that community, he’s been covered like an enemy,” he said.


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He pointed to several moments last week on the national United States evening news broadcasts of Azteca America, a Spanish-language television network. In one, an anchor said that Mr. Trump had nothing in his head but air, and in another, Armando Guzmán, a Washington correspondent, accused Mr. Trump of lying: “As in everything else, Trump is not telling the truth,” Mr. Guzmán said.

The last one-on-one interview Mr. Trump gave to a Spanish-language network was with Mr. Díaz-Balart on Telemundo, shortly after Mr. Trump announced his candidacy. The Trump campaign said it continues to give credentials to Spanish-language organizations for its events and treats them like all other news media.

Alex Nogales, the president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, a civil rights organization focused on American Latinos, said that the Spanish-language news media’s coverage of Mr. Trump has broad implications for the presidential election, whether or not he becomes the Republican nominee.

He said that for Latino voters, there will be a “reinforcement in terms of what they’re hearing, what they’re seeing, what they’re listening to” from the Republican candidates.

Lawrence Glick, an executive vice president at the Trump Organization who oversees golf, called Mr. Nogales this month, saying “he wanted to make peace” and set up a meeting with Mr. Trump, Mr. Nogales said. (The coalition has been calling for the suspension of all professional golf tournaments from Trump courses). But the two men seem to have reached an impasse, with no meeting imminent.

Mr. Ramos, for his part, sees a possible bright spot in Mr. Trump’s 2016 role.

“The only positive thing I might think of for Mr. Trump is that he brought immigration to the forefront of the 2016 campaign,” he said.

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This blog is dedicated to bringing back the commitment of professional journalism. As a former network news editor, major market news director and anchor, BILL DEANE gives you the inside story often missed by media more interested in Hollywood gossip. OUR MISSING NEWS gets into the WHY of the day's significant events.