Most Americans expect next mass shooting to happen in next three months: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Mourners taking part in a vigil at El Paso High School after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, U.S. August 3, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

By Maria Caspani

(Reuters) – Nearly half of all Americans expect another mass shooting will happen soon in the United States, according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Friday, as the nation reels from rampages in California, Texas and Ohio.

The Aug. 7-8 survey found that 78% of Americans said it was likely that such an attack would take place in the next three months, including 49% who said one was “highly likely.” Another 10% said a mass shooting was unlikely in three months and the rest said they did not know.

The poll was conducted after two mass shootings earlier in August in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and a third in Gilroy, California, last month that left 36 people dead. The attacks have rattled the country and renewed calls for tougher gun laws.

“You are on guard because you never know when it’s going to happen and where,” said Suzanne Fink, 59, a Republican from Troutman, North Carolina. “It has been happening much too often and it’s like a copycat effect.”

There is no set definition of a mass shooting, but the nonprofit organization Gun Violence Archive has tallied more than 250 such incidents so far this year alone – for an average of more than one a day – a widely cited figure that counts events in which four or more people were either shot and killed or shot and wounded.

Following the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Democrats, including several 2020 presidential candidates criticized Republican President Donald Trump for rhetoric they labeled as racist and hard-line immigration polices, saying they stoked violence.

Former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday called the shooting in El Paso “an act of terror inspired by your racism” in response to a tweet by Trump.

The president, who condemned “sinister ideologies” and hate in a televised speech on Monday, has expressed support for tightening background checks for gun purchases.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday he would not call the Senate back early to consider new gun legislation, rejecting a plea from more than 200 U.S. mayors, including two whose cities endured mass shootings last weekend.

According to the poll, 69% of U.S. adults want “strong” or “moderate” restrictions placed on firearms.

The poll also found that half of all Americans, including two-thirds of Democrats and a third of Republicans, believe that “the way people talk about immigration encourages acts of violence.”

A majority of U.S. adults considers “random acts of violence,” including mass shootings, to be the biggest threat to their safety, while one in four pointed to politically or religiously motivated domestic terrorism as the biggest safety threat. About one in six cited foreign terrorism.

People cited mental health, racism and bigotry and easy access to firearms as the top three causes of mass shootings in the United States, while only about one in six – and one in four Republicans – said in the poll that video games were to blame.

In his speech on Monday, Trump mentioned video games and mental illness as factors in mass shootings. Research studies have shown little or no link between violent video games and shootings.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,116 adults and has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

(Reporting by Maria Caspani; Editing by Chris Kahn and Jonathan Oatis)

A Special Message from Jim Bakker On The TX & OH Shootings

Lori Bakker, Jim Bakker in prayer at Morningside

Lori and I are grieving along with millions of Americans for those who were killed and injured in the pair of mass shootings that took place just hours apart! Jesus said let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid, you believe in God, believe also in me.

I believe this is the beginning of the second horse of the four horses of the Apocalypse. Revelation 6:4; “And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another.” I will deal with more on this subject on our television program.

Love in Christ, Jim Bakker

American caravan arrives in Canadian ‘birthplace of insulin’ for cheaper medicine

Type 1 diabetes advocates from the United States depart a Canadian pharmacy after purchasing lower cost insulin in London, Ontario, Canada June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Osor

By Tyler Choi

TORONTO (Reuters) – A self-declared “caravan” of Americans bused across the Canada-U.S. border on Saturday, seeking affordable prices for insulin and raising awareness of “the insulin price crisis” in the United States.

The group called Caravan to Canada started the journey from Minneapolis, Minnesota on Friday, and stopped at London, Ontario on Saturday, to purchase life-saving type 1 diabetes medication at a pharmacy.

The caravan numbers at approximately 20 people, according to Nicole Smith-Holt, a member of the group. Smith-Holt said her 26-year-old son died in June 2017 because he was forced to ration insulin due to the high cost. This is Smith-Holt’s second time on the caravan.

Caravan to Canada trekked the border in May for the same reasons, which Holt-Smith said was smaller than the group this week. She said Americans have gone to countries like Mexico and Canada for more affordable medications in the past and continue to do so.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported in May that Canadian pharmacists have seen a “quiet resurgence” in Americans coming to Canada looking for cheaper pharmaceuticals.

Insulin prices in the United States nearly doubled to an average annual cost of $5,705 in 2016 from $2,864 in 2012, according to a study in January.

Allison Nimlos, a Type 1 diabetes advocate from the United States, shows the less expensive Canadian insulin she purchased (right) after leaving a Canadian pharmacy in London, Ontario, Canada June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Allison Nimlos, a Type 1 diabetes advocate from the United States, shows the less expensive Canadian insulin she purchased (right) after leaving a Canadian pharmacy in London, Ontario, Canada June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

While not everyone purchased the same amount of insulin, Smith-Holt said most people are saving around $3,000 for three months of insulin, and as a whole, the group is saving around $15,000 to $20,000.

Prescriptions for insulin are not required in Canadian pharmacies Smith-Holt said, but the caravan has them so they can prove to the border patrol they are not intending to resell them when returning to the United States.

Quinn Nystrom, a leader of T1International’s Minnesota chapter, said on May via Twitter that the price of insulin in the United States per vial was $320, while in Canada the same medication under a different name was $30.

T1International, a non-profit that advocates for increased access to type 1 diabetes medication, has described the situation in U.S. as an insulin crisis.

“We know that many people couldn’t make this trip because they cannot afford the costs associated with traveling to another country to buy insulin there,” said Elizabeth Pfiester, the executive director of T1International in a press release.

An itinerary states the caravan will stop at the Banting House in London, Ontario later in the day. The Banting House is where Canadian physician and scientist Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin, lived from 1920 to 1921, and is called the “birthplace of insulin”, according to the Banting House website.

Smith-Holt said the group is not currently planning any future trips, but they could be organized in the near future depending on need. She hopes for long-term solutions in the United States like price caps, anti-gouging laws, patent reform and transparency from pharmaceutical companies.

(Reporting by Tyler Choi, Editing by Franklin Paul)

U.S. weekly jobless claims underscore labor market strength

FILE PHOTO: People wait in line to enter the Nassau County Mega Job Fair at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York October 7, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength even as the economy slows.

The economy, which received a temporary boost from volatile exports and inventory accumulation in the first quarter, is losing momentum as last year’s massive stimulus from the Trump administration’s tax cuts and spending increases fades.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 211,000 for the week ended May 18, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was unrevised. Claims have now declined for three straight weeks.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 215,000 in the latest week. The Labor Department said no states were estimated last week.

U.S. stock index futures held losses and the dollar dipped against a basket of currencies after the release of the data. Prices of U.S. Treasuries were trading higher. Claims are settling down after some volatility in late April caused by difficulties adjusting the data for seasonal fluctuations around moving holidays like Easter, Passover and school spring breaks.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, dropped 4,750 to 220,250 last week.

Continuing strength in labor market conditions, marked by a the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years, is likely to underpin the economy as it shifts into lower gear.

Retail sales and production at factories fell in April, while the housing market has mostly remained soft.

Gross domestic product estimates for the second quarter are below a 2.0 percent annualized rate. The economy grew at a 3.2 percent pace in the first quarter.

Last week’s claims data covered the survey period for the nonfarm payrolls component of May’s employment report.

The four-week average of claims increased 18,750 between the April and May survey periods, suggesting some moderation in employment gains after payrolls surged by 263,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate is at 3.6 percent.

Thursday’s claims report showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid rose 12,000 to 1.68 million for the week ended May 11.

The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims increased 5,500 to 1.67 million.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)

Half of American adults expect war with Iran ‘within next few years’: Reuters/Ipsos poll

FILE PHOTO: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives of the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

By Chris Kahn

(Reuters) – Half of all Americans believe that the United States will go to war with Iran “within the next few years,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Tuesday amid increased tensions between the two countries.

While Americans are more concerned about Iran as a security threat to the United States now than they were last year, few would be in favor of a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military. But if Iran attacked U.S. military forces first, four out of five believed the United States should respond militarily in a full or limited way, the May 17-20 poll showed.

Historically tense relations between Washington and Tehran worsened in May after U.S. President Donald Trump hardened his anti-Iran stance and restored all sanctions on Iranian oil exports following his decision a year ago to pull the United States out of a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran.

The United States moved an aircraft carrier and forces to the Gulf region in response to intelligence that Iran may be plotting against U.S. interests, an assertion Iran denies.

Nearly half – 49% – of all Americans disapprove of how Republican Trump is handling relations with Iran, the poll found, with 31% saying they strongly disapprove. Overall, 39% approve of Trump’s policy.

The survey showed that 51% of adults felt that the United States and Iran would go to war within the next few years, up 8 percentage points from a similar poll published last June. In this year’s poll, Democrats and Republicans were both more likely to see Iran as a threat and to say war was likely.

Iran was characterized by 53% of adults in the United States as either a “serious” or “imminent” threat, up 6 percentage points from a similar poll from last July. In comparison, 58% of Americans characterized North Korea as a threat and 51% characterized Russia as a threat.

Despite their concerns, 60% of Americans said the United States should not conduct a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military, while 12% advocate for striking first.

If Iran attacked, however, 79% said that the U.S. military should retaliate: 40% favored a limited response with airstrikes, while 39% favored a full invasion.

Both the United States and Iran have said they do not want war, although there have been bellicose statements from both.

Despite Trump’s decision to withdraw, the poll showed 61% of Americans still supported the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers to curb Iran’s potential pathway to a nuclear bomb in return for sanctions relief. Republicans also favored the accord negotiated by the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama, with a little more than half saying they supported it.

Gulf allies and U.S. government officials have said they believe Iran-backed groups are responsible for a series of attacks on shipping and pipelines in the Gulf in the last week.

Trump has said he would like to negotiate with the Islamic Republic’s leaders. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected talks on Tuesday and has said “economic war” is being waged against Iran.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,007 adults, including 377 Democrats and 313 Republicans, and has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 4 percentage points.

To see a copy of the full poll results and methodology, click here: https://tmsnrt.rs/2WUpjFT

(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’ to get star billing in weekend lunar eclipse

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo shows the lunar eclipse from a blood moon (top L) back to full moon (bottom right) in the sky over Frankfurt, Germany, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

By Barbara Goldberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Look up into the night sky on Sunday and – if it is clear – you may witness the so-called “Super Blood Wolf Moon” total lunar eclipse, which will take a star turn across the continental United States during prime time for viewing.

The total eclipse, which will begin minutes before midnight on the East Coast (0500 GMT) and just before 9 p.m. in the West, will unfold on the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday when most Americans have no school or work.

That means even the youngest astronomy buffs may get to stay up late and attend one of many watch parties that have been organized from Florida to Oregon.

The total eclipse will last for about an hour, and the best viewing is from North and South America, according to National Geographic. Partial eclipses leading up to and following the total eclipse mean the entire event will last 3.5 hours.

Total lunar eclipses occur when the moon moves into perfect alignment with the sun and earth, giving it a copper-red or “blood” appearance to those watching from below.

“Amateur astronomy clubs are throwing parties because this is what they live for – to get entire families excited about our place in the universe by seeing the mechanics of the cosmos,” said Andrew Fazekas, spokesman for Astronomers Without Borders.

In Pennsylvania, the York County Astronomical Society has invited the public to peer through its observatory’s telescopes for a close-up look. In Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory said it was anticipating “extremely large crowds,” and its website will live-stream a telescopic view of the eclipse.

COPPERY RED GLOW

A “super” moon occurs when the moon is especially close to earth, while a “wolf moon” is the traditional name for the full moon of January, when the howling of wolves was a sound that helped define winter, according to The Farmers Almanac.

In a total lunar eclipse, the moon never goes completely dark. Rather, it takes on a reddish glow from refracted light as the heavenly bodies move into position – hence the “blood moon” moniker. The more particulate or pollution in the atmosphere, the redder the moon appears.

“All of the sunrises and sunsets around the world are simultaneously cast onto the surface of the moon,” Fazekas said.

As many as 2.8 billion people may see this weekend’s eclipse from the Western Hemisphere, Europe, West Africa and northernmost Russia, according to Space.com.

While total lunar eclipses are not especially rare, the 2019 version takes place early enough in the evening that it can be enjoyed by U.S. stargazers of all ages, said George Lomaga, a retired astronomy professor from Suffolk County Community College. He plans to attend an eclipse party at Hallock State Park Preserve on New York’s Long Island.

There, astrophotographer Robert Farrell will demonstrate how to use a mobile phone to photograph celestial objects through a telescope so the spectacle can be shared online.

If skies are clear, the phenomenon can be seen with the naked eye and no protection is needed to safely enjoy the view, Griffith Observatory said.

Granted permission to stay up past his 8 p.m. bedtime, Gabriel Houging, 8, of Citrus Heights, California, is already dreaming of what he’ll see.

“It’s going to be a moon, but it’s going to look like you painted it orange!” Houging said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; editing by Frank McGurty and Rosalba O’Brien)

U.S. names three killed in Syria blast claimed by Islamic State

American flags fly on National Mall with U.S. Capitol on background as high-wind weather conditions continue in Washington, U.S. March 2, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

(Reuters) – The United States on Friday identified three Americans killed in a suicide attack in northern Syria this week that the U.S. government said was likely carried out by the Islamic State militant group.

Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent, 35, identified as being from upstate New York, and Scott Wirtz, a civilian Department of Defense employee from St. Louis, died during the Wednesday attack in Manbij, Syria, the Department of Defense said in a statement.

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida is pictured in an undated photo released by the U.S. Army, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, U.S., January 18, 2019. U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS

U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida is pictured in an undated photo released by the U.S. Army, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, U.S., January 18, 2019. U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS

The Pentagon did not identify the fourth person killed, a contractor working for a private company.

The Manbij attack on U.S. forces in Syria appeared to be the deadliest since they deployed on the ground there in 2015. It took place in a town controlled by a militia allied with U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.

Two U.S. government sources told Reuters on Thursday that the United States views the Islamic State militant group as likely responsible for the attack. Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

The attack occurred nearly a month after President Donald Trump confounded his own national security team with a surprise decision on Dec. 19 to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, declaring Islamic State had been defeated there.

U.S. Navy Cryptologic Technician Shannon M. Kent, 35, is pictured in an undated photo released by the U.S Navy, in Washington, DC, U.S., January 18, 2019. U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

U.S. Navy Cryptologic Technician Shannon M. Kent, 35, is pictured in an undated photo released by the U.S Navy, in Washington, DC, U.S., January 18, 2019. U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

If Islamic State carried out the attack, that would undercut assertions, including by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence several hours after the blast on Wednesday, that the militant group has been defeated.

Experts do not believe Islamic State has been beaten despite its having lost almost all of the territory it held in 2014 and 2015 after seizing parts of Syria and Iraq and declaring a “caliphate.”

While the group’s footprint has shrunk, experts say it is far from a spent force and can still conduct guerilla-style attacks. An Islamic State statement on Wednesday said a Syrian suicide bomber had detonated his explosive vest in Manbij.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky)

U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to near 49-year low

FILE PHOTO: People wait in line to attend TechFair LA, a technology job fair, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits tumbled to near a 49-year low last week, which could ease concerns about a slowdown in the labor market and economy.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 206,000 for the week ended Dec. 8, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Last week’s decline in claims was the largest since April 2015. Claims hit 202,000 in mid-September, which was the lowest level since December 1969.

Data for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 225,000 in the latest week. Claims shot up to an eight-month high of 235,000 during the week ended Nov. 24.

The Labor Department said only claims for Virginia were estimated last week.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,750 to 224,750 last week.

While difficulties adjusting the data around holidays likely boosted applications in prior weeks, there were concerns the labor market was losing some momentum given financial market volatility, the fading stimulus from a $1.5 trillion tax cut and the Trump administration’s protectionist trade policy.

Last week’s sharp drop in claims also suggests a slowdown in job growth in November was likely the result of worker shortages. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 155,000 jobs after surging by 237,000 in October.

With the unemployment rate near a 49-year low of 3.7 percent, Federal Reserve officials view the labor market as being at or beyond full employment.

The U.S. central bank is expected to raise interest rates at its Dec. 18-19 policy meeting. The Fed has hiked rates three times this year. Most economists expect the central bank will increase borrowing costs twice next year, although traders expect no more than one rate increase.

Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 25,000 to 1.67 million for the week ended Dec. 1.

The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims slipped 2,500 to 1.67 million.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani Editing by Paul Simao)

Bush funeral to hark back to ‘kinder, gentler’ era in U.S. politics

The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried by a joint services military honor guard from the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former President George H.W. Bush’s full life and decades of public service will be celebrated on Wednesday at a funeral expected to be a remembrance of an era that many Americans recall as a time of less contentious politics.

An unusual bipartisan spirit will be on display at the service at the Washington National Cathedral, starting at 11 a.m. (1600 GMT), with both Republican and Democratic politicians gathering to hail the life of a president who called for a “kinder, gentler” nation.

Bush, the 41st U.S. president, died last week aged 94.

Visitors gather before a State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

Visitors gather before a State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

“You’ll see a lot of joy,” said Ron Kaufman, who was George H.W. Bush’s White House political director in his unsuccessful re-election campaign in 1992. “It’ll show the way of life that people took for granted in many ways and now kind of long for.”

Political feuds will be set aside in honor of the late president, a World War Two naval aviator who was shot down over the Pacific Ocean, a former head of the CIA and a commander-in-chief who defeated Iraqi forces in the 1991 Gulf War.

President Donald Trump will attend the service, along with his wife Melania Trump, but will not be a speaker.

Trump infuriated the late Bush in the past by attacking his sons, former President George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, one of Trump’s rivals in the 2016 Republican campaign.

“Looking forward to being with the Bush family. This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

The Trumps spent about 20 minutes visiting with the Bush family on Tuesday. A senior White House official said Trump has privately called the late president “a good man and a nice guy” and that he has been pleased with the coordination with the Bush family this week.

Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida, told the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council on Tuesday: “The president and first lady have been really gracious.”

Bush has been remembered as a patrician figure who represented a bygone era of civility in American politics, although he came across as out of touch with ordinary Americans as economic troubles bit hard in the early 1990s.

Former President George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush, Neil Bush, Sharon Bush, Bobby Koch, Doro Koch, Jeb Bush and Columba Bush, stand just prior to the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush being carried by a joint services military honor guard from the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

Former President George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush, Neil Bush, Sharon Bush, Bobby Koch, Doro Koch, Jeb Bush and Columba Bush, stand just prior to the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush being carried by a joint services military honor guard from the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

EX-PRESIDENTS

All surviving former U.S. presidents will be at the cathedral along with their wives: Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992, but in the years after leaving office developed a strong friendship with him.

George W. Bush will deliver a eulogy, along with former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, retired Wyoming Republican Senator Alan Simpson and presidential biographer and former journalist Jon Meacham.

Attendees will include Britain’s Prince Charles and leaders of Germany, Jordan, Australia and Poland, along with a host of former world leaders, such as former British Prime Minister John Major, who was in office during Bush’s term.

Marlin Fitzwater, who was the late president’s White House press secretary, said the ceremony “will show a quality of gentility and kindness that he was noted for.”

Of Trump’s presence, Fitzwater said: “It’s important for our presidents to pay respect to each other and I’m glad President Trump will be there.”

Bush navigated the United States through the end of the Cold War and was president when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

He was dogged by domestic problems, including a sluggish

economy, and faced criticism for not doing enough to stem the tens of thousands of deaths from the AIDS virus ravaging America.

When he ran for re-election in 1992, he was pilloried by Democrats and many Republicans for violating his famous 1988 campaign promise: “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Democrat Bill Clinton coasted to victory.

Bush’s casket will be transported to the cathedral from the Capitol Rotunda, where the late president has lain in state since Monday night. Thousands of people have filed past to pay their respects, some getting a chance to see Sully, a service dog that was Bush’s friendly companion.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Writing by Steve Holland and Alistair Bell; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Frances Kerry)

First steps towards a life of giving back

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah gestures during the announcement of the U.S. Global Development Lab to help end extreme poverty by 2030, in New York April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By Chris Taylor

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Here is some good news to hold onto this holiday season: Americans are giving more than ever.

Last year, Americans gave a total of $410 billion to worthy causes, according to Giving USA, surpassing $400 billion for the first time ever. And this year’s Giving Tuesday, a charity promotion on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is seeing pledges already totaling more than $380 million on just that one day, up 27 percent from the year before, according to a survey of major giving portals like Facebook, PayPal and Blackbaud.

Who is helping steer the nation’s charitable dollars, and how did they get there? For the latest in Reuters’ First Jobs series, we talked to a few titans of philanthropy about their first steps towards a life of giving back.

Dr. Rajiv Shah

President, The Rockefeller Foundation

First job: Caddie

I grew up in suburban Detroit, and my first job was as a caddie at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I think I was 15, because I remember I couldn’t drive there on my own yet.

We got paid per bag, per round, plus a tip. My biggest payday was for doing two rounds in a day, both of which involved two bags, so I made $120. I was so excited that when I got home I showed my mom the burn marks on my shoulders, and slapped the cash down on the kitchen counter. I thought I was on top of the world.

My most memorable round was with a local doctor. I had been born with a birth defect of two fingers being stuck together. By chance, I caddied for the doctor who had done the separation procedure, and he recognized his own work when he saw my hand. He made me feel very special.

From that job, I learned that when you do something, give it absolutely everything you’ve got. Show up early, work twice as hard, stay late. I still remember how excited I was to get there early and be one of the first people on the course. A first job like that can shape your mindset about what success looks like. And as a son of an immigrant growing up in Detroit, it was my first time being exposed to a world like that.

Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann

CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

First job: Pharmacy assistant

When I was a kid, our family moved to Reno so my dad and his business partner could open a family-run pharmacy. I grew up about a mile away from Keystone Pharmacy, which my father ran for many years. Everyone in Reno knew Frank.

He put up with me trailing him around the pharmacy for most of my childhood. Eventually, I became a bookkeeper for the business. My brothers, meanwhile, used to drive around little yellow trucks to make deliveries.

A lot of people think Reno is a strange place to live and work, and I’ve heard every Reno joke there is. But it was actually a wonderful place to grow up, right by the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s my happy place.

Gerun Riley

President, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

First job: Pizza delivery

My first unpaid job was actually helping my family build our house in Connecticut. At a very early age, I was working nights and weekends, building an addition for our growing family. In the third grade for Show & Tell, I told all my classmates about how to hang drywall.

My first paid job, though, was delivering pizza while I went to university at Bowdoin College in Maine. It required someone who was okay with not having a social life on Friday or Saturday nights, so that was me. I got paid $6 an hour, and the expectation was that there would be tips as well – but since I was mostly delivering to other college students, there wasn’t a lot of that.

I remember I had to drive a bronze Toyota van that spun out a lot and beeped when you backed up. Mostly I delivered to frat houses, so that job forced me to get over my own embarrassment about driving a tacky van and wearing a hokey uniform and doing my job while other people were having fun.

It also taught me to manage my time. I was in neuroscience, and a college athlete, and working 35 hours a week so I could afford clothes and food and books. I had no choice but to be very efficient and thoughtful about how I spent my days.

(Editing by Beth Pinsker and Bernadette Baum)