Monday, May 10, 2021

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 5/7/2021

"Brooks and Capehart on jobs report, Liz Cheney and election lawsPBS NewsHour 5/7/2021

SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including the latest jobs report, the internal politics in the Republican party as it attempts to oust Rep. Liz Cheney, and the latest string of election law changes in conservative states.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  To reflect a little on what Senator Warren had to say and more on the events of this week, it's time for Brooks and Capehart.

That is New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, columnist for The Washington Post.

It is so good to see both of you, smiling faces on this Friday evening.

And I do want to get to Senator Warren, David, but first let me ask you about today's jobs numbers.  They were disappointing.  It was expected there would be many hundreds of thousands more than there were.

Do these numbers say something about, frankly, the wisdom of President Biden's economic plans?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Maybe.  I don't think we know yet.

But we're doing two gigantic experiments that are really unprecedented in American history.  We have never spent $6 trillion in such a short period of time, and gone into debt while doing it.  If the two other Biden plan passes, it'll be $10 trillion.

At the same time, we have never seen Fed expansionary policy this momentous.  And so this is an experiment.  And maybe it'll pay off, but maybe there will be inflation.  Warren Buffett's a little worried about inflation.  Other people are worried about inflation.

Maybe, as Michael Strain said earlier in the program, the fact that people are paid to stay home means I don't want to get a job.  I can hang out at home, what seems a lot better.

And so we — I don't think we know the answer to what happened.  But it was a shocking number.  And we just have to pay attention to the fact that this could go sideways in a million ways, because we're doing something really risky.

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan, do you see that this makes some sort of statement about what President Biden's doing?

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  I don't think so, not yet.

We cannot grade the entirety of President Biden's fiscal plans based on one unemployment number.  We have got to look at the long haul here.  And so the jury's out on that.  However, we have to think about all the things that David was just talking about, in terms of the inflationary concerns and all of that.

We have to also talk about the fact that we're also dealing with — still with a global pandemic, people being reticent.  As much as folks want to get out and restart their lives, there are a lot of people who, like, can't find jobs, are too afraid to get out there, for fear of what's going to happen with the pandemic.

And, also, on top of all of it, even though lots of states are starting to reopen, some more fully, like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced, but they're still slowly reopening.  So I think it's a little too early, Judy and David, to start being gloom and doom over the state of the economy, not just yet.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, in connection with all this, you heard Senator Warren.  I asked her about her plans to tax the wealthy.

She has a much more, shall we say, ambitious set of proposals even than what President Biden has put out there.

David, what do you — where do you see any of this going with regard to taxing the wealthiest in order to pay for what he wants to do?

David Brooks:  Well, it's pretty popular.

And it's also just a fact that wealth is concentrated over the last 30 or 40 years.  It's also just a fact that corporations have done extremely well, and corporate profits have done pretty well.  So, if you want to tax things to pay for things, these are probably the least bad things to tax.

There is going to be a cost.  When you raise the corporate tax rate, and, on the margins, companies will flock to a place with a lower corporate tax rate than a higher corporate tax rate.  That's probably true on the margins.  But it seems to me the Biden administration has chosen the appropriate areas to raise taxes.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Jonathan, what do you see when you look at taxes and President Biden and what Senator Warren's saying?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, one, I agree with David in the last point that he made.

But let's also remember they're still in the middle of negotiations.  And even though I think the initial number the president has put out there, wanting to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, and, before that, under Trump, it was 35 percent, and he lowered it that much, that the President and the Administration has been — have been sending signals all along that they're willing to negotiate, willing to negotiate on that piece.

As for Senator Warren, of course, she is going to shoot for the moon and the stars as a means of, one, because she believes that fully, firmly believes it, but also as a way of trying to push the President further, push him to do more than maybe he is constitutional — he thinks he's constitutionally capable of.

But if the American — if the American Rescue Plan is any indicator, I don't think she's going to have to push too hard to get the President to think imaginatively about how to go about his policy — his plans.

Judy Woodruff:  Let's talk about the Republicans, David, a lot going on in that party this — the last few days, and, next week, a vote upcoming among House Republicans.

It looks like they are going to kick out Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming as the conference chair in the House, because she's not only insufficiently loyal to President Trump.  She's saying he actively should not be the person the party's following.

What does all this say about the Republican Party?

David Brooks:  Well, it's still Donald Trump's party.

It shows that you have to — more or less, as everyone is pointing out, you shouldn't have to be a lie to qualify — you have to lie to qualify to be a Republican.  And that's the standard that is now being laid down.  And Elizabeth Cheney just didn't want to lie.

There's also a lot of internal politics here, that what they want from the person in a leadership role is the ability to get them reelected.  And so the House members are worried that, because she keeps picking on this issue, she's going to be less effective at raising money and getting them reelected.

Elise Stefanik, the person who's probably going to replace her, has read the party.  She was a Harvard educated person who worked in the Bush administration, endorsed John Kasich, and sat out the 2016 convention because Donald Trump was going to be the nominee.  Ruth Marcus, our friend, has a good column on this.

And she's [Elise Stefanik] now a roaring Trumper.  And so she's read the winds.  And that's what this is all about.

Judy Woodruff:  In fact, Elise Stefanik just said in an interview, Jonathan, yesterday that President Trump is the strongest president ever when it comes to standing up for the U.S. Constitution.

But what do you — what does all this say, from your perspective, about what Republicans are — where they're headed?

Jonathan Capehart:  That quote you just read from Congresswoman Stefanik just sort of proves what David was just talking about.

In order to be in the leadership, but also to be considered a Republican, you have to lie.  All of this tells me that the Republican Party has officially lost its way.  It is not about values and substantive issues and being a policy counterweight to the Democratic Party.  It is all about being loyal to Donald Trump, one.

But, also, when it comes to the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, it's do anything, say anything to ensure, you hope, that you are in good position to retake the House in 2022.

Elizabeth — Congresswoman Cheney is a conservative.  She is a conservative.  Elise Stefanik, by comparison, from Upstate New York is a moderate.  And when you look at — the Club For Growth gives Elise Stefanik a 35 percent rating.  The Heritage Foundation gives Elizabeth Cheney an 80 percent rating and Elise Stefanik a 48 percent rating.

And if you want to talk about fealty and loyalty to Donald Trump, Congresswoman Cheney voted with Donald Trump 92.9 percent of the time, as compared to Elise Stefanik, who voted with him 77 percent of the — 77 percent of the time.  And this is data from FiveThirtyEight.

So, it's like the Soul Train Scramble Board here.  It's going to take a while to figure out what they're — what the Republican Party is all about, really.  But, right now, the Republican Party is about Donald Trump, only about Donald Trump, and how Donald Trump feels about everything.

And one last point, Judy.  I know I'm going on.  The number one reason why Congresswoman Cheney is in trouble is because Donald Trump hates her for telling the truth.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, David, as both of you are saying, it is not only what Congresswoman Cheney — or Congresswoman Stefanik is saying about former President Trump, but it's also her — her continuing to insist, along with so many other Republicans, that the election — in her words, she said election fraud was widespread last year.

She has spoken out for this recount going on in Maricopa County, Arizona, that's paid for only by Republicans — or being sponsored only by Republicans.

So, I mean, this says something about future elections as well.

David Brooks:  Yes, in a country with a lot of problems, the Republicans have picked the one area that's not broken to address all their energy on.  And that's elections.

And so they — all these laws, I doubt they will have a huge effect.  I think studies show that they don't have a big effect on damping down turnout.  But it's just a — given American history — Jonathan and I have talked about it before — it's just a horrific look.

And the amount of energy going into it, and the fact that Florida Governor DeSantis did it, announced is the signing of Florida's new election law on FOX, who does a news event on one network?


David Brooks:  I mean, this — it just shows we are in a land of theater.  It's not about anything but the symbols of showing Donald Trump is right about the election and there was a lot of fraud.

And it's a theatrical gesture, a Potemkin set of laws to just reinforce the Trump narrative.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Jonathan, as both of you have said, these election laws have a very real effect on what happens going forward in the congressional elections next year, the midterm elections, and, of course, beyond.

Jonathan Capehart:  Right.

I think, a few shows ago, I said that these election laws were a solution in search of a problem.  And I cannot remember the person who sent me an e-mail, but they wrote me and said, listen, stop saying that because it's not true, because, from the Republican perspective, it is a solution in — to solve a problem.

And the problem from the Republican perspective is too many Democrats voting.  And, in the end, that's what this is all about.  The mail-in voting, the absentee balloting that Democrats pushed hard because of the problems with the Postal Service, because of fears of going out in public because of the pandemic, Democrats, who used to not vote by mail and not absentee vote, did it in droves in the safest election in American history, as we learned from the federal government.

And so all of these laws are about stopping as many Democrats as possible from voting, as a means of increasing Republican power and increasing their chances of retaking the House.

Judy Woodruff:  Only a little more than a minute left.

But I do want to finally quickly ask both of you, David, about this idea of how the insurrection at the Capitol is investigated.  I interviewed Speaker Pelosi this week.  She said it's not something that should be chosen by the President, it needs to come from Congress.

And, right now, Republicans and Democrats are at loggerheads.

David Brooks:  I'm dubious.  I support the idea, I guess, but I'm dubious they can come up with a commission filled with people who have credibility on both sides.

When the 9/11 Commission happened, we had people like Lee Hamilton and Governor Kean of New Jersey leading it, people who really were part of the establishment center.  We don't have as many people like that.  And even those who are in the establishment center have less credibility with the polarized wings.

And so it looks — I'm much more pessimistic than I would have been after 9/11 that we can put together a commission that we trust.

Judy Woodruff:  And Jonathan?

Jonathan Capehart:  But we have to put together a commission.  It must be done.

The horror of January 6, the tipping point that those events put American democracy on, we cannot forget it.  We must investigate it.  We must find out what really happened, what truly happened, all the things that we don't know about right now.  It must be put before the American people, so that, at a minimum, we can try to not have that happen again.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, I know we are going to continue to ask those questions.

In the meantime, we thank you both, Jonathan Capehart, David Brooks.  Have a good weekend.

Jonathan Capehart:  Thanks, Judy.  You too.

See you, David.

NEWSHOUR CANVAS - Newton Minow on Television Programming's Wasteland

"Newton Minow’s concern for children transformed TV.  Here’s what he’d still changePBS NewsHour 5/7/2021


SUMMARY:  60 years ago this Sunday — on May 9, 1961 — then Head of the FCC, Newton Minow, gave his first major speech, declaring U.S. television programming a "vast wasteland," because he saw the missed opportunities of what TV could offer.  The phrase helped lead to the genesis of PBS.  Minow joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the legacy of that speech.

AMERICAN JOBS - Latest Jobs Report

"Why the latest jobs report was disappointing, and what it means for the economyPBS NewsHour 5/7/2021


SUMMARY:  With millions of people still out of work during the pandemic, Friday's mediocre jobs report puzzled many analysts who expected hundreds of thousands more new jobs.  Lisa Desjardins discusses its implications with Ellen Hughes Cromwick a former chief economist at the commerce department during the Obama administration, and Michael Strain an economist with the American Enterprise Institute.



"Warren: Latest jobs report shows the need for universal child carePBS NewsHour 5/7/2021


SUMMARY:  Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is working with President Biden on infrastructure, education and a number of other issues.  She also just released a new book, "Persist," about her own campaign experiences and plans.  It emphasizes her personal stories as a working mother.  She joins Judy Woodruff to discuss Biden's policies, and the experiences that inspired the book.

FROM AN EX-REPUBLICAN - Liz Cheney Being Removed for Humiliating Cowards

"Liz Cheney was a rising Republican star until Jan 6.  Here’s what changedPBS NewsHour 5/6/2021


SUMMARY:  Internal divides over last year's election and the future of the party have come to a head as House Republicans seem to be moving to replace their No. 3 leader, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.  Lisa Desjardins reports on where Republicans are drawing the line on her comments about President Trump and the party itself.


MEMORIAM - Jacques d’Amboise Died Sunday at 86

"Remembering the legend of dance, ballet star Jacques d’AmboisePBS NewsHour 5/4/2021


SUMMARY:  We take a moment to look back at the career of dancer Jacques d’Amboise, who died Sunday at age 86 in his Manhattan home following complications from a stroke.  His work with the New York City Ballet, on film and in public schools, brought dance to new heights.


U.S. SUPREME COURT - End-Year Oral Argument

"Looking back at a year of Supreme Court cases tried over the phonePBS NewsHour 5/4/2021


SUMMARY:  Few institutions are as tradition-laden as the U.S. Supreme Court, but the pandemic brought changes.  Justices dialed in to hear their final oral argument of the term Tuesday - a case about sentencing reductions for low-level crack-cocaine offenses.  Their final call also falls on the one-year anniversary of the court's very first remote oral argument.  John Yang reports on the big adjustment.

YEMEN PROXY WAR - Yemen vs Iran Allied Rebels

"On the ground with Yemeni soldiers battling Iran-allied rebelsPBS NewsHour 5/3/2021


SUMMARY:  Three months ago, President Biden ended American military involvement in the war in Yemen and reversed President Trump's decision to designate the Houthis a terrorist organization.  But soon after, as special correspondent Jane Ferguson reports, the Houthis launched an offensive east from the capital Sana'a, towards the city of Marib, the last stronghold of Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces.

AT THE BORDER - Reuniting Families

IMHO:  It is so refreshing to have a President with a companionate heart in the White House.

"How the US plans to reunite more than 1,000 families that remain separated at the borderPBS NewsHour 5/3/2021


SUMMARY:  The White House announced Monday it would reunite four families that U.S. officials separated at the southern border during Donald Trump's presidency.  Over 5,500 children were taken from their parents to deter illegal immigration since July, 2017.  Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the move, which he has called "Just the beginning."

COVID-19 - Updates

"India’s COVID-19 crisis is far from over, and vaccines alone won’t help.  Here’s whyPBS NewsHour 5/3/2021


SUMMARY:  The COVID-19 crisis in India shows little sign of slowing down.  As death tolls and infections skyrocket, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership is under increasing political pressure and scrutiny.  The country is short on vaccines, and other life-saving supplies like oxygen and antiviral drugs.  William Brangham speaks to Indian reporter Barkha Dutt about what she's seeing on the ground.



"Dr. Vivek Murthy on new US inoculation strategy and distributing vaccines abroadPBS NewsHour 5/4/2021


SUMMARY:  U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, a key member of the president's team combating COVID-19, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss President Joe Biden's aims to vaccinate 70 percent of all U.S. adults with at least one dose by July 4, and how a focus on rural communities will help achieve that goal, and how the U.S. plans to distribute vaccines abroad.



"Waiving vaccine patent rights may be the ‘only way’ to end the pandemicPBS NewsHour 5/5/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden announced that the U.S. will support waiving patent rights for the COVID vaccines — a major move that follows a call domestically, and internationally, for America to provide much quicker and greater assistance to the rest of the world.  William Brangham looks at the potential impact of this decision and the reaction to it with Madhavi Sunder of the Georgetown University Law Center.



"The government wants to pay for every COVID funeral.  Experts worry the process is flawedPBS NewsHour 5/5/2021


SUMMARY:  In the past few weeks, a new and large form of COVID-19 relief has opened in the U.S., with the federal government offering to pay for all or most of every funeral of those lost to the disease.  Lisa Desjardins reports on the unprecedented scale of help, how the rollout has fared so far, and the questions it raises about the cost of grief in America.



"Waiving the vaccine patent may come down to giving pharmaceutical companies incentivesPBS NewsHour 5/6/2021


SUMMARY:  President Joe Biden has given the initial nod for the U.S. to waive patent rights on COVID vaccines to boost international production.  But there are real questions over how effective these moves would be, what other countries feel about it, and when this would translate into action.  William Brangham discusses the matter with Rachel Silverman, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development.



"Honoring 5 American lives lost to COVID-19PBS NewsHour 5/7/2021


SUMMARY:  Each week, the PBS NewsHour pauses to remember five Americans lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, and shares memories and highlights from their lives.



"Serbia’s winning fight against COVID-19 raises questions about ‘vaccine diplomacy'PBS NewsHour 5/8/2021


SUMMARY:  Serbia has had considerable success in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with the third-highest rate in Europe; supply is mostly from China and Russia.  While Serbia's efforts have received high praise, experts are warning about unprecedented, growing Chinese influence in the country and the wider region through so-called 'vaccine diplomacy.'  Jorgen Samson and Aleksandar Papajic report from Serbia.

Monday, April 26, 2021

RECYCLING - Well.....Not Always

"Your recycling is not always being recycled—here’s whyPBS NewsHour 4/25/2021


SUMMARY:  Recycling rules seem to differ in every municipality, with exceptions and caveats at every turn, leaving the average American scratching their head at the simple act of throwing something away.  Jennie Romer, author of “Can I Recycle This?” joins NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker as he delves into the nebulous, confusing world of American recycling.

PRESIDENT BIDEN - First 100 Days

"Does a president’s first 100 days reveal anything about the next four years?PBS NewsHour 4/25/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden is nearing a milestone his predecessors have been judged by for decades -- his first 100 days in office.  But what does this benchmark reveal about the next four years?  Special Correspondent Jeff Greenfield walks us through some history-making first 100 days and why they can, at times, be misleading.

CLIMATE CHANGE - Amsterdam's Way

"Amsterdam’s ‘doughnut economy’ puts climate ahead of GDPPBS NewsHour 4/24/2021


SUMMARY:  Amsterdam [Netherlands] is the first city in the world to adopt a radical economic theory that suggests economic growth shouldn’t be the ultimate measure of success.  Instead, “doughnut economics” focuses on protecting the environment while meeting citizens’ basic needs.  Special Correspondent Megan Thompson reports as part of our ongoing series “Peril & Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change.”

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 4/23/2021

"Brooks and Capehart on Chauvin verdict, Biden climate plan and Capitol riot investigationsPBS NewsHour 4/23/2021

SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including the president's ambitious climate goals.  policing in America, and investigations into the Capitol riot.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  It is a week marked by a moment of reckoning for racial justice, by new calls to hold accountable those behind the January 6 insurrection, and by President Biden's ambitious push to combat climate change.

To help make sense of it all, the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.  That is New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, columnist for The Washington Post.

Hello to both of you.  It's so good to see you on this Friday night.

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  Hey, Judy.

Judy Woodruff:  A lot to talk about.

Let's start with the climate summit.

David, President Biden laying out some really ambitious goals, saying the U.S. needs to deeply cut carbon emissions.  Is it realistic, and is life going to have to change in this country to get there?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, it's noble and it's the right policy.  I'm not sure how realistic it is.

It's a policy that it's going to introduce a lot of electric vehicles, as we just saw.  We're going to have a new power grid.  If all these things go through, will we really cut emissions by 50 percent?  Well, at the height of COVID, when we were totally shut down, we cut emissions by 21 percent.  So, I'm not totally optimistic.

I think the experts that I have read said you have to do more.  There has to be a price on carbon.  You have to pretty much get rid of natural gas, evolve that out as existence, well as oil-burning cars.  So, that's pretty radical stuff.

But that doesn't make the perfect the enemy of the good, or whatever the expression I'm searching for is.  So, it's definitely a step in the right direction.  I think the really hard thing is China.  China's just still burning coal plants.  They're still producing more energy.  John Kerry, our envoy, wants to keep our climate change policy toward China — with China independent of all of our other policies with China.

As our relations get a lot rockier, as I imagine they will, I don't think that'll be possible.  And so how will we create a — really a global accord, when we're really in some sort of cold war with China?

Judy Woodruff:  What do you think, Jonathan?  Are these things that can really happen?

Jonathan Capehart:  I think I'm with David here that I'm not sure whether these goals are — the numbers that have been set are actually attainable.

What I take from the climate summit this week is President Biden, by holding this summit with the 40, 42 nations, is sending a couple of signals.  One, the United States is back in a leadership role in doing something about climate and doing something about climate change, that it wants to lead the global effort, a recognition that, without the United States' participation, China and India will most definitely not participate in any action to do something about climate.

And so, if we're going to do anything, achieve any goal, we need to have the United States, China, India and the world united in at least doing something.  And I think that's what this — that summit was about this week.

Judy Woodruff:  Let me turn both of you to one of the, of course, big developments of the week, and that was the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, accused in the murder of George Floyd.

David, what do you take away from that?  And what effect do you think — we talked about this some last week, but what effect do you think it could have on policing in this country and on relations between the races?

David Brooks:  Well, the most important news event that happened this week is something that didn't happen.

We didn't get an acquittal.  We didn't get civil unrest.  We didn't get another occasion where people would lose faith in the system, and really be disgusted by the system.  That didn't happen.

And so we can look with some satisfaction at a trial where I think most people agree justice was done.  And we can look back on an episode in American life, from the time of George Floyd's killing until the conviction, when race was on the table in a way it hasn't been, in my view, since 19 — mid-1960s.

The problem, the disparities, the injustices have now become a topic of constant conversation and, in my view, a constant gradual truth-bearing.  And this has been an awkward set of circumstances for a lot of people, a lot of hard conversations.  But, to me, it's — in a rough year, it's been an overall positive, really positive development in American life.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Jonathan, do you see these hard conversations leading to something meaningful?

Jonathan Capehart:  I hope so, Judy.

The conviction of Chauvin, what's interesting is that, as wonderful as the conviction is, it is just a drop in the bucket in terms of solving the overall problem.  Just moments, literally, before the verdict came down, there was the shooting in Columbus.

And while we can quibble over the details of that shooting, the main thing that animates African Americans is this question:  Why is it that when law enforcement and African Americans interact, more often than not, African Americans are the ones who are injured, shot or killed?

And that is the overall question that needs to be answered.  And I think these tough conversations that David is talking about that have been reignited over the last year, they must continue.  This conversation cannot end.

The verdict, the Chauvin guilty verdict on all three counts cannot be the end of the conversation.  It has to be the beginning or the continuation of a conversation that has been needed to be had in America for a very long time.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, do you see it continuing?

David Brooks:  I do.

And I think there's going to be progress on policing.  I'm optimistic that the United States Senate, Tim Scott the Republican, and Cory Booker the Democrat, will reach a deal and that we will actually have a major police reform.

I do think there has to be not just a change in procedures.  There has to be a change in culture.  African Americans need to feel safe.  And that means the police cannot — have to be in the community, working with the community.  And police officers have to feel safe.  And that means the community has to be working with the police officers.

And so it's the relationship between people in the community and people in the police force.  It's community policing in its real form that is the solution, more beyond changing some procedures or some immunities.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Jonathan, again, I know we talked about it last week, but is your sense that, after this, we are going to see change?

Jonathan Capehart:  I do think so.

And I think the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would be a very good step.  I am very optimistic about the bill's chances today, more so than I was a week ago today.

The fact that Senators Cory Booker and Tim Scott and Congresswoman Karen Bass, who is the lead person in the House, are all talking about ways to get this bill done, including a conversation about qualified immunity that is making it possible for people to sue police departments or police officers individually, that's a huge sticking point for Republicans.

But the fact that Senator Scott put out a compromise — that is, well, maybe not the police officers individually, but police departments, let's have that conversation, that was a very good signal that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act actually stands a chance of passing and becoming law.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, there was a development this week around the attempt to come up with an independent commission to investigate what happened on January 6, the insurrection at the Capitol.

Speaker Pelosi has now made at least two sets of proposals, concessions, if you will, compromises to Republicans.  So far, there's no agreement.  How important is it that there being an independent investigation of what happened?

David Brooks:  Yes, this was a classic Republican moment.  Nancy Pelosi said she made these two concessions, then sent a little over to the Republicans.  And the Republicans said, we got no letter.  Where's the letter?  We — it was like, we're pretending to talk.  We're not really talking.

I think we should have a commission.  It was, (A) a major event in American life.  But, (B) — and here, I side a little with the Republicans who want to broaden the scope — I think we should not just investigate this as a one-day crime that happened.

I think we have a problem, an ongoing problem and a growing problem of violent extremism in this country, mostly on the right, mostly characterized by things like January 6, but also a bit on the left.  I think we need a commission that would say, what is the map of violent extremism in this country?  How do these people communicate?

Is there outside help?  There are all sorts of fundamental questions that, if you broaden the scope of the thing, would help us deal with whatever the — whatever future Charlottesville or Portland is coming down the road.

And I think that is the core problem we're facing here.

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan, do you think the scope should be broadened, as Republicans are saying they want?

Jonathan Capehart:  Absolutely not.

There is no comparison between the people, the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol to subvert the will of the American people, there's no comparison between them and the loosely affiliated folks who are under the umbrella of so-called Antifa.

What happened on January 6 needs to be investigated.  The people who were involved in the planning, the people who just unleashed violence on the U.S. Capitol, but on American democracy, we need to know what happened, why it happened, and how we can prevent that from happening.

And what happened on the 6th is part of a larger problem in the country of the rise of far right extremism.  And we should spend our time focused on that.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, someone in connection with all this, David, your column today in The New York Times, you carry, frankly, a sobering warning about what's happened to Republicans since President Trump left office.

Spell out a little of what you're seeing and what your concern is.

David Brooks:  Yes, well, some of us had hopes that, when Trump was not spewing hate from the Oval Office, life would calm down.

In fact, the Republican Party has grown more radical, more radical in a specific way.  It's become more catastrophically pessimistic.  In one poll, people were asked, do you think politics is for policies or do you think it's for national survival?  More than 50 percent of Trump voters think it's about national survival.  Only 19 percent think government is about policies.

In another survey question, people said, which of these two comments do more agree with, [1] it's a big beautiful world filled with people who are mostly good, or [2] our lives are threatened by criminals, terrorists and illegal aliens, immigrants?  Seventy-five percent of Biden voters supported big beautiful world, 66 percent of Trump voters supported our lives are at threat.

And so here's a group of people who feel the very existence of the country they know is threatened and they have to armor up.  They have to get violent.  They have to prepare for the coming conflagration.

And that's just a horribly pessimistic mentality in a country where democracy depends on us having faith in each other and having some sense of psychic security.  And so that deep, deep pessimism is, I'm afraid, radicalizing the party, and ongoing.

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan, thoughts on that?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, I read David's column, and I thought it was terrific.

And it is a sobering warning for the rest of the country.  What has happened to the Republican Party, it's terrible for governance, but it's also terrible for the direction that the country is going in, especially a country that is changing demographically as quickly as the United States.

We are not going to be able to hold the enterprise that is America together as long as one of the two major parties in this country, (one) doesn't govern, and, (two) gives voice to and gives cover for domestic terrorists, racism, and the perpetuation of white supremacy.

We will not survive if that is the way the Republican Party will remain.

Judy Woodruff:  Sobering ending to this conversation.

David, we thank you.  And, Jonathan, we thank you.

Jonathan Capehart:  Thanks, Judy.

David Brooks:  Thank you, too, Judy.

MEMORIAM - 5 Wonderful People Lost to COVID-19

"Looking back at the lives of 5 wonderful people lost to COVID-19PBS NewsHour 4/23/2021


SUMMARY:  Every Friday, we take a moment to remember five people lost to COVID-19.  Here are their stories.

NATIVE AMERICANS - And the American Rescue Plan

"Why Native Americans are excited about the American Rescue Plan, and their futurePBS NewsHour 4/23/2021


SUMMARY:  Last month, Congress approved a record amount of money for Native American tribes in the American Rescue Plan.  On Friday, First Lady Jill Biden spent the second of two days meeting with Navajo officials and hearing about their needs, after a devastating COVID-19 outbreak on the Navajo Nation last year.  Stephanie Sy reports on what the future could look like for indigenous Americans.

BIDEN'S DREAM - An Electric Future

"Biden’s dream of an electric future faces an uphill battle.  Here’s whyPBS NewsHour 4/23/2021


SUMMARY:  As part of his administration's broader climate change strategy, President Joe Biden has made investing in electric vehicles a major focus of his infrastructure proposal.  And this week, he's promoted the importance of technological innovation at a global climate summit.  But as William Brangham reports, there are still many barriers to those vehicles becoming widespread.

NEWSHOUR CANVAS - "It Was Like Freedom"

"‘It was like freedom:’ How a camp for disabled children changed livesPBS NewsHour 4/22/2021


SUMMARY:   PBS NewsHour 4/22/2021


SUMMARY:  Can summer camp change the world?  The documentary “Crip Camp” makes the case that one particular camp impacted the lives not only of the young people there but the culture at large, through the fight for disability rights.  The film, from the production company of Barack and Michelle Obama, is vying for an Oscar this Sunday.  Jeffrey Brown has a look for our arts and culture series, CANVAS.

INDIA - Highest Global Single-Day COVID-19

"Modi punts responsibility to states as India records highest global single day infectionsPBS NewsHour 4/22/2021

aka 'The Pointing Finger game' (it's not my fault)


SUMMARY:  This week, India set grim and global new high records Thursday with 315,000 cases in just 24 hours and another 2,100 deaths — the highest one day number of new COVID-19 infections of any nation since the pandemic began.  The country's already stressed health care system is overwhelmed.  Amna Nawaz speaks to epidemiologist Ramanan Laxminarayan about the situation and the Indian government's response.

CLIMATE CHANGE - President Biden's Goals

"U.S. seeks to lead by example with emission goals set during global climate summitPBS NewsHour 4/22/2021


SUMMARY:  The United States set ambitious new goals today to stop the world from heating up, urging other nations to follow suit.  And some of the world’s largest carbon emitters seemed to heed the call.  But world leaders left open how they would get there as they met in a virtual gathering.  William Brangham has our report.



"Has the U.S. set realistic goals to combat climate change? A climate scientist weighs inPBS NewsHour 4/22/2021


SUMMARY:  To discuss the ambitions of the climate summit and the very real challenges to President Joe Biden's plans, we're joined by Michael Mann, a climate scientist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Penn State University.  He's the author of, "The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet."  This reporting is part of the international journalism collaborative called "Covering Climate Now."

CRITICAL CARE - America vs the World

NOTE:  U.S. healthcare costs are considerably higher than other countries as a share of GDP, among other measures.  According to the OECD, U.S. healthcare costs in 2015 were 16.9% GDP, over 5% GDP higher than the next most expensive OECD country.  A gap of 5% GDP represents $1 trillion, about $3,000 per person or one-third higher relative to the next most expensive country.

The high cost of health care in the United States is attributed variously to technological advance, administration costs, drug pricing, suppliers charging more for medical equipment, the receiving of more medical care than people in other countries, the high wages of doctors, government regulations, the impact of lawsuits, and third party payment systems insulating consumers from the full cost of treatments.  The lowest prices for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and payments to physicians are in government plans.  Americans tend to receive more medical care than people do in other countries, which is a notable contributor to higher costs.  In the United States, a person is more likely to receive open heart surgery after a heart attack than in other countries.  Medicaid pays less than Medicare for many prescription drugs due to the fact Medicaid discounts are set by law, whereas Medicare prices are negotiated by private insurers and drug companies.  Government plans often pay less than overhead, resulting in healthcare providers shifting the cost to the privately insured through higher prices.  - Wikipedia

"The U.S. spends nearly $4 trillion on health care, but inequities still exist.  Here’s why.PBS NewsHour 4/21/2021


SUMMARY:  The U.S. spends nearly $4 trillion on health care, yet inequities in care continue to persist.  With 30 million Americans uninsured during the pandemic, is universal health care the answer?  William Brangham explores the matter in our new documentary, "Critical Care: America vs. The World."  He joins Judy Woodruff to preview and discuss the special.

RUSSIA - Putin and Protests

"Why Navalny poses a special challenge to Putin’s leadershipPBS NewsHour 4/21/2021

My answer:  Putin is a tinpot dictator on the payroll of Oligarchs, does not care about the Russian people, and Navalny is a very big threat."


SUMMARY:  Across Russia Wednesday, protesters took to the streets in support of the jailed — and critically ill — opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  They denounced the man they blame for his imprisonment, President Vladimir Putin.  Amna Nawaz discusses the latest with Celeste Wallander, who was the senior director for Russia and Eurasia on the National Security Council staff under the Obama administration.

COVERING CLIMATE NOW - Sustainable Aviation Fuels

"Greener skies: How sustainable aviation fuel could help stem airplane emissionsPBS NewsHour 4/20/2021


SUMMARY:  Air travel is picking up steadily as more Americans get vaccinated.  While that's good news for the industry, it's bad news for climate change prevention efforts.  Miles O'Brien looks at efforts to reduce airplane emissions and help airlines fly greener skies, with reporting done in tandem with the international journalism project called, "Covering Climate Now," and co-produced by PBS NOVA.

VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES - Transformed by Walter Mondale (1928 - 2021)

"From figurehead to partner: How Walter Mondale transformed the office of Vice PresidentPBS NewsHour 4/20/2021


SUMMARY:  Former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away Monday night at his home in Minneapolis.  He was a lifelong public servant who transformed the role of Vice President, and championed civil rights under Jimmy Carter before losing his own run for the presidency to Ronald Reagan.  William Brangham has this look at Mondale's life and legacy.



"Al Gore on how Walter Mondale made the Vice President’s role a ‘substantive partnership’PBS NewsHour 4/20/2021


SUMMARY:  Former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away Monday night at the age of 93.  He was a lifelong public servant who transformed the role of Vice President, and championed civil rights under President Jimmy Carter.  For more on the way he changed the role of Vice President and his political legacy, we are joined by another former Vice President Al Gore.

NASA MARS 2020 - Ingenuity on Mars

"Ingenuity’s flight on Mars rings in a new era of aviationPBS NewsHour 4/19/2021


SUMMARY:  NASA has made plenty of history with space flights to MarsBut on Monday began a new chapter: It flew on Mars for the first time using an experimental helicopter, Ingenuity.  Miles O'Brien takes us out of this world.

AMERICAN SIKHS - Courageous Vulnerability

Note that one of the Sikh beliefs is they must support the community (town, state, federal) and the law.  Which is why the British Army in India had so many in their ranks.

"‘Courageous vulnerability’: Sikhs reflect on targeted attacks after FedEx shootingPBS NewsHour 4/19/2021


SUMMARY:  We take a moment to remember the lives lost in the recent FedEx shooting.  While we still don't know about the suspect's motive, half of those killed were Sikhs.  The Sikh community, which has grown over many years in the Indianapolis area, is in mourning.  Simran Jeet Singh a senior fellow at the Sikh Coalition who is connected to the Indianapolis community, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

GUNS IN AMERICA - Gun Violence Soars

A partial solution, declare the NRA a Domestic Terrorist Organization.

"Exploring why gun violence has soared during the pandemic, and how to combat itPBS NewsHour 4/19/2021


SUMMARY:  The nation is convulsed again by a new spasm of shootings, as police in three states investigated weekend attacks on the heels of Friday's bloodbath in Indianapolis.  Gun violence in America has remained high throughout the pandemic.  By some early estimates, 2020 is one of the worst years for homicides in recent times.  Amna Nawaz speaks to The Trace's Champe Barton about efforts to change gun laws.

DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL - Guilty on All Charges and the Reverberations

"Here’s what happened during closing arguments in the Derek Chauvin trialPBS NewsHour 4/19/2021


SUMMARY:  Monday saw the closing arguments in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.  The verdict to come is being closely watched in Minnesota and other cities around the country — many of them braced for protests, marches and potential unrest.  Special correspondent Fred De Sam Lazaro reports on the final case made Monday by prosecutors and Chauvin's defense.



"Jubilant crowds take to the streets to celebrate guilty verdict in Chauvin trialPBS NewsHour 4/20/2021


SUMMARY:  Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murder and manslaughter.  A panel of six white and six Black or multi-racial jurors convicted him on all three charges Tuesday afternoon.  Floyd's death last May ignited a wave of public protests that rocked the nation -- and Tuesday's verdict set off celebrations outside the courthouse in Minneapolis.



"‘Sigh of relief:’ Saint Paul Mayor says Chauvin verdict a welcome sign of accountabilityPBS NewsHour 4/20/2021


SUMMARY:  Amna Nawaz takes a closer look now, at how the nation, and, in particular, how African American communities across the country, are dealing with the jury's decision.  Melvin Carter is the Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, which, along with its neighbor, Minneapolis, form the state's "Twin Cities."  He is the first African American to hold that office, and joins us to discuss the verdict.



"How the Chauvin verdict could become a ‘defining moment’ for future policingPBS NewsHour 4/19/2021

What this SHOULD mean is an end to automatic immunity for law enforcement.  If they break the law they should be held accountable.


SUMMARY:  To discuss the trial and verdict of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, Judy Woodruff is joined by Chuck Wexler the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, and Janai Nelson the Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.



"Floyd’s supporters hope to see systemic change emerge from guilty verdict in Chauvin trialPBS NewsHour 4/20/2021


SUMMARY:  White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor has been following Derek Chauvin's trial in the murder of George Floyd and brings us the reaction on Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C.



"George Floyd’s family vows to ‘keep fighting’ for just policing after Chauvin verdictPBS NewsHour 4/20/2021


SUMMARY:  After a Minneapolis jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd, President Joe Biden spoke with the Floyd family over the phone.  While happy with the verdict, the family vowed to continue efforts towards bringing systemic change in policing.



"Philonise Floyd calls for racial solidarity, end to qualified immunity for policePBS NewsHour 4/21/2021


SUMMARY:  George Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd, as well as the Floyd family attorney, Benjamin Crump, join Yamiche Alcindor to discuss the much-awaited verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, what it means to the family, and what changes they want to see in policing going forward.



"Reimagining public safety: What police reform could look like after Chauvin trialPBS NewsHour 4/21/2021


SUMMARY:  To discuss what the process of bringing reform to policing could look like, Judy Woodruff is joined by Alexis Karteron, an associate professor of law and Director of the Constitutional Rights Clinic at Rutgers University, and Tracie Keesee a 25-year Denver Police veteran and co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity.



"What is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act? Breaking down the bill and oppositionPBS NewsHour 4/21/2021


SUMMARY:  The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives in February, but has yet to receive a vote in the evenly-split Senate.  Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff with an update on where things stand.



"Examining the police shootings of Black Americans and how leadership plays a rolePBS NewsHour 4/22/2021


SUMMARY:  While the guilty verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin brought celebration to the streets of Minneapolis, people also came together today to mourn Daunte Wright, and demand justice for other recent police shootings involving Black Americans.  John Yang speaks to local reporters about the country's reaction to this moment of accountability in a long history of unanswered calls for justice.