Monday, June 21, 2021


USN TO NASA - Kayla Barron

"She Was a Pioneering Navy Submarine Officer.  Now She's Headed to Space" by Karli Goldenberg, 6/18/2021

Lt. Cmdr. Kayla Barron, one of the first women to serve on a Navy submarine, is now one step closer to being one of the first women to walk on the Moon.

Barron, 33, who commissioned as a Navy officer in 2010, was selected by NASA out of a pool of approximately 18,000 people to join the 2017 astronaut candidate class.

Barron is no stranger to firsts.  When the Navy first began the process of integrating women into submarine crews in 2010, during her senior year at the Naval Academy, Barron became a member of the first class of women commissioned into the submarine community.

"I think I've been lucky to be in the right place at the right time for some of these big changes, the submarine force being a great example.  They opened the community to women during my senior year at the Naval Academy, allowing me to volunteer to serve in that community," Barron said.

She would ultimately serve on the Ohio-class ballistic submarine Maine, where she'd complete three patrols in the job of division officer.

For her first spaceflight, Barron will serve as a mission specialist for the SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station.  The mission is slated for launch "no earlier than Sunday Oct.  31," according to a NASA Commercial Crew Program post.

In addition to the upcoming SpaceX Crew-3 mission this fall, Barron is also set to take part in NASA's Artemis program, which aims to "send the first woman and next man to the Moon" by 2024.

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For Barron, though, it's not about being the first, it's about striving for her personal best.

"I don't think I really like to latch onto being the first," she said.  "For me, I want to find the opportunities that will be the most challenging, the most developmental and will allow me to serve in the best way I can given what I think I can bring to the table."

Barron, who still serves on active duty in the Navy, said her service with the submarine force gave her the confidence to apply to be an astronaut.

"My experiences on the submarine were really formative, and were ultimately what gave me the confidence to even think that I could apply at all to become an astronaut, let alone eventually become one," she said.

Following two years of training to build basic skills and create a strong foundation for astronaut candidates, including Survival, Evasion, Resistant and Escape, or SERE, training with the Navy in Redington, Maine, Barron became a NASA astronaut.

"I definitely rely on my experience from the submarine force, every single day in my role at NASA," Barron said.  She had a breakthrough in conceptualizing space, she said., when she started thinking of the space station like a submarine.

"The parallels are really endless," she said.  "In my opinion, just like you can imagine, you know human beings trying to live and work in an environment where human beings aren't supposed to live and work, whether that's under the surface of the ocean or in the vacuum of space.  So you face a lot of really similar challenges."

As one of two submariners in the astronaut office, Barron said she brings unique experience and an "operational mindset" to the upcoming mission.

"It really takes ... an understanding of how to bring everybody's knowledge, experience and skill sets to the table in order to make strong decisions operationally that not only keep everyone safe but also accomplish all the goals you're trying to make," Barron said.  "Really understanding how to bring that team together is something that I really think I can contribute to our mission, that operational understanding and experience."

As Barron continues her work as an astronaut, she said that she is particularly inspired by the women who paved the way for her.

"Here at NASA, we walk the halls with our heroes," she said.  "They're amazing women who were the first to command a space shuttle or the first woman to command the space station.  It feels like I'm just a part of that lineage and I'm really standing on the shoulders of people who've paved the way in order for me to be there.  I've just felt really lucky that people have seen the value and my experience and perspective and have really given me the opportunity to challenge myself and continue to grow in these various environments."

Thursday, June 17, 2021

US NAVY - Subs Flying The Jolly Roger

"Why Some Submarines Return to Port Flying Pirate Flags" by Blake Stilwell, 6/16/2021

When the USS Jimmy Carter sailed into its home port in Washington state in September 2017, it was flying an unusual flag: the distinctive skull and crossbones of a Jolly Roger.

There’s no telling exactly what the Jimmy Carter was doing at sea, as its missions are probably among the most closely guarded secrets in the U.S. Navy, but submarines fly those pirate flags when they return from a mission after some kind of “operational action.”

While no one outside of the crew can tell you what that “operational action” entailed, the history of Western submarines flying the Jolly Roger upon a successful return is a funny bit of history.

Submarines haven’t always been an accepted part of naval warfare.  When they first became a viable technology, some old sailors thought they were a less-than-gentlemanly act of war.  They compared the idea of silently striking the enemy from under the waves to an act of piracy.

Whether the old salts liked it or not, submarines were here to stay.  And as if to prove you can’t just call sailors anything you happen to find derogatory, those early submariners adopted the pirate theme and made it their own.

Sir Arthur Wilson was the first sea lord of England’s Royal Navy when submarines entered active service.  He was a great naval officer and Victoria Cross recipient while at sea.  But by land, even as first sea lord, Wilson wasn’t impressing anyone.  He’s mostly remembered for a short tenure, marked mostly by being a loud crank.

No matter how cranky Wilson was, he was still in charge.  If he thought submarines were a dirty way of fighting, one would think he’d ax the program.  Instead, he did the opposite, actually promoting the use of submarines as a future for the Royal Navy.

Being the first sea lord that no one seemed to like might have been the reason he gets credited for saying submarines were “underhanded, unfair and damned un-English.”  There’s no actual proof he said this, but history isn’t kind to unlikable people.

What Wilson did say about submarines came long before he was the one making the decisions for the navy, because it also flies in the face of what he actually did as first sea lord:

“They’ll never be any use in war and I’ll tell you why.  I’m going to get the First Lord to announce that we intend to treat all submarines as pirate vessels in wartime and that we’ll hang all the crews.”

When World War I broke out in 1914, the Royal Navy’s submarines got its first taste of naval combat.  A contemporary of Wilson’s, Lt. Cmdr. Max Horton was out to sea aboard one of England’s earliest submarines, the HMS E9.  Horton and the E9 were off the coast of German islands in the North Sea when they came upon the German light cruiser Hela.

Horton torpedoes Hela from 600 yards, and the cruiser was soon at the bottom of the sea.  The E9 evaded German anti-submarine efforts for the entire voyage back to safer waters, but once it arrived back in port, Horton hoisted a large Jolly Roger flag, a nod to Wilson’s threat of hanging his triumphant crew.

For every subsequent enemy he sunk, Horton intended to raise another pirate flag, but he ran out of room.  Instead, he increased the size of his boat’s Jolly Roger and started adding symbols and other information to denote the submarine’s victories, similar to how airmen marked their kills on the nose of an aircraft.

Thus, a new tradition for submarines was born.  By World War II, the practice not only grew, but pirate flags actually were issued to submarine crews.  Submariners from Allied nations also joined in on the practice and have flown their Jolly Rogers ever since.

While some of the markings on these pirate flags are self-explanatory, others will be known only to the crew.  When the Jimmy Carter returned to its Washington port flying one, there was a symbol on the flag -- but good luck finding out what that means.

Monday, June 14, 2021

CANVAS - Tristan Eaton

"Street artist and designer Tristan Eaton’s global canvasPBS NewsHour 6/12/2021


SUMMARY:  Next month the Long Beach Museum of Art in Southern California will open “All At Once,” a 25-year retrospective on the work of artist Tristan Eaton.  Described as an urban pop artist, Eaton's work moves between guerrilla street art, commercial design, civic installation and fine art.  NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker recently spoke with Eaton about his life, work, and living outside conventions.

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 6/11/2021

"Brooks and Capehart on Biden at the G-7 summit, the Justice Department under TrumpPBS NewsHour 6/11/2021

SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including President Biden at the G-7 summit, the Justice Department under the Trump administration, and how redistricting will impact the nation's political makeup.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.  That is New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Jonathan Capehart, columnist for The Washington Post.

And they are in person here with me.

David Brooks, New York Times:  We're here.


Judy Woodruff:  I can touch you.  Actually, you're in the studio.  This is exciting.  I have got to figure out how I'm going to get through this conversation.


David Brooks:  It's so weird to be doing it while wearing shoes.


David Brooks:  Unusual.


Judy Woodruff:  Exactly, instead of our house slippers.

So much to talk about.

And, Jonathan, let's just quickly pick up with where Dan Bush left off.

Texas, really important decision for them to make about these new districts.  They have got to figure out how to draw those lines.  What is at stake?  With the Congress so evenly divided, what's at stake here?

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  What's at stake is the majority for the Congress, whether the — excuse me — whether the Democrats will maintain their very slim majority or, as a result of redistricting, not just in Texas, but around the country, whether the lines will be drawn in such a way that gives an advantage to Republicans going into the 2022 midterms before a vote has even been cast.

And, you know, with Texas, the influx of people, the population growing, a lot of them in the urban centers that went for Democratic candidates, and yet the way the districts can be drawn, that voting power very well might end up resulting in districts that would be drawn for Republicans to do better in.

Judy Woodruff:  So, what — how can Democrats counter this, David?  How do you see this shaking out, given what's going on in…

David Brooks:  Yes, I think prayer would help.


David Brooks:  You know, I think the Democrats I talk to want to maintain the House.  They don't expect to.

Jonathan Capehart:  Yes.

David Brooks:  As I would — they would — somebody said, it would take a miracle.

Miracles could happen.  And it could happen.  But in midterm elections, when one party controls both houses of Congress and the White House, then their records in these first midterms tends to be terrible.

And then there's the population shift, which we have been hearing about.  That, by itself, is probably enough to get the Republicans four or five, six, seven seats.  And then there's the redrawing of the lines.  And Republicans just control a lot more state legislatures.

Now, I should say, I'm more focused on population shifts than on gerrymandering, because, while I think these lines, these — the legislatures draw our gross and unwieldy, and it's the politicians selecting the voters, I don't think the effect is that big.

In the middle of the 20th century, you had a big effect where Democrats had a natural advantage, because of the way they drew the lines.  Then, in the early 20th century, the Republicans had a pretty big effect, maybe 20 more seats than you would think from their vote totals.

But, recently, it's been a pretty small effect.  It's been in the single digits.  So — and that's in part because half the states, it's not partisanly drawn.  And so…

Judy Woodruff:  For different reasons.

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, what we have happening here is, it's not just redistricting.  We have what I call a perfect storm brewing.

You have got redistricting, on top of voter laws that have been voted into Georgia, Florida.  Texas, Democrats did a dramatic move to keep their law from going into effect, but a special session will be called, and those laws might well go through.  Iowa.  Arizona.

And so those laws being put in place.  Democrats call them voter suppression laws.  They will keep people, primarily Black and brown people, the young, from getting out to vote.  Not every — not every eligible voter will be able to vote and not — every legally cast vote might not be counted.  And that's what's at danger — in danger as well.

Judy Woodruff:  And all this getting more attention.  Usually, we're waiting for census data, waiting to see what each state does, certainly in the spotlight.

Let's turn, David, to our lead tonight.  And that is President Biden in Europe meeting with the British prime minister, meeting with his counterparts in the so-called G7.

What is — why does this trip matter for him?  What does he need to do?

David Brooks:  Well, he needs to show that America is back.  And he — and back and cooperating with people.  And I have traveled on delegations he's made to Munich to the Security Conference they have there.  And what you see is, he's on first-name basis with everybody, like, with the world leaders, with the doormen in the hotel.  He's been doing it for so long.  And so I think there's a little of that personal diplomacy.

And I think they're proud of the fact they got this vaccine thing done.  I spoke to a White House official today.  And they said the last four weeks have really been a sprint to get this, so we could offer half-a-billion vaccines and get our allies to another…

Judy Woodruff:  Huge number.

David Brooks:  ....  another half-a-billion.

And that will all be done by the middle of the next year.  And so they are surprised they could get to this.  They thought we would not be in a state where we had so many vaccines, we would have enough to buy and then share with the world.  And I think they want to show that we're in the generosity business again, and that America can be a generous nation in the world, a little Marshall Plan.

And I think they'd love to get to a spot where it's not a nation-by-nation fight against COVID.  It's a little more of an interdependent global fight against COVID.  And so they're pleased with that.

They are under no illusions that American-European relations are going to go back to the way they used to be in the Cold War.  That's not going to happen.  But they're very pleased, and I think legitimately so.

Judy Woodruff:  How do you see the way — what is at stake for Biden and his agenda here and globally?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, I think, to your point, the President knows all of these people.  He was a senator for 36 years, Vice President for eight years.

Yes, he is on a first-name basis.  His mantra is, America is back.  But there's a piece in, I think it was The Times of London asking the question, OK, but do the words match the deeds?

And I do think that there's some skepticism in Europe about whether the President's focus on China, whether that's taking attention away from them, whether the President, President Biden, is continuing former President Trump's policies vis-a-vis China.  Think of tariffs.

Judy Woodruff:  Yes.

Jonathan Capehart:  And then other things that Vice President Biden is doing that former President Trump talked about, withdrawing from Afghanistan.

So I think what we're seeing, yes, it's not going to go back to the way it was.  And I do think that the world now is, like, they're happy the United States is back in the fold, but I think they have figured out over the last four years, we can't really depend on the United States, especially when it comes to — President Biden's mantra is also democracy.  We have to show that democracy works.

But those world leaders are watching what we're doing here, the last conversation we had about voting rights.  How can you have a democracy if voting rights are at risk?

Judy Woodruff:  So, it's — David, it's the pandemic that has shifted the landscape, of course, but it's also the Trump — the four years of Donald Trump.

David Brooks:  Yes, PTSD, they have got, whatever, post-traumatic Trump is.


David Brooks:  They wonder if this four years is an interregnum, and that Trump will be back.  They wonder if a Trump-like figure will be back.

And so they — there's some sense America's fundamentally less stable.  And then we are more America first.  I mean, Biden is not as America first as Trump was, but you look at our purchasing decisions as a government, it's America first.  And we're just living in a world where multilateral cooperation is less emphasized, frankly, from a lot of countries all at once.

And that has just been a trend of the last 25 years, as nationalism has become a stronger force in the world and across the West and in Asia.  And, somehow, there's just been a deterioration in our willingness to cooperate on a whole range of fronts.

Judy Woodruff:  Harder, in other words.

Jonathan, I hear you saying this is harder than one might have expected coming out of Trump and — President Trump and assuming everything's going to be easier for President Biden globally.

Jonathan Capehart:  Right, harder.

But I think, from President Biden's perspective, for someone who knows all of these people, I think he's counting on and banking on the fact that those relationships will help smooth over some of the harder things that they have to deal with.

And you know what?  If I were President Biden, I would think that my chances, my odds were good, not great, but good.

David Brooks:  We have been on a lot of calls with Biden administration officials, and they're weirdly normal.  It's like democracy is in crisis, the world's falling apart.


David Brooks:  But they're like as if it's like 1955.  It's like, no, no, no, everything — we will cooperate, we will compromise, we will have these civil discussions.

And I don't know if they're just putting that face on that we live in a normal world anymore, but they're very normal.

Jonathan Capehart:  I think they would probably say — yes, they are very normal.

But I what I take from that is, you know what?  These are people who are competent.  They have been in these jobs before.  They know what the pitfalls are.  And they also know that everything is on fire, but at least they know the terrain.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, speaking of everything being on fire, David, in the last few days, we have learned that the Trump administration was trying in a number of ways that we find now surprising to seize data from not just journalists — and that's been in the news — but Democratic members of Congress, going after their cell phone records, the data, and their family members, even children.

We have now got an investigation under way.  What does this tell us about what was going on under President Trump?

David Brooks:  Yes, the Trump Justice Department keeps looking worse and worse, even more — worse than it was when it was in office.

When there's a leak of confidential information, there's going to be an investigation.  We understand that.  But they tried an investigation.  They didn't dig up anything on the people they wanted to get, Adam Schiff and people like that.

And so they relaunched another investigation using extremely aggressive means.  And prosecutors or investigators have some discretion over how aggressive they're going to be.  And I would say they got so aggressive, not only so aggressive, that it's super invasive to those of us in the media and people in Congress.

But it just looks like a political witch-hunt.  And Donald Trump is out there in public saying Adam Schiff should be investigated.  And, lo and behold, the people in the Justice Department take political orders.  And that's not what they're supposed to do.  The Justice Department, it's never pure, but it's always supposed to be a step removed from politics, so we have some sense of justice.

Judy Woodruff:  Is this something, Jonathan, that President Trump can be held accountable for, ultimately?  I mean…

Jonathan Capehart:  I mean, that, I don't know.  I mean, I really don't know.  I can't see — as much as everyone — and I shouldn't say everyone — a lot of Democrats and people who had a lot of problems with Donald Trump, they would love to be able to say, oh, this is what's going to take them down, meaning send him to jail, hold him accountable.

I'm not sure.  But, again, I'm not surprised.  It's sort of like you're shocked, but you're not shocked, because we watched this in real time.  The one thing about Donald Trump, he allowed our imaginations to go wild, because, if you let them go wild, you actually kind of know what's happening.

And this story, to my mind, is that situation of, when you're imagining — when reality catches up with your imagination.

Judy Woodruff:  He was publicly going after Adam Schiff.

Jonathan Capehart:  Right.

Judy Woodruff:  He was speaking about him, tweeting about him.  Eric Swalwell.  Well, I mean, these are — but to be using your Justice Department, the Justice Department that belongs to the American people, this way…

Jonathan Capehart:  Look, I would hope, I would hope, if proof is found that he directly ordered the Attorney General to do these things, then, absolutely, he should be held accountable.

But I don't see — I just don't see it happening at this point right now, given what we know.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, one thing's for sure.  We are thrilled that the two of you are here in the studio.


Judy Woodruff:  And I know everybody watching is too.

Jonathan Capehart, David Brooks, thank you.


David Brooks:  It's good to be with you, Judy.


Judy Woodruff:  Thank you both.  Really good to see you both.  Thank you.

CANVAS - Street Art in Northern Ireland

"Street art, politics, and violence intersect in Northern IrelandPBS NewsHour 6/11/2021


SUMMARY:  Street artists in Belfast, Northern Ireland maintain a tradition of painting murals with a message, as they did during the 30-year conflict between Catholic Republicans and Protestants loyal to the British crown.  But they're now speaking out in an effort to repel renewed sectarian violence driven by Britain’s.

CHINA - An Elephant Trek

"An endangered elephant herd is taking a mysterious trek in China.  Are humans to blame?PBS NewsHour 6/11/2021


SUMMARY:  It’s not a sight you see every day -- a herd of elephants, leaving their home turf, making their way through southwestern China, most recently stopping in a city with millions of residents.  But that’s what’s happening right now.  William Brangham looks at their mysterious trek, and why they might have hit the road.

MEMORIAM - Americans Lost Their Lives to COVID-19

"Honoring 5 extraordinary Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19PBS NewsHour 6/11/2021


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

AIDS - After 40 Years

"After 40 years of AIDS, progress has been made but major problems remainPBS NewsHour 6/10/2021


SUMMARY:  Four decades ago this past week, the first ever cases of the HIV/AIDS epidemic were publicly noted, and hardly noticed.  But soon after, cases exploded around the world.  It's estimated that roughly 35 million people have died from AIDS in the years since.  William Brangham reports and speaks with two people deeply immersed in the issue for a look back at the epidemic and the best way forward.

MASTERCARD FOUNDATION - $1.3 Billion Donation

"Mastercard Foundation gives $1.3 billion to boost vaccinations in AfricaPBS NewsHour 6/9/2021


SUMMARY:  In one of the largest private sector donations of its kind, the Mastercard Foundation announced it will give $1.3 billion over the next three years to vaccinate 50 million people in Africa.  Fewer than 2 percent of the people there have gotten a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, far lower than many wealthy countries.  Ajay Banga Mastercard's Executive Chairman, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

VOTER SUPPRESSION LAWS - Republican States Make a Run For One-Party Rule

"Wave of new voting laws raises questions about voter access and integrityPBS NewsHour 6/9/2021


SUMMARY:  Since the 2020 election, laws restricting voter access passed in 14 states across the U.S., all with Republican-controlled state legislatures.  They've sparked outrage from voting rights groups and from two former co-chairs of the Presidential Election Commission.  Democrat Bob Bauer who served under the Obama campaign, and Ben Ginsberg a Republican election lawyer, join Judy Woodruff to discuss.



"Texas increasingly at odds with the Biden administration on critical issuesPBS NewsHour 6/10/2021


SUMMARY:  The past legislative session in Texas focused on key conservative priorities, from restricting abortion to addressing transgender rights.  The Lone Star State is now focused on a voting bill that would tighten election laws, after missing an opportunity to get it passed late last month.  Political reporter Daniel Bush joins Judy Woodruff from Austin with more.


"Can structural reforms in Central America stem migration to the U.S.?PBS NewsHour 6/8/2021


SUMMARY:  Vice President Kamala Harris wrapped up her first international trip in Mexico on Tuesday, a day after stopping in Guatemala, in a bid to stem migration to the U.S. from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.  Nick Schifrin looks at Harris's trip and the thorny issues she and the Biden Administration are trying to manage.



"Biden to reengage with allies and meet adversaries in first overseas trip as PresidentPBS NewsHour 6/9/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden landed in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, the first stop on his three-nation European trip.  The President will begin by meeting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Thursday, then the three-day G-7 summit that begins Friday in southwest England.  Yamiche Alcindor is traveling with the President, and joins Judy Woodruff from Plymouth with more.



"Biden begins a week of diplomacy, pledges 500 million vaccine doses to poorer countriesPBS NewsHour 6/10/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden on Thursday kicked off his week of diplomacy in a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of the beginning of the G-7 summit Friday.  Biden also announced a significant step by his administration that he said would “supercharge” the global fight against COVID-19.  Yamiche Alcindor, who is traveling with the President, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.



"How fast can the U.S. deliver hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses globally?PBS NewsHour 6/10/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden on Thursday announced a plan to donate more than 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to nearly 100 poorer countries around the world that he described as "a monumental commitment by the American people."  Jeff Zients, the White House COVID response coordinator, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.



"Biden meets with G-7 leaders to discuss global vaccinations, taxes on world’s wealthiestPBS NewsHour 6/11/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden joined leaders of the world's top economic democratic nations Friday for the start of the three-day G-7 meeting in southwest England.  On the agenda are global taxes, trade and the fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic.  White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, who is traveling with the President, joins Judy Woodruff from Plymouth, England to discuss.




"‘America is back’: Biden heads for NATO summit after a successful G-7PBS NewsHour 6/13/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden flew to Brussels for the NATO summit after wrapping up the G-7 in the UK.  At a news conference Sunday, he talked about the G-7’s plan to donate a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally and an agreement amongst the nations to hold China accountable for human rights violations and some trade practices.  NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, who is traveling with the President, joins for more.

UNITED STATES VS CHINA - Countering China's Influence

"Efforts to counter China’s growing influence draw broad support in CongressPBS NewsHour 6/8/2021


SUMMARY:  The Biden administration announced it's taking a series of steps to ensure the U.S. had secure access to key products, many of which are manufactured overseas, as the U.S. Senate is poised to pass sweeping bipartisan legislation intended to address competition with Chinese technology.  Nick Schifrin joins Stephanie Sy to discuss.

THE CAPITOL INSURRECTION - Congressional Report and Related

"Congressional report details security failures during U.S. Capitol attackPBS NewsHour 6/8/2021


SUMMARY:  The first congressional report detailing what went wrong on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol was released on Tuesday.  The 128-page bipartisan Senate document recounts significant intelligence and security failures leading up to and on the day of the attack - as well as a list of recommendations.  Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to walk us through the details.



"Sen. Klobuchar: ‘There was just no preparation’ for Jan 6 insurrectionPBS NewsHour 6/8/2021


SUMMARY:  Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D] chairs the rules committee that released Tuesday’s bipartisan Senate report on the security failures surrounding the Capitol insurrection in a joint effort with a Homeland Security committee.  She joins Judy Woodruff to discuss some of the findings of the report.



"U.S. Capitol Police officer gives firsthand account of Jan 6 attackPBS NewsHour 6/9/2021


SUMMARY:  A day after the release of a Senate report detailing the widespread security failures in the Jan 6 Capitol riot, we spoke with one of the police officers on the scene that day.  Officer James Blassingame, a 17-year veteran of the Capitol Police who is involved in a civil lawsuit against former President Trump, joins Lisa Desjardins to discuss his experiences when a violent mob stormed the Capitol.


"An argument against free community college tuitionPBS NewsHour 6/8/2021


SUMMARY:  Seventeen states in the U.S. now offer free community college tuition, and existing programs cover tuition for many students.  But President Biden wants to make that happen nationwide.  This week we'll explore both sides of the debate over free community college and Biden's plan, beginning with former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.



"Why this former U.S. education secretary believes community college should be freePBS NewsHour 6/9/2021


SUMMARY:  This week, we heard the case against President Biden's plan to create free tuition for community college students nationwide.  And now, we hear from John King, former U.S. Secretary of Education under President Obama, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to be Maryland’s next governor.  He joins Judy Woodruff to discuss why he believes community college should be free.

FDA - Approval of Alzheimer’s Drug Question

"Why the FDA approved a controversial Alzheimer’s drugPBS NewsHour 6/7/2021


SUMMARY:  The FDA on Monday approved the first new drug to treat Alzheimer's disease in nearly two decades.  Federal health officials said it may help slow the brain-destroying disease's progression, but the approval goes against the agency's independent advisers who said the treatment wasn't effective in clinical trials.  Pam Belluck, health reporter for The New York Times, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

INDIGENOUS TRIBES - 'David vs Goliath'

IMHO:  'Indigenous Tribes' are considered 'nations' but the USA does not really treat nor respect that designation.  We need a Constitutional Amendment making local/state/federal Eminent Domain laws NOT applicable to Tribal Lands.

"Pipeline battle brews in Minnesota between Indigenous tribes and a major oil companyPBS NewsHour 6/7/2021


SUMMARY:  A protracted stand-off between a major oil company and northern Indigenous American tribes intensified this week over the construction of a pipeline in Minnesota.  Tara Houska, an attorney, founder of the advocacy organization Giniw Collective and a member of the Couchiching First Nation, joins Stephanie Sy from the construction site where the pipeline is being built.

WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING - Betrayal of Joe Manchin (D)

How ANY democrat can oppose a law protecting Voting Rights is beyond me.  Manchin is betraying the Democratic Party and American Voters.

"Manchin’s opposition a ‘body blow’ to Democrats’ voting rights legislationPBS NewsHour 6/7/2021


SUMMARY:  The U.S. Senate has returned to work facing a crowded field of initiatives.  But West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist, may throw a wrench in his party's agenda on the issue of voting rights.  Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the legislation called the For The People Act and breaks down why Manchin opposes it.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

TRIBUTE - Memorial Day 2021

"Gone but not forgotten: A tribute to fallen American soldiersPBS NewsHour 5/31/2021


SUMMARY:  We close tonight with a special tribute to the brave soldiers who gave their lives for our country.  It comes from "The President's own" United States Marine Corps band performing "Taps," and is narrated by Judy Woodruff.

Monday, May 24, 2021

GEORGE FLOYD - On Anniversary of His Death

"George Floyd died last year.  Here’s what has changed since thenPBS NewsHour 5/23/2021


SUMMARY:  This week marks one year since George Floyd, an unarmed Black man was killed by then police officer Derek Chauvin, who held his knee on Floyd for nearly nine minutes.  His death, recorded on video by a bystander, sparked widespread protests globally, and reignited the Black Lives Matter movement and conversations around race.  NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro joins to reflect on the past year.


"How piecemeal police reform is setting the stage for national changePBS NewsHour 5/23/2021


SUMMARY:  The death of Ronald Greene, a Black man who died in Louisiana in 2019 after a police chase is under scrutiny after newly released police body camera footage shows he was choked and beaten by troopers -- a starkly different picture from what the police had shared.  Phillip Atiba Goff, co-founder and CEO of the Center for Policing Equity, and professor of African-American studies and psychology at Yale University joins to discuss the issues on renewed calls for police reform.

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 5/21/2021

"Brooks and Capehart on Israel-Hamas cease-fire, Jan 6 commissionPBS NewsHour 5/21/2021

SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Amna Nawaz to discuss the week in politics, including cease-fire in the Middle East and the Senate’s chances of establishing a commission to look into the Jan 6 insurrection.

Amna Nawaz (NewsHour):  From the impact of the Mideast cease-fire on U.S. policy, to a potential commission looking into the January 6 Capitol attack, it's a good time for the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.

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

Good to see you both.  Welcome back.  Happy Friday.

David, I want to start with you.

The President was just speaking at the White House, actually, and was asked about this latest cease-fire, asked also if there's been a shift in Democratic Party politics when it comes to the approach in Israel.

This is what he had to say:  "There is no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel, period."

David, what do you make to have the way the President has handled these last 11 days and this cease-fire?

David Brooks, New York Times:  I think he's handled it pretty well.  He's kept the U.S. out of being the center of the story.  He's learned from some of the mistakes we made in 2014, ending that Gaza war.

He was pressured to lean on Bibi and Israel to do the cease-fire or to condemn them publicly.  But, if he does that, then Bibi has to push back.  So it actually delays the cease-fire, just so Bibi can show his independence.  And if he does that, Hamas thinks, oh, Israel — U.S. is leaning on Israel, so Hamas gets more aggressive.

So, this was a case in which being a little passive and doing things in private was much more effective than they would have been to do anything in public.  And so I think the administration was wise, basically, to handle it as they did.

Amna Nawaz:  Jonathan, he was asked that question, though, because there's been growing pressure from within the party, right, from progressives like Bernie Sanders and others, to do more, in the way of standing up for the human rights of Palestinians.

But if you take a quick look at where the country is today, I want to point to some quick numbers we looked up from Gallup.  This is from a February poll, so it's before this latest conflict.  But it does show that 75 percent of Americans do have a favorable opinion of Israel.  That is up in the last 20 years by 10 points.

That same poll, though, when you're looking at the number of people saying who they think the U.S. should put more pressure on, 35 percent now think that the U.S. should put more pressure on Israel.  That number is also up; 44 percent say they should put more pressure on Palestinians.

Are you seeing any of that, Jonathan, show up in the Biden approach?

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  Well, I think — I would love to see what a poll would show today.

I think that the bombing, the Israeli Defense Forces' bombing of that high-rise building in Gaza that also housed international news organizations was a pivot point in all of this, where the private conversations that were happening took on even more urgency, and then forced the President to go even more public in terms of putting pressure on the Israeli government to do something to curb the violence.

But where — when it comes to the Democratic Party and the forces pulling back and forth, I bring up that pivot point, because Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is known in Washington as being a stalwart ally, if you will, within the United States Senate, supporter of Israel and Israel's right to defend itself.

After that bombing of that building in Gaza, Senator Menendez put out a statement that caught the White House by surprise and a lot of people by surprise by condemning or raising very serious questions about what Israel had done.

And so I think that made it possible for President Biden to be a little more, how shall we say, forceful in his conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Amna Nawaz:  Well, David, let me ask you more broadly about President Biden's approach, not just on this one issue.

You had a good chunk of time to sit down with him for a fascinating interview.  It's the subject of your latest column that's called "Has Biden Changed?  He Tells Us."

And, in it, you write right at the top:  "What happened to Joe Biden?  Many people thought he was a moderate incrementalist, but now he's promoting whopping big legislative packages that make many on the progressive left extremely happy.  The answer seems to be, it's complicated."

David, tell us about that conversation with him.  How is it complicated?

Jonathan Capehart:  Oh.

Amna Nawaz:  Oh, I believe we have lost the connection with David Brooks.  We will try to get him back in just a moment.

In the meantime, Jonathan, let me bring you back in here.

Jonathan Capehart:  Sure.

Amna Nawaz:  You have certainly read this column.

Jonathan Capehart:  Yes.

Amna Nawaz:  It's a long assessment of where President Biden is and faces this criticism of no longer being a moderate incrementalist many accused him of.

What do you make of it?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, David's column was terrific, in being able to sit down with the President, particularly this President, who he wears everything on his sleeve.

And I have been on a phone call between the President and opinion writers, including — including David, so I have — I can pretty much imagine how that conversation went.

Look, I think President Biden is sort of the President who — the man who is meeting the moment.  A lot of people wonder whether progressives have pulled the party farther to the left or are pushing the party farther to the left.  And I counter that.

And I think President Biden, by doing what he's doing, it's really that the party is catching up to the country.  You tick off any issue and ask where the American people are — and let's just take raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.  The American people want that done.

The Democratic Party has been pushing for that for a long time.  The President now, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, is pushing for that.

And so the beauty of David's column and what I loved about it is that it takes sort of the policy issues that we're talking about now, whether it's the American Jobs Act — the American Jobs Plan, the Families Plan, the American Rescue Plan, and broadens it out in the way that only — that David famously does to the 35,000-foot level and shows that Joe Biden — it's the last line in the column — Joe Biden hasn't changed.  It's just that he's gone bigger.

The price tags on these things that he's pushing have gone bigger than what he pushed for when he was in the Senate for 36 years.  The policies that he championed when he was Vice President, with President O — yes, with President Obama.

So, I don't know if it's right to call President Biden incrementalist.  I think he is incrementalist when it suits his purposes to get something done right away.

But I think, if you look at everything that he's trying to do, he's going big.  And he's going big because the problems facing the country are large, but, also, he views it to the international prism, which I think David puts in his column, because of his time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that the problems that America is facing, they are impacting not just America at home, but America's standing abroad.

Amna Nawaz:  For anyone wondering why David Brooks isn't weighing in on his own column, we just lost the connection with him.  We are trying to bring him back into the conversation.  And we will do so as soon as that connection is reestablished.

But, Jonathan, while I have you, I also wanted to talk about this vote on the potential commission to look into the January 6 Capitol attack.  There was a proposal that came before the House.  They voted on it.  It passed there; 35 Republicans, 35 Republicans joined Democrats to back that commission.

Did that number surprise you?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, Amna, here's the thing that surprised me.

It's — what surprises me is that it was only 35.  Leave aside the politics of everything of why it was just 35.  This — the January 6 commission should not be a partisan issue.  This should be a patriotism issue.

What happened on that day was horrifying, people trying to rush the Capitol, invading the Capitol, while the United States Congress was certifying a free and fair and legitimate, a small-D democratic election, certifying the election, and making it official that Joe Biden would be the president of the United States.

Those people tried to stop that.  The people who voted against the commission, the other Republicans who voted against the commission, they were there that day.  How they could not vote to approve a commission that would look into what happened, so that we find out what happened, but also so that we can learn things that we could do to ensure that it doesn't happen again, the fact that they voted — only 35 Republicans have voted for it, I think, is a shame.

Amna Nawaz:  I need to ask you as well, Jonathan, because this is right now with the Senate.  Ten Republicans there would need to back it for that commission to move forward.  Do you see that happening?

Jonathan Capehart:  I'm really having a hard time seeing that happening.

I mean, if memory serves, seven Republicans voted with the Democrats to vote to come to convict then-President — well, at that point, he was former President Trump, during impeachment.  I don't see where the other three votes to get to 10 come from.  That's assuming that those seven vote for the commission.

Amna Nawaz:  Jonathan Capehart joining us tonight.

I apologize to David Brooks.  Tonight's Brooks and Capehart is mostly just Capehart.


Amna Nawaz:  But, Jonathan, it's always good to talk to you.  Thanks for being here.

Jonathan Capehart:  Great to see you too.  Thanks.


"The bigger battle at stake in the Apple and Epic Games showdownPBS NewsHour 5/21/2021


SUMMARY:  The high stakes court battle between Apple and Epic Games, the maker of the globally popular video game Fortnite, is nearly over.  Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stand Friday to defend the company's app store against monopolization charges.  Lisa Desjardins and Reuters reporter Stephen Nellis dive into the antitrust trial that could have big implications for Apple, other smartphones and apps.

VIEW FROM SOUTH KOREA - Denuclearizing North Korea

"South Korea’s foreign minister on US role in denuclearizing North KoreaPBS NewsHour 5/20/2021


SUMMARY:  President Joe Biden is expected to meet Friday with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.  The two leaders are at very different points of their terms.  Biden newly-elected, and Moon in his final year.  They are expected to discuss progress on North Korea, and discuss tense U.S.- China relations.  Amna Nawaz gets the details from South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong.

IMMIGRANTS - US Immigrant Workers

"The US has a ‘thirst’ for immigrant workers.  Why do so many struggle to get legal status?PBS NewsHour 5/20/2021


SUMMARY:  President Joe Biden has said that changing immigration law remains an important piece of his agenda.  But the path to new legislation is complex and hardly clear.  One of the biggest flashpoints in this debate are questions about undocumented workers and their role in the economy.  Paul Solman dives into those questions for his latest report for "Making $ense."

CAPITOL INSURRECTION - Looming Over Congress

"How the shadow of the Jan. 6 riot still looms large over CongressPBS NewsHour 5/19/2021


SUMMARY:  The U.S. House on Wednesday moved to form a commission to examine the January 6 attack on the Capitol.  The violent pro-Trump riot resulted in widespread injury, deaths, and damage to the building itself.  Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins was in the building that day, and has been reporting on how its shadow looms large over the Capitol.  She joins Amna Nawaz to discuss the latest.

RACE MATTERS - Dark-Skinned Immigrants

"How colorism haunts dark-skinned immigrant communitiesPBS NewsHour 5/19/2021


SUMMARY:  The death of George Floyd last year has shone a spotlight on what it means to be Black, and especially, to be dark-skinned in America.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has our report from Minnesota, home to a growing population of African and other immigrants.  It is part of our continuing series "Race Matters", and Fred’s series, "Agents for Change."