Monday, March 22, 2021

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 3/19/2021

"Brooks and Capehart on COVID vaccine hesitancy and the Georgia attacksPBS NewsHour 3/19/2021


SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including Republican reluctance to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the response to violence against Asian Americans and the Atlanta attacks, and the Biden administration's immigration policy.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  And to maybe help us further understand the vaccine hesitancy among some Republicans, and much more, we turn now to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.

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

So good to see both of you, smiling faces, on this Friday night.


Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  Good to see you, Judy.

Judy Woodruff:  But serious stuff to talk about.

Thank you for being here.

Jonathan, I'm going to start with you.

Why do you think so many Republicans, 40, 50 percent, are saying they don't want the vaccine?  And what do you think the prospects are for changing their mind?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, Judy, I think part of the problem is the previous President spent the entirety of the pandemic — so, a year ago, we were hearing the President of the United States casting doubt, one, on whether the virus would come to the United States, and then, two, once it did get to the United States, calling the whole thing a hoax every day.

And so, if you were a die-hard follower of the President, and you're listening to him telling you all sorts of falsehoods, lies, misinformation about a pandemic that you also say is a hoax, then it doesn't surprise me — it is shocking just as an American and someone who believes in science — that so many, such a high percentage of Republicans, and particularly Republicans who supported Donald Trump, being very hesitant about taking the vaccine.

I hope that the gentleman in Yamiche's package will do what he says he's going to do, educate himself, and then decide to take the vaccine.  That is all Dr. Fauci has been trying to do, folks at the CDC, the NIH, trying to educate the American people and tell them, this is how we protect ourselves against this virus and this pandemic, and these are the things we must do if we want to get to the other side and start to live what we used to call normal lives again.

Judy Woodruff:  David, how do you explain the thinking on the part of so many Republicans?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, for generations, if you asked Americans, do you trust the institutions of our society, you would get 70 or 80 percent trusting institutions.

Then, starting around the time of Vietnam and Watergate, that began to decline.  And now it is about 19 percent.  And so people have built up over decades of what they perceive as failure and betrayal a sense of distrust, not only in government, in Congress, but in science and in institutions.

And it is especially true on the Republican side, where the "don't tread on me" ethos has been strongest.

I am hopeful that, once you detach this from politics and make it a local issue, where it is you and your doctor, or you and your neighbor, or you and your pastor, that minds can change.  People really do think on two different levels.

They think — if you ask them a political question in a poll, they will give you a political answer.  But if it is the doctor saying, you know, everybody around here is taking this test — or this vaccine, it looks pretty good, it is keeping us safe, I think then, once it becomes a local issue, and not a political issue, I think minds can change pretty fast.

And we still have that in the Frank Luntz focus group, that he said elsewhere that he really couldn't persuade people.  And the Biden administration is working hard to do that, really reaching out to Republicans.  Francis Collins, who is head of to NIH and an evangelical Christian, is talking to Christian groups.

And so they are broadening the messengers.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Jonathan, they are trying to change minds in that regard.

The President also out this week, in fact, today, marking the fact that 100 million Americans have had at least one vaccination now.  And it is, what, just two months into his administration.  He also is out around the country talking up the benefits of this COVID economic relief plan.

And he was going to be in Atlanta to talk about that, but, today, the triples became an opportunity to speak to the Asian American community there, just a few days after these terrible shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area.

Jonathan, what is the right message right now for the President at a time like this?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, I think, in the remarks that the President gave just before we came on air, just as you were coming on air, are similar to the messages he has been giving when it comes to talking about the loss Americans have felt as a result of the pandemic.

In his remarks in Atlanta, he targeted them to the Asian American, Pacific Islander community that feels and has felt under siege, under threat for more than a year because of the rhetoric that was coming out of the White House.

And so by an accident of timing and coincidence, the President and vice President were already going to be in Georgia, in Atlanta to tout the American Rescue Plan.  But the fact that these — that the shootings happened, the murders happened, that their trip took a more mournful purpose.

But there is one other thing to keep in mind here, Judy.  Georgia flipped from red to blue.  And Senators Warnock and Ossoff are in the Senate because people came out and voted for them.  And we know that, because of a big turn without from Asian Americans in Georgia, that helped put Joe Biden over the top in Georgia and Warnock and Ossoff over the top in, I believe, both of their races, the general election race and the run-off races.

And so this trip that President Biden and Vice President Harris took today and is still ongoing has taken on so many layers of meaning that we can't even get into right now.

Judy Woodruff:  And pick up on that, David.

I mean, at a moment like this, how much difference can it make what a President says, especially on this — as Jonathan said, this is a subject that has political — certainly, political ramifications.

David Brooks:  Well, one of the things we certainly learned in recent history is that the presidency is the cultural determiner of the country, and that the ethos of the country reflects the presidency for good or ill, whether it feels like you are walking into a hailstorm or you have got sunshine shining upon you.

And Biden ran on the soul of America.  I thought that was just a very important part of his campaign.  I wasn't clear how he was going to translate that into the presidency.  How do you actually use the power of the office to change the soul of America?  I actually thought he should have a little agency within the White House, thinking about the culture, thinking about what is the American soul, how do we tell our story, how do question keep ourselves together?

But events have certainly given him occasions to put that issue front and center, and mostly hate crimes and killings, unfortunately.  And so what this episode shows is, in the soul of America, there has been a rising tide of bigotry of all kinds, of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Asian violence, rising tide of all kinds, partly because of Donald Trump, partly because of COVID, partly because there are, frankly, a lot of lonely young men who have been sort of cut loose from society and who are struggling.

And they are not enmeshed in thick communities.  And they do terrible things on occasion.

And so the soul of America is about our moral fiber, and not practicing bigotry.  It is about our social connection enmeshing people.  And then it is about expressing the values that we share, which I think President did today.

Judy Woodruff:  And this is not, Jonathan, of course, the only tough question facing the President right now.  There are more and more immigrants attempting to come into the United States across the Southern border.

Children and families with young children, the administration is letting them come in.  They are turning back single adults.  But it is adding up to a real challenge.  The Republicans are saying, this is Joe Biden's border crisis.

What do you make of his handling of this and also of the two immigration bills that passed the House this week?

Jonathan Capehart:  So, when it comes to Republican criticism of the Biden administration, I mean, that is par for the course.  That is to be expected, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy calling it Biden's border crisis.

But the waves of migrants coming to the border didn't start the moment Joe Biden became President.  They have been coming.  I think that President Biden talking about having a more humane immigration policy probably sent a message to folks who are trying get here through the Southern border that the draconian measures and sort of inhumane measures taken by Donald Trump were no longer going to be in force and that maybe it's time to go, also keeping in mind that it's not just — President Biden isn't the only reason why folks are trying to get across the Southern border.

People are fleeing.  They're fleeing terror and gangs and crime and lack of economic opportunities in their own countries.  And they're moving north, seeking opportunities.

Now, what we have seen, Judy, is that the administration has gone from the President saying we want a more humane policy to the President going on television earlier this week and saying, don't come.  You have got the secretary of homeland security saying, don't come now.  You have got the new ambassador for the border, Roberta Jacobson, saying, don't come, and don't come this way.  Come through legal means.

So, I think, if anything, the Biden administration has to has to land on a consistent message.  And then it's got to figure out a way to work with Congress to really get a handle on what to do about immigration.

The two bills that you mentioned, Judy, one dealing with the Dreamers and another one dealing with migrant farmworkers, it's not comprehensive immigration reform policy.  But these are two big pieces of the immigration puzzle that are working their way through Congress.  They made it their way through the House.

But the tough part, as we will be discussing forever, it seems, the tough part is going to be in the Senate.  And will the Senate, will Congress actually work to pass something that will actually alleviate a lot of the immigration problems in the country?

Judy Woodruff:  What about that, David, and sizing up how President Biden's handling all this?

David Brooks:  Well, the short-term problem for the Biden administration is, they did have a very unclear message in the beginning and that says, don't come — you can come, but not yet, which is not a clear message, especially since it gets filtered through these smugglers, who smuggle people across the border for like 8,000 bucks.

Their incentive is to tell people, time to go, because they make money everybody they carry.  And so you get lots of misinformation spread across the border.  And a lot of people are coming.  We're at a 14-year high.

The larger problem is that we have just never had a well-funded asylum system.  We don't have the facilities, as it was painfully clear during the Trump years.  We don't have the judges.  And so people come, they get their hearing, but sometimes it takes over a year to get the hearing.

Meanwhile, they're in the country.  And if they think they're going to lose the hearing, which two-thirds do, then they don't show up.  And so it's just a dysfunctional system.

I think the Biden administration is trying to ramp up and fix it.  But who's to say they won't just continue to fall behind?  And the pain of that is, (A) we have some chaos on the border, but, (B) you get an awful political atmosphere for trying to pass immigration reform.

And asylum and immigration are different, which is worth remembering.  And so we have given up, I think wisely, on the idea of comprehensive reform.  Too big a lift.  But it's getting tougher to pass even these minor bills on things people sort of agree about, like the dreamers.

And the border counties in Texas shifted sharply to the Republicans.  Mark Kelly, the senator from Arizona, has got to run again in 2022.  If there's a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment, it becomes hard for him.

And so the — in a weird way, this border crisis is making the immigration bills a lot harder to pass.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, whether they wanted to deal with this right now or not, they are having to deal with it.  And we will continue to watch it.

Thank you both, David Brooks, Jonathan Capehart.

Jonathan Capehart:  Thanks, Judy.

David Brooks:  Thanks.

MEMORIAM - 5 Amazing Lives

"Remembering 5 amazing lives lost to COVID-19PBS NewsHour 3/19/2021


SUMMARY:  More than 530,000 American lives have been lost to COVID-19 as the pandemic continues to affect the country.  As we do every Friday, we shine the spotlight on five amazing lives that were lost to COVID-19.

GEORGE FLOYD SHOOTING - Trial of Derek Chauvin

"Jury selection in Chauvin trial nears conclusion days after Floyd family’s settlementPBS NewsHour 3/19/2021


SUMMARY:  Jury selection in the trial of Derek Chauvin the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, neared conclusion Friday — the same week as Floyd's family reached a $27 million settlement with the city of Minneapolis.  NewsHour Special Correspondent Fred De Sam Lazaro joins us with the latest in the proceedings.

JOBS IN AMERICA - As Nationwide Unemployment Grows......

"As nationwide unemployment grows, Rhode Island steps in to help residents find workPBS NewsHour 3/18/2021


SUMMARY:  This week marked the 52nd straight week of high unemployment claims, with numbers rising as more than a million people filed for state and emergency federal unemployment benefits across the country.  One state, Rhode Island, is working to reverse that trend by matching several thousand job-seeking residents with potential employers.  Paul Solman has the story for our series, "Work Shift."



"Stockton, California, gave residents a guaranteed income.  Here’s what happenedPBS NewsHour 3/21/2021


SUMMARY:  What would happen if you gave people $500 a month, no strings attached?  Stockton, California set out to answer that question two years ago as one of the first U.S. towns to pilot a Universal Basic Income program.  Former Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the findings of this social and economic experiment — and what it could mean for America’s future.

AFGHANISTAN - America’s Longest War Wages On

"As America’s longest war wages on, is there hope for peace?PBS NewsHour 3/18/2021


SUMMARY:  Today in Moscow, the U.S. and half a dozen other countries are holding a summit on the best way to end the war in Afghanistan, launched by the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.  President Joe Biden recently said it would be "tough" to pull American troops out of the nation by May as planned by the Trump administration.  How does that affect the prospects of peace in the country?  Nick Schifrin explores.

RACE IN AMERICA - Georgia Shootings

"Congress holds first hearing on Asian American violence in decades amid ‘crisis point’PBS NewsHour 3/18/2021


SUMMARY:  Fear and fallout from this week's deadly shootings in Atlanta have echoed across the country.  While investigators have not confirmed a motive in the attack that killed eight, including six Asian women, many across the country have deemed it a hate crime.  Lawmakers held a hearing on the issue of hate crimes against Asians in Washington today.  Lisa Desjardins has the story.



"‘This day was coming:’ Lawmaker says year of anti-Asian rhetoric led to Georgia shootingsPBS NewsHour 3/18/2021


SUMMARY:  After this week's shootings in Atlanta, we explore the congressional response to rising violence against Asian Americans with Democratic Rep. Judy Chu of California.  Chu is the chair of the congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and testified on the “crisis point that cannot be ignored” at a Capitol Hill hearing Thursday.

NEWSHOUR CANVAS - "Grief and Grievance"

"In ‘Grief and Grievance,’ Black artists explore aspects of loss in contemporary lifePBS NewsHour 3/17/2021


SUMMARY:  Even amid the pandemic, some art exhibitions are opening to the public.  "Grief and Grievance" at New York's "New Museum," a timely examination of race and racism, is one of them.  Black artists explore the aspects of loss in the contemporary Black experience and their own roles in telling that story.  Jeffrey Brown reports for Race Matters, and CANVAS, our ongoing arts and culture coverage.

ENGLAND - Stonehenge

"Ancient Stonehenge faces modern problems with plans for a nearby tunnel to ease trafficPBS NewsHour 3/17/2021


SUMMARY:  The Stonehenge landscape, one of the most visited ancient sites in England, is in the spotlight as a possible solution to a modern problem.  Could tunneling through it help ease heavy traffic flow in the surrounding streets?  Archeologists and activists warn the construction would place the cherished site under threat.  Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.

BATS - Fate in the Ballance & Environmentally Necessary to Farming

"The fate of bats is hanging in the balance.  That could have very real consequences for usPBS NewsHour 3/17/2021


SUMMARY:  The World Health Organization is expected to release a report on its investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus in the coming days.  Among the many theories is the unproven belief that it was passed on from bats — leading to much public fear of the mammals.  But the growing threat to bats could mean bad news for us too.  Special correspondent Catherine Rampell reports.


"Could the Vatican’s decree on same-sex unions turn people away from church?PBS NewsHour 3/16/2021


SUMMARY:  After Pope Francis initially signaled support for same-sex unions, the Vatican decreed Monday that the Catholic Church cannot support them, saying God “cannot bless sin.”  The latest decree has disappointed LGBTQ advocates and cast doubt on the church’s acceptance of gay people.  Rev. Bryan Massingale, a professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

RACISM IN AMERICA - The Latest Against Asian Americans

"Asian American community battles surge in hate crimes stirred from COVID-19PBS NewsHour 3/16/2021


SUMMARY:  As the U.S. continues its battle against COVID-19, it is also battling a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.  A recent report found that hate crimes against Asian Americans in major U.S. cities surged by nearly 150 percent in 2020 —even as the number of overall hate crimes fell.  Stephanie Sy looks at how the violence has marred one community, and how they are coming together in its wake.



"Actress Margaret Cho on why racism is a ‘deep well of shame’ for some Asian AmericansPBS NewsHour 3/20/2021


SUMMARY:  For more on the history of and recent rise in anti-Asian American racism and hate crimes, Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy & Grammy-nominated comedian and actress Margaret Cho joins Hari Sreenivasan.  She speaks about her own family’s experience with racism in America, the model minority myth, and the way Asians are perceived in America.

IMMIGRATION - U.S. House Takes Another Look at Reform

"U.S. House prepares for immigration legislation amid migrant surge at the borderPBS NewsHour 3/16/2021


SUMMARY:  The Biden administration had promised a humane approach to immigration but is now facing upheaval at the southern border, as illegal migrant crossings have skyrocketed in the past few months and authorities struggle to find proper housing for thousands of unaccompanied minors.  Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, whose Texas district is located on the southern border, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.


"With a stop in Pennsylvania, Biden begins his pitch to Americans on new COVID relief lawPBS NewsHour 3/16/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden is on the road, aiming to sell his COVID relief law to the American public.  His first stop Tuesday was in Pennsylvania with a visit to a Black-owned flooring business near Philadelphia, highlighting the aid that his administration is providing through small business loans and stimulus checks.  Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.



"How the economic relief law narrows the equity gap for farmers of colorPBS NewsHour 3/16/2021


SUMMARY:  The COVID relief and economic package is a massive bill that has a far-reaching impact in ways that many Americans don't know about yet.  One provision calls for debt relief for Black farmers, who have long been denied access to government funding.  John Boyd, a fourth-generation farmer in Virginia and president of the National Black Farmers Association, joins Lisa Desjardins to discuss.



"How billions of dollars in COVID aid will help schools reopenPBS NewsHour 3/17/2021


SUMMARY:  Living through a full year of closed schools and distance learning has taken a heavy toll on students, parents, teachers and school administrators.  The new stimulus bill sets aside roughly $125 billion to help K-12 schools reopen.  Laura Meckler, a national education writer at The Washington Post, joins William Brangham to discuss.

AT THE MOVIES - "Minari"

"Rarely portrayed in popular culture, ‘Minari’ follows story of a Korean American familyPBS NewsHour 3/15/2021


SUMMARY:  A new film called “Minari” is an immigrant tale rarely portrayed.  It features a Korean family in rural Arkansas, and it's already received major recognition, including a Golden Globe Award.  Jeffrey Brown has the story of our arts and culture series, "CANVAS."

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION - Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland

"What Debra Haaland’s confirmation as interior secretary means to Native AmericansPBS NewsHour 3/15/2021


SUMMARY:  Debra Haaland's confirmation in the U.S. Senate Monday as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior makes her the first-ever Native American to serve as a Cabinet Secretary.  She'll oversee energy and climate policy on millions of acres of public land, as well as the Bureau of Indian AffairsTimothy Nuvangyaoma, chairman of the Hopi Tribe in Arizona, joins Lisa Desjardins to discuss.

YEMEN - Surviving a Brutal War

"In Yemen’s brutal ongoing war, ‘the weakest no longer survive’PBS NewsHour 3/15/2021


SUMMARY:  What began as a civil war in 2015 between Yemen’s government and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels has evolved into a brutal proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with U.S. involvement.  Jane Ferguson updates us from Yemen on the war's terrible toll, and Nick Schifrin speaks with the Biden administration's envoy about the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

Friday, March 19, 2021

CALIFORNIA EDUCATION STEPS FORWARD - Approves Teaching History of Marginalized Groups

NOTE: This was copied from the e-newspaper, therefore no link to article.

"State adopts ethnic studies course" by Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times 3/19/2021

Ending years-long and often divisive debate over ethnic studies coursework in California’s K-12 schools, the State Board of Education on Thursday unanimously approved a model curriculum to guide how the histories, struggles and contributions of Asian, Black, Latino and Native Americans — and the racism and marginalization they have experienced in the United States — will be taught to millions of students.

The new curriculum embraces an approach to ethnic studies that focuses on the four core groups but evolved to accommodate a breadth of experiences, including lessons on the Jewish, Armenian and Sikh communities in the U.S.

Although criticism still emerged Thursday, the curriculum approval culminates two years of difficult discussions, protests and rewrites over which groups should be included and how their stories should be presented.  Drafts were alternately pilloried for being left-wing propaganda or capitulating to right-wing agendas, and defended as providing an essential means for students of color to see themselves reflected in public school curriculum.  It comes at a time when educators are seeking concrete lessons and strategies to address racism.

“The passion that we hear about this topic illustrates why ethnic studies is so important,” board president Linda Darling-Hammond said after nearly eight hours of presentations and discussion.  “Much of it is a quest by each person or each group for a sense of belonging and acknowledgment.”

“Ethnic studies demands that we understand the forces that stand in the way of our shared humanity so that we can address them,” she said.  “We need the more complete study of our history that ethnic studies provides and the attention to inequality that it stimulates.”

For now, the model curriculum serves as a guide for school districts that want the option to offer ethnic studies.  But its lessons stand to become a flashpoint for debate again in the months ahead, as a bill to make a high school ethnic studies course a graduation requirement — believed to be the most far-reaching law of its kind nationally — makes its way through the Legislature.

The final vote came four years, four drafts and 100,000 public comments after state law mandated that educators create a model ethnic studies curriculum.

“In a state with the most diverse student body of anywhere in the nation, our students must see themselves reflected in their school, their curriculum, and the knowledge they learn,” Luis Alejo, author of that legislation when he was in the Assembly, said at the meeting Thursday.  “This first-in-the-nation model curriculum will show other states what is possible.”

Supporters said the anti-racist teachings and the historic perspectives of marginalized groups in the curriculum are of critical importance at this moment in the U.S. as it reckons with issues including the Black Lives Matter movement and police abuse, violent attacks on Asian Americans and the rise of hate crimes against them, and attempts to disenfranchise voters of color.

“What we … have to do is take steps to start preventing these horrific acts against people of color,” said civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, whose social justice foundation works with several school districts.  “It is not enough to say, I am not a racist.  What we have to do in today’s world is we have to be anti-racist….  There is no place that has the greatest responsibility than our educational system.”

“We are proud of what we have to present to you,” State Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond told the board.  “And we acknowledge that when you do something of this magnitude it will not make everyone happy, but what we strive for is balance.”

The first draft of the curriculum was besieged by controversy and criticism, in large part from Jewish groups and legislators who objected to its treatment of Jews, exclusion of anti-Semitism as a form of hate, and mention of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions protest movement against Israel.  Others, too, argued it was heavy on academic jargon, filled with left-leaning ideology and a controversial glossary that included definitions of terms like “hxrstory” and “cisheteropatriarchy.”

Other ethnic groups, including Armenian Americans, Sikh Americans and Arab Americans, also variously protested their exclusion or the terms under which they were included.

Another focal point of debate was “critical race theory,” a lens to examine how race and racism are embedded in institutional and systemic inequities.  Frequently attacked by former President Trump and misinterpreted as creating divisions among groups, critical race theory is seen by ethnic studies practitioners as inseparable from the field, and the board recommended adding a definition to clear up misconceptions about it.

The curriculum includes a discussion of anti-Semitism in a sample lesson about Jewish Middle Eastern Americans and an additional sample lesson about Jewish Americans, both submitted by Jewish educators, in a section on “inter-ethnic bridge building.”  Armenian and Sikh Americans are included in that section as well.  So are Arab Americans — a sticking point, as Asian American Studies faculty have considered Arab Americans to fall under the umbrella of their discipline.

In a sign of how much has changed, some of the loudest objectors to the initial curriculum, including the California Legislative Jewish Caucus and the Jewish Community Relations Council, have withdrawn their complaints.

“We need ethnic studies now,” Tyler Gregory, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council said Thursday.  “Ethnic studies gives marginalized communities the agency to define and share their own stories, cultures, and histories.  As Jewish Americans, we relate to this urgent need.”

“Our crucial inclusion presents our own chance to impart the richness of our people, so that future generations hear the dog whistles of anti-Semitism that too often fall on deaf ears,” Gregory said.

But all of the ethnic studies teachers and experts initially appointed by the State Board of Education to draft the curriculum have asked to withdraw their names from it.

In a February letter to the top state educators and policymakers, members of the original advisory committee wrote: “Ethnic Studies guiding principles, knowledge, frameworks, pedagogies, and community histories have been compromised due to political and media pressure.  Our association with the final document is conflicting because it does not reflect the Ethnic Studies curriculum that we believe California students deserve and need.”

Theresa Montaño, a professor of Chicana/Chicano studies at Cal State Northridge and a member of the advisory committee, said in an interview that, due to the heavy influence of public comments, the curriculum had moved further and further away from ethnic studies, removing core concepts and terms, and much closer to a multicultural social studies or history course.

“While we would argue that ethnic studies is for all students and we do honor multiple perspectives in our classrooms, the content should be on the racialized communities of color,” Montaño said.

“Ethnic Studies is the opportunity to give one course to the 80% of California students who have begged for inclusion of their histories and their stories in the California curriculum,” she said.  “One course in 12 years.  One.  And you couldn’t even do that….  That’s what’s the most disappointing.”

Splits over the curriculum — including within the Jewish community — were again apparent during public comment on Thursday.  Some Jews criticized it as insufficiently addressing anti-Semitism and the place of Middle Eastern Jews.  Others said the model curriculum process had been “co-opted” by anti-Palestinian, pro-Israel groups.

Other supporters of traditional ethnic studies said the latest version had been stripped of its “anti-racist, anti-colonial and liberatory tenets” with the removal in places of terms like “revolution” and “capitalism,” as well as of substantive discussion of Palestinians.

Montaño said that ultimately what matters is what happens in the classroom, where teachers, students and parents will carry out the actual work of implementing ethnic studies.

Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a longtime professor of Africana studies and a former member of the body that reviewed drafts of the model curriculum, said Thursday that the curriculum will provide needed parameters for educators around the discipline.

“Criticism will continue, I can guarantee you that.  The robust conversation will continue….  What is in the discipline, what is not in the discipline, what’s appropriate material to use,” she said.

“Curriculum is not a static thing … but you have to take the first step.  And we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  We will not find the perfect curriculum, but we have found a good curriculum, one that is strong.”

Monday, March 15, 2021

JUSTICE IN AMERICA - One Year After Breonna Taylor’s Death

"One year after Breonna Taylor’s death, advocates still seek justice, policy changesPBS NewsHour 3/13/2021


SUMMARY:  The death of Breonna Taylor one year ago drew increased attention to the use of “no-knock” warrants and police raids.  Three states have since adopted “Breonna’s law,” banning the practice, and major police departments and cities have also prohibited its use.  But Kentucky, Breonna’s home, has not yet banned no-knock warrants statewide.  State Rep. Attica Scott joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

AMERICA - Extremism in the Ranks

"Extremism in the ranks: some at the January 6 Capitol riot were police, active militaryPBS NewsHour 3/13/2021


SUMMARY:  Right-wing extremists have infiltrated the ranks of the military and law enforcement, as watchdogs and counterterrorism experts have been warning for years — and some were present at, and later arrested for participating in, the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  NewsHour Special Correspondent Simon Ostrovsky reports on the ongoing effort to root extremists out, as part of our ongoing initiative, “Exploring Hate: Antisemitism, Racism, and Extremism.”

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 3/12/2021

"Brooks and Capehart on the historic COVID relief law and a year of life in the pandemicPBS NewsHour 3/12/2021


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's primetime address to the nation, the historic $1.9 trillion COVID relief law, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's future, and living the last year amid the pandemic.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  So much going on in the world of politics.

We now turn to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.  That's New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, columnist for The Washington Post.

Hello to both of you on this Friday night.  There is a lot to talk about.

But let's begin, David, with President Biden's first prime-time address from the White House last night talking about COVID.  What did you make of the message, what he had to say, the tone he set?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Yes.  He said: I need you.

Haven't heard that from a White House from — for a few years.  There was a ton of empathy, an awareness of the grim toll, the 527,000 people who have died of this

But I liked the way he spun it positively.  I think we're — at this moment, the government has had a fault of being able too negative.  They don't want people to let up.  So they're still imposing warnings:  Don't do this.  Don't do this.

But I think people want something look forward to.  And we can hang through this if we're given some hope that really good times are ahead.  And so that July 4, you can picnic with your family thing, I think we need to do a little more of that to give people a sense of lift, because this is a weirdly hard moment in the pandemic.  We are exhausted at doing the same thing every day for a year.

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan, how did you — how did you read what — hear what President Biden said?

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  The thing that jumped out at me, the same as David, actually, when the President leaned forward into the camera and said:  I need you.

The other thing that was very prominent in that speech for me, aside from the words, was the fact that, yes, we have an empathetic President, one who overflows with it.  And after four years of a President who didn't have any empathy, four years of a President who made every utterance, speech, campaign rally, briefing in the White House Press Briefing Room about himself, to have a President stand before the nation and say we, instead of I, to give that — say that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, was something that I noticed on my Twitter feed when I sent out a message saying, thank God we have a President who was overflowing with empathy.

The number of responses from people who were saying that they were crying in that moment, listening to this President, who's not only giving them hope, but really giving words to the pain and frustration that millions of Americans have felt for the last year.

Judy Woodruff:  When you look at the substance of what is in this legislation, this massive piece of legislation, David, the Republicans are saying it's the worst thing they have ever seen, Mitch McConnell saying terrible — the worst law he has ever seen pass the Congress, while Democrats are saying this is going to make a huge difference in the lives of Americans.

Who's going to turn out to be right?

David Brooks:  I don't know.  You take a bet.

The Republicans are right about one thing.  When you throw nearly $2 trillion onto a hot economy of borrowed money, you certainly run the risk of inflation.  And that's very hard to defeat, where you really have to shut down the economy, the way we did in 1981-'82, to solve that problem.

You certainly run the risk of having a big debt problem.  And so I completely understand the concerns.

I think I would bet the way Biden bet it on this case, because, for the last 20 years, it's become increasingly clear the economy is not working for people the way it used to.  It's not working for young adults.  It's not working for people in — throughout the country.

And one way to fix that is to create a white hot labor market by pumping money in the economy.  Another way to fix it is with a child tax credit to make parenting affordable.  Another way is with insurance — health insurance expandencies (sic).

So, when I look at this bill, I look at it as a big, epochal shift.  The policy is finally catching up with the specific problems we have right now.  It's an equivalent transformation, to me, of when Ronald Reagan came into office, and, in 1981, addressed the stagflation of the 1970s.

Now we have different policies, different gigantic policies, but at least, it seems to me, in response to a real problem of the moment.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Jonathan, do you see any risk or risk of any size, magnitude, in what the Democrats are doing, party-line vote?  No Republicans voted for it.

Jonathan Capehart:  No Republicans voted for the bill, Judy.

But when you look at the public opinion polling about the American Rescue Plan, 60 percent of Republicans favored it.  And so I think what we're going to see going forward is a growing disconnect, a growing chasm between Republicans who are elected to come here to Washington to legislate and the people who sent them here.

And I'm not sure how the Republican Party is going to deal with that, because all we have seen from Republicans on the hill is Dr. Seuss and everything that they are against.  I defy anyone to tell me what Republicans are actually for, with the exception of Senator Mitt Romney, Senator Tom Cotton on minimum wage and the child tax credit.

But that's just two Republicans.  More needs to come out of the Republican Party for them to be a credible policy challenger to Democrats.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, if the two parties weren't going to come together on this, do you — what do you think the prospects are for anything coming down the pike anytime soon?

David Brooks:  I think — I think there is some prospect.

The Democrats really want to go big on this, and they got everything they want.  I think they got more than most progressives thought they were going to get.  They did a neat trick of pleasing the progressives without scaring away the moderates.  That was not automatic.  And so they wanted to open big, and they have opened huge.

But then there's the possibility of infrastructure.  This is the perennial thing about which there should be bipartisan agreement.  Everyone mouths that we agree on this, more or less.  Minimum wage, there should be a way to get a deal on the minimum wage.  Some Republicans have come up to $11.

So, it's possible.  The question to me is, Democrats, do they really want to?  They hold the power here.  Do they really want to?  Or do they regard the current Republican Party as so legitimate, it's not worth compromising?  And I think that sentiment is really the guiding force within the Democratic Party right now.

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan, what do you think the chances are they work together on something?

Jonathan Capehart:  They will work together on something.  Maybe it's infrastructure, but I'm keeping my eye, Judy, on what they can do that doesn't involve reconciliation.

They might be able to do it one more time with some aspects of an immigrant — I'm sorry — not immigration — infrastructure package.  But I do think what we're going to see on a bunch of other priorities, immigration, voting reform, other things, where the bills are going to come to the floor in the Senate, and there won't be 60 votes to end the filibuster, but there will be more than 50 votes that will send a signal to the American people that this could pass were it not for the filibuster.

And I think that will — that will engender grassroots pressure on Democrats to do away with it, but also put pressure on the Republicans to explain to the American people, wait, if a majority of you are for this, why can't it pass?

Judy Woodruff:  Different subject, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York.

David, there are now seven women who've come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.  And now we have both New York state U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, calling on him, and most of the congressional delegation, Democrats, calling on him to step down.

Can he survive this?

David Brooks:  I don't possibly say how he can.

The only — this is reminiscent of when Barry Goldwater and a group of Republicans went to the White House and told Richard Nixon he had to leave.  This is really the — all relevant Democrats, with the exception of the White House, telling him he has to leave.

We are — there are now a lot of women who have who have made these accusations.  My newspaper had a story today interviewing dozens of people in the — women in the administration who described a toxic atmosphere, some of them.  Not all of them did.  Some of them described a toxic atmosphere, where they were more or less compelled to wear high heels and dress in a certain way.

It's clearly not acceptable in a 21st century workplace.  And so I just don't see how he can last in office.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Jonathan, we — as we reported earlier, Governor Cuomo today said these people calling for him to step down are part of cancel culture, that they don't know the facts.

Jonathan Capehart:  Yes, I mean, he will say whatever he needs to say to defend himself.

But when you have both sitting United States senators, more than half the legislative — legislators in Albany calling for your resignation, that is sending a signal.

The one person I am watching, Judy, is Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who is a rising star within the Democratic Party.  Congressman Hakeem Jeffries was a House impeachment manager, very, very close to Governor Cuomo.  If he loses Hakeem Jeffries, then you know he's gone.

Judy Woodruff:  We will watch that.

And in the little bit of time we have left, this is the week — for both of you — we have spent a year now in this pandemic.  It started in March, March the 10th, March the 11th of 2020.  Our lives have been turned upside down.

David, I want to ask each one of you what it's meant.  I mean, how have you — do you think you have changed?  What's different for you after this?

David Brooks:  Well, historians will note that the Asian countries succeeded and the Western countries failed.  And if this is an Asian century, then they will note this as a turning point.

The second thing, we have just lost faith in each other a lot.  I think we're a less united country.  We could be united about this.  And then, personally, 530,000 families have lost a family member.  The rest of us have endured stress and anxiety.  The number of people I know who are on anxiety pills now is very high, contemplating suicide, depression, stress.

Personally, I can't tell you how much I have forgotten.  I spend much of my day a wandering around wondering where I left this thing.  And stress and boredom and loneliness affects the mind.  And I feel my mind has been drained out of this.

I'm ready to get out there and sit in a studio with you and Mark — and — and Jonathan.


Jonathan Capehart:  That's a great — that's a great slip.


Judy Woodruff:  And we're ready to get back in the studio, when it's safe to do that, for sure.

Jonathan, what about you?  What — how do you feel things have changed?  What's different now?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, I agree with David on everything that he said in terms of the nation and the world and the impact that it's had on all of us.

It didn't help that we had a very stressful presidential administration and election that added to that anxiety.  I think, for me personally, what's been interesting is, I'm an introvert at heart.  I love being at home.  Staying home was not a hardship for me.


Judy Woodruff:  We don't believe that, but go ahead.


Jonathan Capehart:  But it's true.

But here's the thing.  I'm sort of — I feel like I'm in between generations, old enough to be from that generation that you wake up, you go into the office Monday through Friday, you must go into the office to do work.

But I'm also young enough to now, as a result of the pandemic, understand, you know what, actually, you can work from home, it's OK, you're not cheating in any way.  So, that's one sort of glimmer of hope that I have taken from the pandemic.

But I do think that what it has done to us as a people, as Americans, as a country, pitting us against each other over whether you're wearing a mask or not, governors, whether they're Republican or Democrat, deciding whether they're going to open up their states, public health being politicized, that's the thing that's most distressing to me.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, we each have stories to tell about this year.  And it's amidst so much suffering that we have seen.

But we thank both of you.  And we hope you have a good weekend, both of you, Jonathan Capehart, David Brooks.

Jonathan Capehart:  Thanks, Judy.  Same to you.

David Brooks:  Thank you, Judy.

MEMORIAM - 5 Extraordinary Americans

"Remembering 5 extraordinary Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19PBS NewsHour 3/12/2021


SUMMARY:  We are now into the second year of this global pandemic and since it began more than 530,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.  As we do every week, we take a moment to share the lives of five extraordinary people lost to this virus.

NEWSHOUR CANVAS - The Lost Art of Jacob Lawrence

"Unraveling the mystery of a pioneering American painter’s missing workPBS NewsHour 3/12/2021


SUMMARY:  Imagine discovering that a painting on your wall is a long, lost masterpiece.  In two recent cases, the story centers on Jacob Lawrence, a pioneering American modernist painter.  Lydia Gordon, of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, is our guide, as part of our arts and culture series.

AMERICA'S SKILLED TRADES - Black & Women Job Discrimination

"Black Americans and women continue to face discrimination in skilled tradesPBS NewsHour 3/12/2021


SUMMARY:  The winter storms that devastated Texas last month led to a major water crisis.  But for weeks afterward, there weren't enough plumbers to help customers with the damage.  All of this underscores the need for more of these skilled workers.  But for women and workers of color, there can be even greater obstacles.  Paul Solman has the story for our series "Work Shift."

PRESIDENT BIDEN - New Vaccine Timeline

"Biden moves up vaccine timeline in the U.S., vows to expand global suppliesPBS NewsHour 3/12/2021


SUMMARY:  President Biden moved up the timeline for vaccine allocation Thursday by ordering all states, tribes and territories to make every U.S. adult eligible for the COVID vaccines by May 1.  And on Friday, he also vowed to expand the vaccine supply globally in an unprecedented meeting with world leaders from India, Japan and Australia.  Nick Schifrin and William Brangham join Judy Woodruff to discuss.

PANDEMIC - Teenagers' Reflections

"Teenagers reflect on how their worlds changed during the pandemicPBS NewsHour 3/11/2021


SUMMARY:  For teenagers, this year of quarantine and remote school forced an unprecedented experiment in learning and coping.  We asked our network of student journalists to reflect on how their worlds changed and what they're looking forward to once the pandemic is over.

JAPAN - Fukushima 10th Anniversary

"Japan marks 10th anniversary of Fukushima nuclear disasterPBS NewsHour 3/11/2021


SUMMARY:  Japan on Thursday marked another grim anniversary: 10 years since a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the nation's coast triggered a 130-foot-high tsunami that crashed ashore at more than 500 miles per hour.  It killed thousands and triggered a nuclear disaster at a plant in Fukushima.  Nick Schifrin looks at that nuclear explosion in detail, and Grace Lee reports from Tokyo on the quake's aftermath.


"A Brief But Spectacular take on confronting the pandemic of gender-based violencePBS NewsHour 3/10/2021


SUMMARY:  With stay-at-home orders in place, many victims of domestic violence have been trapped at home with their abusers.  In this Brief But Spectacular, we meet Kathryn Jacob, the CEO of SafeHaven, which focuses on creating preventative programs that help high-risk people before they become victims.  Here's her Brief But Spectacular take on confronting the pandemic of gender-based violence.

LAW ENFORCEMENT IN AMERICA - The Derek Chauvin Murder Trial

"Derek Chauvin’s murder trial raises questions about police accountability nationwidePBS NewsHour 3/10/2021


SUMMARY:  Jury selection is underway in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with the killing of George FloydOne of the central questions: whether a police officer will be convicted on murder charges?  Paul Butler, a professor at Georgetown University's Law Center, and Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum, join Yamiche Alcindor to discuss.

TEXAS - Risks Citizen's Health for Money

"A Texas Democrat on the Lone Star State ending COVID restrictionsPBS NewsHour 3/10/2021


SUMMARY:  As of Wednesday, Texans can work and gather without a statewide mandate for masks or social distancing, after Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order earlier this month that declared the state "100 percent open."  Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat and head of Harris County's governing body, which includes Houston, joins Lisa Desjardins to discuss.