Monday, April 26, 2021

RECYCLING - Well.....Not Always

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


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

PRESIDENT BIDEN - First 100 Days

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


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

CLIMATE CHANGE - Amsterdam's Way

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


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

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 4/23/2021

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

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

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

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

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

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  Hey, Judy.

Judy Woodruff:  A lot to talk about.

Let's start with the climate summit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jonathan Capehart:  I hope so, Judy.

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

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

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

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

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

David Brooks:  I do.

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

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

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

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

Jonathan Capehart:  I do think so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jonathan Capehart:  Absolutely not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan, thoughts on that?

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

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

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

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

Judy Woodruff:  Sobering ending to this conversation.

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

Jonathan Capehart:  Thanks, Judy.

David Brooks:  Thank you, too, Judy.

MEMORIAM - 5 Wonderful People Lost to COVID-19

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


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

NATIVE AMERICANS - And the American Rescue Plan

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


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

BIDEN'S DREAM - An Electric Future

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


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

NEWSHOUR CANVAS - "It Was Like Freedom"

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


SUMMARY:   PBS NewsHour 4/22/2021


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

INDIA - Highest Global Single-Day COVID-19

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

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


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

CLIMATE CHANGE - President Biden's Goals

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


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



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


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

CRITICAL CARE - America vs the World

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

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

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


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

RUSSIA - Putin and Protests

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

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


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

COVERING CLIMATE NOW - Sustainable Aviation Fuels

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


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

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

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


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



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


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

NASA MARS 2020 - Ingenuity on Mars

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


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

AMERICAN SIKHS - Courageous Vulnerability

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

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


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

GUNS IN AMERICA - Gun Violence Soars

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

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


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

DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL - Guilty on All Charges and the Reverberations

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


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



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


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



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


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



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

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


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



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


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



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


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



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


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



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


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



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


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



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


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

Monday, April 19, 2021

COVID-19 - What Are My Chances?

"What are my chances of hospitalization even after being fully vaccinated?PBS NewsHour 4/17/2021


SUMMARY:  The latest on COVID-19 and vaccines: Johnson & Johnson shots continue to be on pause as health officials investigate extremely rare side effects; Moderna and Pfizer vaccination appointments are becoming easier to snag in many states; and what scientists are learning about the vaccine’s efficacy against variants and ‘breakthrough infections.’  ProPublica reporter Caroline Chen joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

LAID TO REST - Prince Philip

"Prince Philip is laid to rest after small funeral amid COVID-19 restrictionsPBS NewsHour 4/17/2021


SUMMARY:  Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who died last week at 99, was laid to rest at St. George’s Chapel on Saturday.  The funeral, which was an intimate affair due to COVID-19 restrictions in the UK, was attended by only 30 members of the royal family, including the Queen, who sat alone.  Special Correspondent Ryan Chilcote joins for more.

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 4/16/2021

"Brooks and Capehart on police shootings, the U.S. withdrawal from AfghanistanPBS NewsHour 4/16/2021


SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including police shootings of people of color, and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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.

Hello to both of you.  Very good to see you on this Friday night.

But I want to start out with something that has been less than uplifting this week.  And that is more gun violence, in particular, two more police shootings of young Black men, different circumstances, one in Minneapolis, just 10 miles from the man who is accused of murdering George Floyd is on trial, the other one in Chicago.

Jonathan, my question is, we keep seeing this happen.  What do we make of it?  And is it something that is going to require a change in law?

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post:  It's going to require a change in a lot of things, Judy.  It's going to require a change in law, certainly, but a change in attitudes among the American people as a whole and among police.

You know, when I leave my home, when I leave my apartment, I know that, when I am no longer at home, I'm viewed with some level of suspicion, even as a threat, simply because I'm Black, and certainly because I'm a Black male.  And that is something that I have to deal with.

And I have said often and I will keep saying it, there's no such thing as a routine traffic stop when you're African American, and particularly when you're an African American man.

And I think attitudes need to change, particularly among police, because, more often than not, we are viewed as threats.  We saw that in the video of Army Lieutenant Nazario in Virginia that happened in December, but came to light last week.  We saw that in the video of the initial encounter with George Floyd.

When they tapped on the window of George Floyd's SUV with a flashlight, he turns around, and what does he see?  A gun in his face.

With Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, the police officer said "I will Tase you,"  "Taser, Taser, Taser."

Instead, she had a gun in her hand and shot him.

Now, as you said, Judy, these are all different circumstances, but the overall mood is the same.  Black people feel under threat.  They feel under siege.  And until the rest of America changes its attitude, and until law enforcement somehow changes the way it views the people they are sworn to serve and protect, nothing is going to change.

Judy Woodruff:  David, why does this keep happening?  And what do you think about what needs to change?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, the first thing that needs to change is, we do need to accept that there is racial bias in policing.

There are still too many people, and especially too many people in the police force, who think it's — that it's not there.  But it's not only Jonathan's experience and almost every experience of every African American person I know.  There's just dozens of studies that show, in traffic stops, car searches, drug arrests, there's just vast disparate policing that still goes on.  And that's just about attitude.

The good news is, if you do take some reforms, you can make some progress.  There's been a sharp drop in the number of shootings of unarmed people.  Armed people, it's still pretty stable, but unarmed people, we have made some progress.  So, there are things that can be done.

And those are things like removing choke holds.  Those are things like — a little idea that I kind of like is, you have to have written permission to search a car, these things called pretextual stops, where they stop a car on the pretext of one thing, when they're really looking for something else.

Data is very poorly collected.  So, which parts of which police forces are having the most disparate arrests or the most desperate searches?  That data is not collected.  There are these things called police officers bill of rights which are in a lot of state legislatures that police unions have instituted that create all these artificial barriers to investigating an incident, that a cop has to be punished within 30 or 100 days, and if it's too late, then he's off.

And so there are lots of little things that can be done to hopefully reduce these kinds of tragedies.

Judy Woodruff:  And, Jonathan, are these the kinds of things that you think can make a difference?  Should we — what can we be trying that hasn't been tried before now?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, actually, all of those things that David just mentioned are pieces of what is known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

And I think that if that does become law, that it will start to put us on a road of ameliorating this very severe problem.  But, also, it's a problem that is not just now, part of contemporary America.

Generations of African Americans have been talking about this and complaining about this.  And the one thing that is different is that a lot of this has been caught on video.  And so, if you do have things like ending racial profiling, collecting data, ending qualified immunity, which makes it possible for people to hold police officers and police departments accountable when they get it wrong, those are all things that will improve policing — excuse me — but will also improve the relationship between communities and police.

Because anyone who thinks that African Americans don't want protection from crime and don't want police to actually be there to serve and protect, they are suffering under a very wrong notion.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, I should say, I misspoke.  I said the shooting of two young Black men.  One was a young Black man.  The other was a young — a teenager, Latino, who was 13 years old.

But, David, do you think these measures can make a difference?

David Brooks:  Yes, I think they have.  I think our policing has improved from where it was.

I was briefly a police reporter on the South and West Side of Chicago.  And there was an atmosphere then — maybe there still is, but I think it's probably less — of:  It's us vs. the world, that we cops are the good guys and the world is an awful place.

And so there was almost a military attitude.  And that military culture is something experts talk about in the training of policing.  And that's just not the right attitude.  And the hard part about this is, there are like, I think, 18,000 police forces in this country.  It's hyperlocal.  A lot of them are under-resourced.  A lot have their own cultures.

But changing that culture, so that people are out in the neighborhood, I think, has helped.  And getting diverse work forces has helped a bit.  So, I'm — this has been awful to watch these things, but it's not like it's something we haven't made some progress toward.

Judy Woodruff:  Something else I want to ask both of you about, the decision by President Biden, Jonathan, to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by September 11.  It will have been 20 years since the United States was attacked, of course, by al-Qaida.

The President's argument is that this was never meant to be a war that lasted this long, in his words, a multigenerational war.  And he also made the argument we don't need — the threat has metastasized around the world, and we can't fight it any longer with boots on the ground in one country.

What do you make of his argument and of the decision?

Jonathan Capehart:  I — excuse me — I think his argument is one that we should we should take seriously and one that we need to deal with.

Yes, the threat has metastasized around the world.  And it isn't just coming out of Afghanistan.  And it does make sense to remove our troops and have them nimble enough to respond to those.

And let's keep in mind, when there are 10,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, 2,500 of them are U.S. troops.  So, we're not talking about the 100,000 troops on the ground as we had in 2011.  So, this is an easier lift.

But the other thing to keep in mind is the number of people who have cycled through there.  I have some stats here, 30,000 — 2,300 dead, 20,000 wounded; 30,000 U.S. service members have been deployed to Afghanistan at least five times.

And we're talking about not a broadly shared sacrifice.  We're talking about a narrowly shared sacrifice, and not even shared at all, when you have 1 percent of the American population serving in the military.

So this was not an easy decision, I would think, for the President, but the fact that he made it and said — and set a deadline, which is very controversial, but he wants the United States out.  And I give him credit for making a very tough decision.

Judy Woodruff:  And, David, what's your thinking on this?

David Brooks:  Yes, I disagree.  I think it's a grave mistake.

I think every expert that I read, or at least most of them, seem to believe that the Taliban will take over Afghanistan, will take over Kabul and the major cities.  And that's not going to be good for girls who want to go to school.  That's not good for people who want to enjoy a life of freedom.

That's a return to something pretty ugly.  We have only 2,500 there, but they're protecting the 10,000 — the other NATO troops, who are doing most of the training.  Our men and women in uniform are not on front-line combat, by and large, anymore.

And so it's not as onerous a lift as it was before.  And to preserve a somewhat free society, I think, is the right thing to do.  If the U.S. pulls out all, the other NATO forces are expected to pull out, and then we will be back.

And I understand the impatience.  It's been 20 years, but we have been in North Korea a long — or in South Korea a long time.  We have been in Europe a long time.  I think these things can sometimes serve a use.  And I say that while saluting the sacrifice of the people go over there.

Judy Woodruff:  Just briefly, Jonathan, what's — what do you say to this argument it's leaving a lot of people in the lurch in Afghanistan?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, no, I understand that argument.  And David makes a — makes a very good point that we — Afghan women and girls probably face danger.  Afghanistan could collapse, but could and might, not assured.

And so, like I said, this was not an easy decision.  In some ways, it's a gamble.  But I think it's one that the President felt he had to make.

Judy Woodruff:  David?

David Brooks:  Yes, listen, we're not going to be the world's policemen anymore.  We're not going to be the kind of superpower we were in the aftermath of World War II.

But we still are the biggest power in the world.  And I think with that comes opportunities to try to preserve civilization when you can.  And that doesn't mean going to war.  That doesn't mean putting our men and women in combat, but guarding people who are training the Afghan soldiers to go into combat, that seems to me a right balance to strike.

Judy Woodruff:  Sobering stuff at the end of this week.

David Brooks, Jonathan Capehart, thank you both.

Jonathan Capehart:  Thanks, Judy.

David Brooks:  Thank you, Judy.

GUN IN AMERICA - FedEx Shooting

"Indianapolis mayor calls for national action on gun laws after FedEx shootingPBS NewsHour 4/16/2021


SUMMARY:  Police in Indianapolis have spent Friday looking for answers after a gunman shot eight people to death and then killed himself.  The incident prompted President Biden to call the nation’s gun violence incidents a “national embarrassment.”  The bloodshed stunned a city that's been hard hit by gun violence, and its mayor is calling for national action.



"New details, but few answers, about Thursday’s Indianapolis shootingPBS NewsHour 4/17/2021


SUMMARY:  More details about the mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility Thursday night continue to emerge, including the names of victims, that the FBI had previously interviewed the shooter, and that half of those dead from the shooting come from a Sikh background, raising more questions around the killer’s motive.  Lawrence Andrea, Public Safety and Breaking News Reporter for the Indianapolis Star, has been covering the shooting and joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

CANADA'S WAY - Critical Care

IMHO: Many may have noted that America DOES NOT have the best health care system in the world.  Why?  In America health care is a for-profit business which puts profit ahead of actually providing good health care, it's 'health care on the cheep.'

"What Canada’s universal health system could teach the U.S. about managing a pandemicPBS NewsHour 4/15/2021


SUMMARY:  More than 30 million Americans have gone without health insurance in the last year.  Other high-income nations cover their entire populations for a lot less money than the U.S. already spends.  But does a universal health care system help save lives in a pandemic?  For answers, William Brangham looks to our northern neighbor Canada and its single-payer system.

THE CAPITAL INSURRECTION - Analyzing the Capitol Police

"A picture of disorganization: Analyzing Capitol Police’s failures on January 6PBS NewsHour 4/15/2021


SUMMARY:  Lawmakers Thursday continued to assemble their picture of what went wrong on January 6.  An internal watchdog testified about his ongoing review of U.S. Capitol Police, and shared his initial conclusions about why their defense failed that day after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building.  Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins has the report.

THE PONZI KING - Bernie Madoff Dies in Prison at 82

"The rise and fall of ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie MadoffPBS NewsHour 4/14/2021


SUMMARY:  Former financier Bernie Madoff, who organized the largest fraud in Wall Street's history, died Wednesday.  He swindled major charities, universities and celebrities out of billions, and was serving 150 years in prison.  Stephanie Sy has our report about his rise and fall.

RACE MATTERS - Policing in America

"The common ground between law enforcement and activists’ call to ‘defund the police’PBS NewsHour 4/14/2021


SUMMARY:  As the nation watches the trial of Derek Chauvin, we return to the debate that George Floyd's death ignited.  Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault spoke with current and former law enforcement officers about "defunding the police," and what reforms they believe are needed to improve relations between them and the communities they serve.  It's part of our ongoing series, Race Matters.

BABCOCK RANCH - A Solar-Powered Town

"Small Florida community aims for energy independence by harnessing the power of the sunPBS NewsHour 4/13/2021


SUMMARY:  Florida may be called the Sunshine State, but it is no stranger to the damaging impacts of climate change.  Miles O'Brien profiles one small Florida community that is trying to take advantage of all that sunshine, billed as the country's first solar-powered town.  This report is part of our collaborative series on climate change and its consequences, "Covering Climate Now."

MEMORIAM - Sergeant Ray Lambert, Age 100 RIP

"Remembering the heroic army medic who was in the first wave at Omaha BeachPBS NewsHour 4/12/2021


SUMMARY:  Sergeant Ray Lambert, the army medic in the first wave that assaulted Omaha Beach on D-Day, died this past Friday night, at age 100.  Two years ago on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, he spoke with our Malcolm Brabant beside the concrete block where he saved many lives that fateful day.