PBS NewsHour full episode, Feb. 3, 2023

PBS NewsHour full episode, Feb. 3, 2023

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AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening and welcome. I'm Amna Nawaz. GEOFF BENNETT: And I'm Geoff Bennett. On the "NewsHour" tonight: Hiring surges nationwide, but longer-term trends show an increasing number of working-age men are dropping out of the labor force altogether.

AMNA NAWAZ: What U.S. officials call a Chinese surveillance balloon spotted flying over the Central United States raises tensions in the already strained relationship between the two nations. GEOFF BENNETT: And Western states that rely on the drought-stricken Colorado River fail to reach an agreement on cutting water consumption.

We take a look at what it means. (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Welcome to the "NewsHour." We are following two major stories tonight. Defense Department officials are tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that is making its way across the Central part of the U.S. GEOFF BENNETT: And job growth surged last month, shaking off fears of a hiring slowdown. Let's delve first into the economic news.

Employers added 517,000 jobs last month, a hiring boom far stronger than anyone had expected. The jobless rate dropped to 3.4 percent. That's the lowest level in 53 years.

The latest jobs report also underscores the challenges facing Federal Reserve officials, who are focused on slowing inflation. And, as economics correspondent Paul Solman tells us, it fuels more questions about a labor market that's proven more resilient for months now. JULIA POLLAK, ZipRecruiter: A big surprise. PAUL SOLMAN: Labor economist Julia Pollak on today's jobs report.

JULIA POLLAK: So many leading indicators turned sharply negative in the fourth quarter. Investment has been slow. Consumer spending has also been relatively sluggish. And yet, against that backdrop, job growth is exploding. PAUL SOLMAN: In fact, the latest jobs report found widespread hiring, particularly strong in hospitality, leisure, and health care.

The latest revisions also found job growth was stronger than first reported in the past two months. But the pace of wage growth slowed in January, something the Federal Reserve wants to see more of before it stops raising interest rates. JULIA POLLAK: This report is sort of the stuff of economics fiction. At a time of rapidly rising interest rates, to have both falling inflation and falling unemployment is almost unheard of.

It's almost as though we're in the world with $20 bills on the sidewalk and free lunches. PAUL SOLMAN: President Biden didn't go quite that far this morning, but he did take credit for a surge of hiring since he took office. JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: We have created more jobs in two years than any presidential term in two years. That's the strongest two years of job growth in history, by a long shot. PAUL SOLMAN: And yet employers still need more workers, a reported two job openings for every officially unemployed person in America. That's why the Fed may be concerned about the hiring boom announced this morning.

The slowdown it wanted to see hasn't happened yet. But a major puzzle remains. The cost of living is up substantially, and yet the labor force participation rate is even lower than it was before the pandemic, which helps explain why there ere are millions of jobs unfilled. So, why the shortfall? JULIA POLLAK: The main reason is a huge decline in participation among older workers. And part of that may be driven by long COVID. We have seen an increase in the number of people reporting disabilities, especially cognitive disabilities.

PAUL SOLMAN: Now, a bigger factor may be the work force exit of healthy prime-age working men between the ages of 25 and 54. One familiar explanation, says Pollak. JULIA POLLAK: The U.S. economy has experienced a hollowing out of the jobs in the middle, high-wage jobs with strong retirement benefits that used to be common among men without college degrees. Now software has eaten many of those jobs. And so non-college educated men have actually seen their working prospects fall.

JOHN LILLY, Job Seeker: I do have lots of friends who just stopped working. They're not even trying. They have fallen off the work force. PAUL SOLMAN: Fifty-four-year-old John Lilly, recently laid off and looking for work, has a few friends without degrees who have just given up. But how can they afford it? JOHN LILLY: I think they're just couch-surfing on their parents' couches at 50 years old, waiting for people to die, so they can inherit the house and that sort of thing. It's just a really bizarre situation right now.

PAUL SOLMAN: And some of his peers simply balk at conforming to new workplace norms, he says. JOHN LILLY: Something like the pronouns, the gender pronouns, seem stupid to a middle-aged person. But it's not stupid if you want to get a job. If you want to get along with the work culture, you have to keep up with culture in general. PAUL SOLMAN: But a hollowed-out labor market as the main cause of the male worker shortfall seems a stretch to economist Nicholas Eberstadt, who published "Men Without Work" in 2016, now in a post-pandemic edition.

NICHOLAS EBERSTADT, Economist and Demographer, American Enterprise Institute: The received wisdom is that economic and structural change is driving the decline in work force participation for men, outsourcing, decline of manufacturing, less demand for less skilled work. All of that is fine as far as it goes, but it's really only part of the story, and I don't think it's even most of the story. PAUL SOLMAN: And most of the story is? NICHOLAS EBERSTADT: Disability payments, dropouts, unintended consequences of our social welfare guarantees, and the invisible ex-con population, which is now maybe 25 million people in the United States. PAUL SOLMAN: And when you say ex-con, you mean they are formerly convicted, not necessarily formerly incarcerated? NICHOLAS EBERSTADT: Only one in 10 persons who has a felony conviction in their background is currently serving in prison. It's an order of magnitude bigger than our incarceration situation in the United States. MIKE TYNER, Chicago Resident: It's been almost impossible to get a job that pays a living wage.

PAUL SOLMAN: Mike Tyner is one such American, though he did serve time on a bank robbery conviction. A college grad with a 3.7 GPA, even some grad school, he's had six actual job offers, all rescinded because of his felony conviction. MIKE TYNER: I get it. You don't want me working in a bank if I robbed a bank.

I get you don't want me working around money if I have had an issue with money in the past. But I can't clean a bus? PAUL SOLMAN: OK, felony convictions, a hollowing-out economy, government benefits, long COVID, a long list, but even that's not all. TOM MCFARLAND, Missouri Resident: Childcare is very expensive and hard to acquire right now. PAUL SOLMAN: Thirty-three-year-old new stay-at-home dad Tom McFarland offers yet another reason. TOM MCFARLAND: Financially, it turned out to be where childcare was basically going to take up our whole paycheck. So I chose to become a stay-at-home parent.

PAUL SOLMAN: His wife, a veterinarian, supports the family on her salary. No surprise, as women keep outpacing men in college degrees, and thus in earning potential. TOM MCFARLAND: In our case, it made financial sense and good professional sense. PAUL SOLMAN: Has he noticed more men his age becoming house husbands? TOM MCFARLAND: Mm-hmm. Yes.

It made me feel more comfortable making the decision. PAUL SOLMAN: And how does he respond when asked why he's not working? TOM MCFARLAND: I'm currently working. I'm just working as a parent at home. I'm very proud to become -- to be a stay-at-home parent.

I'm very proud to be a father. PAUL SOLMAN: So, the moral of this story is pretty clear. Prime-age men have dropped out for lots reasons, contributing mightily to the curious case of a high-cost-of-living economy with not enough workers to go round.

For the "PBS NewsHour," Paul Solman. AMNA NAWAZ: Turning now to our other lead story tonight, Secretary Blinken decided to postpone a high-profile trip to Beijing this weekend, in response to what the U.S. calls a Chinese spy balloon currently floating eastward across the country.

Nick Schifrin has that story. MAN: It's about 5:30 on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. NICK SCHIFRIN: It was first spotted over Montana. MAN: I have no idea what this thing is.

I hope it is in focus. NICK SCHIFRIN: This morning spotted 1,000 miles to the southeast above St. Joseph, Missouri. The U.S. calls it a spy balloon. Beijing today called it a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes, that deviated far from its plan course.

"The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship in the U.S. airspace due to force majeure," or uncontrolled forces. But senior U.S. officials say it is maneuverable, designed for surveillance, and Beijing was -- quote -- "trying to fly this balloon over sensitive sites."

Montana is home to one of the U.S.' three intercontinental ballistic missile silos. Yesterday, the U.S. mobilized F-22 jets. But administration officials says President Biden took his military advisers advice and decided not to shoot the balloon down because of the risk to people on the ground. BRIG.

GEN. PATRICK RYDER, Pentagon Press Secretary: We do recognize that any potential debris field would be significant and potentially cause civilian injuries or deaths or significant property damage. NICK SCHIFRIN: Today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled what would have been the most senior trip of the Biden administration to China. ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. Secretary of State: What this has done is created the conditions that undermine the purpose of the trip, including ongoing efforts to build a floor under the relationship and to address a broad range of issues that are of concern to the American people, I believe to the Chinese people, and certainly as well to people around the world.

NICK SCHIFRIN: U.S. officials say China has sent spy balloons over the U.S. before, but never for this extended period of time and never right before a secretary of state visit. ANTONY BLINKEN: The most important thing right now in the moment is to see that this surveillance asset gets out of our airspace. NICK SCHIFRIN: But House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Representative Mike McCaul said the administration should have shut it down earlier.

"This balloon should have never been allowed to enter U.S. airspace. It now poses a direct and ongoing national security threat to the U.S. homeland." PAUL FETKOWITZ, Kaymont Consolidated Industries: It's certainly not a standard weather balloon. That's a given. NICK SCHIFRIN: Paul Fetkowitz owns Kaymont Consolidated Industries, the largest American provider of meteorological balloons to the U.S. government, including the military PAUL FETKOWITZ: We can see on it that there's solar arrays to have a battery power to supply power to maybe a camera, maybe a heat source.

The fact that they don't want us to gently bring the balloon down in our territory and have us go grab it for them is -- it's kind of saying something to me that they don't want -- they don't want anybody to get their hands on this balloon. MAN: We got this weird thing above us. This thing is weird. NICK SCHIFRIN: The current trajectory shows the balloon will float toward the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. officials won't reveal their plans, other than to say they're monitoring it. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Nick Schifrin.

MAN: It is not the moon. GEOFF BENNETT: In the day's other headlines: Some of the coldest weather in decades descended on the Northeast and New England. Those venturing outside faced windchills that could reach 50 below this weekend. Many communities opened warming centers and closed schools today. Elsewhere, the weather began to warm in Texas after an ice storm this week, but power was still out to more than 100,000 customers around Austin. Utilities said they could not estimate how long repairs will take.

The U.S. has announced another big military package for Ukraine worth more than $2 billion and including longer-range rockets that can fly nearly twice as far as the rockets provided so far. Meantime, in Kyiv today, European Union leaders pledged their continued support. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the war has reached a pivotal point. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, Ukrainian President (through translator): We are preparing.

I believe, we believe, intelligence and military, that Russia will increase pressure in the country's east. Russia wants revenge in the area where they did not succeed. Our task is to prevent this from happening. And I believe we have a chance. GEOFF BENNETT: Zelenskyy vowed his forces will resist Russia's ongoing assault on Bakhmut in Eastern Ukraine for as long as possible.

Pope Francis arrived in South Sudan today, urging the country's leaders to make peace after years of war. He was welcomed by the president and thousands of well-wishers. Later, he warned that history will judge those who worked to end the fighting and those who did not. The pope was joined by Anglican and Scottish Presbyterian leaders, along with Catholics. Their followers make up most of South Sudan's population.

Back in this country, the U.S. Agriculture Department is calling for school cafeterias to cut back on added sugar and sodium. The agency today proposed new standards, including the first ever limits on sugar in yogurt, cereal and other foods. Those rules would take effect by the fall of 2027. Cuts in sodium levels would take effect two years later.

Police in Dallas have arrested a man in a series of strange events at the city zoo. He's charged with animal cruelty and the taking of two emperor tamarin monkeys this week. The monkeys disappeared Monday from their enclosure. Police found them the next day at a vacant house. Zoo official said today the tamarins are recovering. HARRISON EDELL, Dallas Zoo: We're treating their return to the zoo as if they were coming from an unknown source.

So they're in a medical quarantine right now to make sure that they settle back in, that they regained some weight, and that the stress of their theft and removal from known habitat doesn't have longer-lasting effects on them. GEOFF BENNETT: The same suspect is also charged with burglary for allegedly letting a small leopard escape and trying to cut open another monkey enclosure. The leopard was found later still inside the zoo. A fourth incident, the death of a vulture, remains under investigation. There's no word on a motive.

And, on Wall Street, the January jobs data revived fears that the Federal Reserve will push bigger interest rate hikes to slow the economy and dampen inflation. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 128 points to close at 33926. The Nasdaq fell nearly 194 points, or 1.5 percent, and the S&P 500 was down 1 percent. Still to come on the "NewsHour": abortion providers resort to mobile centers to meet women's health care needs; David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart weigh in on the week's political headlines; and a global music festival helps international musicians reach larger audiences.

AMNA NAWAZ: Beyond today's headlines about an apparent surveillance balloon and Secretary Blinken's canceled trip to Beijing lie the much broader relationship between the world's two largest economies. The U.S. and China are competing for influence on many fronts across the world. Here again is Nick Schifrin. NICK SCHIFRIN: To better focus the U.S. government's efforts to confront China, the new Congress created a new panel to examine the relationship, the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. With me now are the new committee's two leaders, Republican Chairman Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Democratic Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, for their first joint interview.

Gentlemen, thank you very much. Welcome to the "NewsHour." Chairman Gallagher, let me start with you on the news of the day. Defense officials told congressional staffers today that the balloon entered continental U.S. airspace on January 31. Do you believe they could have and should have shot this balloon down safely at that point? REP.

MIKE GALLAGHER (R-WI): Yes, I do, particularly if we were tracking it as it transited over the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, I don't think there's any serious concern about debris in that area. Furthermore, I don't know why we didn't have the same ability to shoot it down over sparsely populated areas of Canada, in partnership with our allies in Canada, or even Montana -- Montana. And if the Pentagon is telling us that they don't have this capability, well, then that's a capability we absolutely need to develop going forward. And we need to be using our defense budget in order to develop that capability.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Ranking Member, Chairman Milley today told congressional officials that DOD needed a 20-mile-by-20 mile box to safely bring this down, and it wasn't safe to bring it down, for fear of some kind of civilian casualties on the ground. Do you agree with that? REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): I think we should defer to the military leaders, like Chairman Milley, as well as the head of the Northern Command. I think that they also have pointed out that this particular balloon is no longer collecting intelligence, perhaps because of countermeasures. And then, at the end of the day, not -- there's the risk, obviously, of the debris field injuring somebody or causing property damage.

But we also, in my opinion, want to preserve the tech. In a lot of cases -- and both Mike and I are members of the Intelligence Committee as well -- we want to be able to know exactly what the technological capabilities are of the Chinese Communist Party. So preserving that technology and being able to learn more about it is invaluable as well. NICK SCHIFRIN: Ranking Member, sorry, let me just make sure I understand.

You believe that they could have brought the balloon down safely and preserved the tech? REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI: If they can do that, I think they will -- they will probably do everything they can to make that happen. Perhaps it will lose altitude and in a sparsely populated area of the country and thank will be able to recover it, and then we can examine it. And then I'm sure the Chinese will want it back.

And we will say, we will return it upon determining that it's proper for weather purposes at the appropriate time. NICK SCHIFRIN: Chairman Gallagher, U.S. officials telling me that they were concerned about sending Secretary Blinken to Beijing while the balloon was over U.S. airspace. Do you believe they made the right decision in postponing his trip? REP. MIKE GALLAGHER: I do. I called for it this morning.

And I think he should just cancel the trip, as opposed to a postponement. But maybe that's semantics. I think the next time we meet, the Chinese officials should come to America.

And I think we deserve an apology for this violation of U.S. sovereignty. I think this tells us something fundamental about the regime we're dealing with here. And just remember the way in which Chinese diplomats acted in the first meeting that they had with Secretary Blinken in Alaska, berating them, talking about the horrible human rights record in America. Remember what they did to Wendy Sherman. So it's definitely in their playbook to do something like this in order to embarrass our diplomats. And the optics of a grip-and-grin with Xi Jinping, I think, just would have looked bizarre so soon after this incident.

So they made the right call. And I think it kind of gets to the core mission that we have on the Select Committee on China. We believe our foreign policy is stronger when Republicans and Democrats are working together.

It's why I'm so thrilled and couldn't be more excited to work with Raj. We have a long history of working together on foreign policy issues. I have a profound respect for his intellect. I know we have a shared understanding of the ideological, economic and military threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party. So we're really excited to work together on the preeminent foreign policy challenge of our lifetime. NICK SCHIFRIN: Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi, the administration says it wants to keep dialogue open with Beijing.

So why not send Secretary Blinken to read them the riot act, sure, during every meeting, but also discuss so many of the issues that your committee also is going to be discussing publicly? REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, first of all, I want to thank Mike for those kind words. I echo his sentiments about working with him, even though he is a Green Bay Packers fan. But setting that aside for a moment, I have to say that, with regard to Secretary Blinken going to China, or the People's Republic of China, that would be a bad move, because what they did was, they violated American airspace and our sovereignty.

And that basically undermines their diplomatic overtures and questions -- and it calls into question the sincerity of those overtures. So I think it's appropriate for Secretary Blinken to postpone the trip. I'm sure that they're communicating in other ways right now. And I hope that they make it very clear that this is completely unacceptable going forward, especially if we want to, as Secretary Blinken said, set a floor for our relationship, because it hasn't been improving the way it should be over the past couple of years. NICK SCHIFRIN: Let me ask you both about Taiwan. Yesterday, CIA Director Bill Burns said that, as a matter of intelligence, the U.S. believes

Xi Jinping ordered his military to be prepared, not necessarily a decision, but prepared to invade Taiwan by 2027. Chairman Gallagher, do you think the U.S. is willing to go to war over Taiwan and the American people are prepared to suffer the massive casualties that the military believes might happen if that war actually gets instigated? REP. MIKE GALLAGHER: Well, I'm concerned that we are doing things counterproductive to the defense of Taiwan, such as trying to cut the size of the U.S. Navy. The Biden administration's plan, defense plan, that they submitted last year would have had the Navy bottom out in 2027, at the worst possible point.

We're talking about our priority force in the priority theater. So I have been concerned at the lack of urgency. I believe we have entered the window of maximum danger. We have obviously had a memo recently by an Air Force general saying that things could get frisky in 2025. I'm worried about 2024, particularly after the Taiwanese elections in January of 2024.

So we need to be moving heaven and earth to restore our deterrent posture in the Indo-Pacific. That being said, I salute the administration's recent announcement of enhanced basing agreements with both Japan and the Philippines. That's a massive step forward. What we're seeing the Japanese do on their own, increasing their defense spending, is a massive help to our efforts. So those are good things. We just need to be moving with a greater sense of urgency.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi, obviously, we hear a lot about the military not moving fast enough, despite some of the moves that Chairman Gallagher just mentioned. But I also talk to some experts who fear the opposite, who say that, alongside the steps that the U.S. is taking in the Pacific, alongside the assurance given to allies, there needs to be more reassurance to Beijing and that, without that reassurance, Beijing could feel backed into a corner, leading to the very war that the U.S. is trying to deter. What do you say to those voices? REP.

RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think that we should provide clear messages about red lines. And I think that the Biden administration has been communicating those, just as President Biden did recently with Chairman Xi. But, at the end of the day, the Chinese Communist Party is throwing its elbows in its neighborhood, whether it's in the South China Sea, whether it's with regard to Taiwan, or whether it's with regard to others who desperately seek an international rules-based order in that region of the world. And that's why we have to work with our partners, friends and allies in the region to help supply their defensive needs and work with them for our collective mutual defense to deter aggression.

At the end of the day, we do not want a cold war. We don't want a hot war. We don't want open hostilities. But the only way to do that is to prepare our mutual defense to discourage and deter aggression, and then, hopefully, work with Beijing on common long-term challenges, whether it's fighting climate change, or even bringing an end to the war in Ukraine.

But right now, with this balloon situation, it obviously exposes that the threat is real from the Chinese Communist Party. NICK SCHIFRIN: Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi, Chairman Gallagher of the new House Select Committee on China, thank you very much to you both. REP. MIKE GALLAGHER: Thank you. REP.

RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you. GEOFF BENNETT: This was a major week in the battle out West over water use. Seven states along the Colorado River Basin were supposed to have reached a collective agreement on how to use less water from an ever-shrinking river. But they failed to do so.

Six states reached a modest agreement, but it would have required major cuts in water use by California, which is the largest user. California, for its part, submitted its own proposal. But that stalemate may force the federal government to make difficult cuts instead. William Brangham has more for our occasional series on water issues called Tipping Point. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Geoff, the central issue here is that the amount of water flowing down the Colorado River is shrinking, while the demand for that water by those states is growing. A megadrought compounded by climate change is directly at odds with the thirsty cities and farms of the American West.

The water of the Colorado River is collected in the country's two biggest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. And those lakes are now three-quarters empty. The Biden administration asked those seven states to cut their collective withdrawal from the Colorado by about a third.

But we are a long way from getting there. For more on all of this, I'm joined by Rhett Larson. He's a water rights professor at Arizona State University.

Rhett Larson, so good to have you on the "NewsHour." Could you just elaborate a little bit? You -- I laid out what seems to be the essential issue here. Is that -- what would you add to that? RHETT LARSON, Arizona State University: Well, what we're going through right now is a little bit like a bankruptcy proceeding.

It's like the river declaring bankruptcy. From the very beginning of the way that the states had shared the Colorado River, we had made assumptions about how much the river could pay out in any given year. Those assumptions that were made, now a century ago, were wrong. And we're paying the price for those incorrect assumptions.

Now, those assumptions were wrong both because the data was bad 100 years ago. It's also wrong because the population has obviously changed a lot. And it's wrong because the climate has changed quite a bit. So, even though we're getting around 90 percent of our normal snowpack and precipitation, our winters are so short and they're so hot, that a lot of that water just isn't reaching the river.

So this combination of factors has caused what is something like a bankruptcy proceeding, where you have lots of people who have a claim to a common resource, and the resource just can't pay out to everyone who has a claim to it. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So those seven states were supposed to come up with a plan. Six of them did come up with a plan, not including California. The six states that did submit a plan relied a lot on the issue of evaporation in their argument. Can you succinctly explain what they were arguing? RHETT LARSON: Sure.

So it's -- you mentioned having too many straws in the river or too many users. Well, there's a user that we have never really accounted for. And that user is the atmosphere.

The atmosphere takes away about 1.5 million acre feet away from the lower basin of the Colorado River every year. But we don't treat that as if it's a use that's being taken out of the river. So, part of the proposal of those six basin states is, let's just treat that 1.5 million

acre feet like it's a user taking that amount of water out, and we will just spread those cuts out amongst everyone who is using the river. Now, the way to spread those cuts out is complicated, but probably best that the people who have to move the water the farthest are the people who have to take the biggest cuts, because they're moving through canals that are open to the air, and they're losing the most water to evaporation. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, what is California arguing in this? It's the biggest user by far, principally California agriculture. And it's the longest owner of those rights.

What are they arguing? RHETT LARSON: Well, we have been through a series of negotiations in the last several years about how to share in shortage. But, for decades, California has had what is senior priority. So, in the Western United States, we operate under a prior appropriation regime, the first in time, the first in right.

California, for a host of reasons, sits at or near the front of the line when it comes to those water uses. So California's argument is, we have senior priority. We are the first user with legal rights. So we shouldn't have to take cuts first. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Amidst all of this haggling in a shrinking river, and there's this issue of what's called dead pool.

Can you explain what dead pool is and what would happen if we hit that point? RHETT LARSON: Dead pool is the point at which the reservoir levels have sunk so low that we can't take water out of the reservoir anymore. So, effectively, we're no longer regulating the river with a dam. It just becomes a run of the river, meaning the river is just flowing and there's no storage. The -- when you talk about California's power, its political power, its economic power, its legal power, you might ask, why would they ever make a compromise? Why would they ever compromise? Part of that is the risk of dead pool is so real and its risk is so imminent within the next couple of years. And dead pool would affect all of us, that it is in everyone's best interest, all the basin states to come up with a solution, because dead pool is a legitimate risk within the next couple of years if we don't act soon. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Rhett Larson at Arizona State University, thank you so much.

RHETT LARSON: My pleasure. Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: In some parts of the country, access to abortion care depends on how far a person can travel. Missouri has banned the procedure. But, in neighboring Illinois, abortion remains legal, and providers there will soon be working along the state border to be able to reach more patients. "PBS NewsHour" communities correspondent Gabrielle Hays joins us with more on the abortion landscape in the Midwest.

Gabby, it's good to see you. So, abortion outlawed in Missouri for more than six months now, no exceptions for rape or incest, limited exceptions for medical emergencies, we should say. In that time, as you have been reporting, what have you seen in terms of both how many people are actually seeking abortion access and how providers are meeting that need? GABRIELLE HAYS: Yes, absolutely. Well, the first thing is, 100 days after Roe fell, providers -- Planned Parenthood made the announcement that they would be launching a mobile clinic at the Southern Illinois border.

And I should say, that's the first time that they have ever done anything like that. Providers there tell me that is in response not only to a stark rise in people looking for care, but also it serves as a symbol of their act of defiance in a post-Roe era, is what I was told. And so that mobile clinic, I'm told, is set to launch in the coming months, and that it will start with medication abortions, before transitioning into procedural abortions. But I think again we're talking about a state band where people are traveling from all over the state, so across our western border. We also know that Kansas now has telemedicine abortions.

And providers there tell me they're -- when they look at their parking lot, they're seeing license plates from all over the country, because people are coming there to utilize their resources. But it's also important to note that those things come with stipulations, right? So you have to be in Kansas in order to utilize the telemedicine abortions. And so I think, although it's not legal in the state of Missouri, the states around us are trying to figure out a way to provide those resources to people who are looking for care.

AMNA NAWAZ: Gabby, but, in Missouri, we're talking about abortion being outlawed, right? But in the state of Missouri, what about access to other kinds of reproductive care? What does that look like right now? GABRIELLE HAYS: Yes, absolutely. It's a good question, because the one thing that providers have stressed to me is that we're not only looking at a heightened sense of trying to figure out where people can find access to abortion, but access to health care, period. And there's an emphasis on rural areas. In the state of Missouri, according to the state's own data, we're looking at 33 percent of people in our state living in a rural county.

That's more than two million people, right, and so two million people looking for access to all kinds of care. And so Planned Parenthood recently took over a clinic in Rolla, Missouri. And that's where they're hoping to provide access to other types of reproductive care to people who live in rural Missouri. And I'm told that they are hoping, moving forward, to be able to expand to vasectomies and other types of care in that area. AMNA NAWAZ: Gabby, in about the minute or so we have left, we know that abortion ban in Missouri is being challenged. Where do those challenges stand right now? GABRIELLE HAYS: Absolutely.

Well, just days before the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, we had 13 clergy members from six different faith backgrounds who filed a lawsuit here in Missouri challenging the abortion ban. And what they're arguing is that it is unconstitutional because it takes one religious doctrine and imposes it on everybody else. And so we will be following -- following that lawsuit closely.

But that is the latest challenge here in Missouri. AMNA NAWAZ: That is our "PBS NewsHour" communities correspondent, Gabrielle Hays, reporting for us. Gabby, thank you so much. And you can read more of Gabby's reporting on abortion access online at PBS.org/NewsHour. GEOFF BENNETT: Democrats map a new path to the White House, the previous president's third run gets off to a sluggish start, and a balloon raises tensions between world superpowers. For analysis of the week's news, Brooks and Capehart.

That's New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post. It's great to see you both. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Hey, Geoff.

GEOFF BENNETT: And let's start with the race for the White House. Donald Trump's third presidential campaign appears to be off to a slow start. His fund-raising haul is less than what he certainly expected. His support among a key part of his base, white evangelicals, has splintered. Still, he's a known quantity. His base of support is larger than his prospective GOP rivals.

What's your assessment of his standing right now? DAVID BROOKS: I think, right now, he's sinking. The polls are all over the place, but the higher-quality polls show significant slippage. If you look at how many times he's mentioned on places like FOX News, it's plummeting.

If you listen to talk radio, friends of mine who listen more to conservative talk radio than I do say there's hostility. They're -- when he said he wouldn't necessarily endorse the Republican candidate, there was bitterness and hostility toward Trump, which you don't often see in that quarter. He's running a much more conventional campaign. In 2016, he was sort of the witty outsider. Now he's running a normal campaign, where he's trying to woo the Republican establishment.

His opponents are a lot better informed about what their party really wants. So I think, all in all, he could be saved by the fact that Republicans have winner-take-all primaries to a quite high degree. And so, if he gets 28 percent, he could get 100 percent of the delegates in some states. But, overall, I think there's a lot of evidence to show serious slippage. GEOFF BENNETT: Jonathan, Nikki Haley is expected to announce her bid, her presidential run on February 15.

Former Vice President Mike Pence is said to be in prayerful consideration of a potential 2024 bid. How do potential Trump challengers thread this needle of building a coalition without alienating Trump supporters? (LAUGHTER) JONATHAN CAPEHART: That's a great lesson for David. I mean, I -- that means getting into their heads. That, I don't know.

What we're going -- we're about to find out. Nikki Haley is going to be the canary in the coal mine. Mike Pence could be the next one. Ron DeSantis certainly will be the next one. To add on to something David was talking about, the Republican electorate is better informed, but I think these people who are considering jumping into the race against Donald Trump are better informed about who he is, how he reacts. The only thing we don't know is, how will they react when they get punched in the face rhetorically by Donald Trump? How do they react when the big negative stories come out, if they come out, about them, and then he attacks them? How do they respond? I think, right now, they have more to fear about their own abilities to run the race than they do about anything Donald Trump will do to them as an opponent.

GEOFF BENNETT: And, David, Republicans who say they want to turn the page away from the Trump era note that the GOP needs to keep the field from being too crowded, that that was what was -- that's what happened in 2016 that led to the emergence of Donald Trump the nominee. Might that happen again? DAVID BROOKS: I think, less than a 2016, if you go back and look at the polls where we were this time in 2016, there were a lot of people with nine or 10 points, Christie, Rubio, Ted Cruz. Now, right now, there's Trump and DeSantis, and everybody else is like 2. And so right now it's those two. And if it gets down to Trump and three others, I think the pressure on two of those three others drop out will be enormous. The thing that curious -- I'm curious about with the Republican field is, will the electorate split into two wings? Will there be a Trump wing, which could include both Trump and DeSantis, and then a regular Republican wing, which could include people like Larry Hogan, the former governor of Maryland, and Glenn Youngkin, the governor of Virginia? And so it could be that Trump and DeSantis are fighting over some of the same voters.

I'm not sure the party will split that neatly, but it could. GEOFF BENNETT: Well, let's talk about Ron DeSantis, because the Florida Republican governor widely expected to run for president. The College Board, this past week, they changed the course offering for their AP African American studies course following criticism from Ron DeSantis, and other Republicans. We spoke to the CEO of the College Board on this program this past week, and he said that the changes that were made to the course had nothing to do with the public discussion, with the criticism that the College Board faced.

Take a look. DAVID COLEMAN, Chief Executive Officer, The College Board: The revisions were complete by the end of December, far before this public discussion. And what the revisions were -- based only on two sources, the feedback from professors and students and teachers in the pilot course, and returning to principles that are true of every single AP course. GEOFF BENNETT: Do you buy with the College Board is saying? JONATHAN CAPEHART: I do. I do. We're talking about academics, not politicians.

I mean, these sorts of things happen in academia all the time. Just because you write a book, just because you teach a course, just because you have written an important article that was big in the social discussion doesn't automatically mean that it needs to be taught in a classroom. And I know I'm going to get in trouble with a lot of people. But I want to pull the camera, the aperture back here. What Ron DeSantis is doing is deeply, deeply insulting.

What he's basically saying to the nation and to African Americans, in particular, it's that your role in the building of this country, the maintenance of this country means nothing, that, without you, we could have gotten along just fine. And that's what's so -- it's insulting. It's hurtful. And think about this, Geoff. The fact that you and I are sitting here right now, you in an anchor chair, me as a guest, on television, could that have happened 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 1619? No, it couldn't. It couldn't have.

And one thing I like to remind people, particularly young people, history is not really history when you're talking about African Americans in this country. My cousins and I are the first generation in my family to not have to pick cotton. We are the first generation that did not have to live under Jim Crow. I'm 55 years old. That's how long this has been a democracy.

So, Governor DeSantis, if you want Americans to truly understand how great this country is, you cannot understand how great this country is without filling in those gaps and holes with the history of African Americans in this country. GEOFF BENNETT: David? DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I have known David Coleman a bit over the last several years, who you interviewed. He's always struck me as a remarkably upstanding guy, a guy who's very fair, meticulously wants everybody to feel represented in this test. So, I take him at his word.

And I think they have documents, dated documents, showing they made the changes. I would have told him, after the DeSantis thing, like wait a month, like, show some political ear, because there are people -- David Blight, who wrote a magisterial biography of Frederick Douglass... (CROSSTALK) DAVID BROOKS: ... he said, wait, what's going on? So there's questions people have. But I take them at their word that they -- the big change was, they realized high school students don't like theory.

They like primary documents. Well, I could have told them that. (LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: I know high school students.

And -- but so I think that, on the one hand, and then I agree with Jonathan on DeSantis, that, at a time -- at any time in American history, one needs to be forward-leaning about African American history. That's just -- that's been true and should have been true for -- since 1619. It certainly should have been true today. I mean, I would ask Ron DeSantis to go to the African American History Museum. It's a very fair portrayal of American history and a very moving -- it's -- they have done it -- they have -- Clarence Thomas is in their museum.

Susan Rice is in the museum, Condoleezza Rice. And so they span the diversity of Black history. And so you can do that.

And I trust that when -- at the end of the day, this curriculum will end up doing. GEOFF BENNETT: Well, in the time that remains, let's talk about what Democrats are going to be doing this weekend. They're going to vote on this new primary calendar proposed by President Biden that would do a number of things. It would remove Iowa from its primary position.

It would push South Carolina forward in the calendar, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada one week later, and then primaries in Georgia and Michigan. Jonathan, what's your assessment of this new strategy here? JONATHAN CAPEHART: I mean, those states are more representative of our country than Iowa going first, New Hampshire going next. They tried, the Democrats tried to rectify the situation by adding Nevada and then South Carolina. But, look, this country is changing quickly.

And if we're going to have a country -- if we're going to have an electorate that looks like the country voting for the president, we have got to change the system. And I think that the way that works, those states are great. My only question is, one week after the other? I -- that's the thing that gives me a little pause, not the states. GEOFF BENNETT: What about that? I mean, we expect President Biden to make his intentions known after the State of the Union address.

He is said to not want to deliver that address as a candidate. He wants to deliver it as a president. But if he's the only Democrat running, what difference does this calendar make? DAVID BROOKS: Well, maybe not much short term. I'm pretty sure he's going to run. GEOFF BENNETT: Yes.

DAVID BROOKS: And I'm pretty sure he's going to be the nominee. So -- but, long term, when I look at a calendar, I want three things. One, I want it to -- for the early states to be diverse. There were -- there was a period, I think Biden used to make this point, where a lot of candidates had dropped out of the race by the time 98 percent or 99 percent of Black and Latino voters could vote.

And so that seems wrong. Second, I want it to be a small state, because I don't want -- a big state, it just takes so much money to run. I feel, if you're -- if you're not an insider candidate with tons of fund-raising, you can't compete in Pennsylvania, Michigan. So, you want to -- South Carolina's reasonably small. And, third and most important, I want the state to be biased in the way I like Democratic candidates.

(LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: And so South Carolina is an older state. It's a military state. And so it tends to select the more moderate. So, if I'm Bernie Sanders, I'm probably not happy, or that kind of candidate. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Right. DAVID BROOKS: But a moderate Democrat, they -- it'll probably tend to favor them.

GEOFF BENNETT: David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, thanks, as always, for your insights. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thanks, Geoff. AMNA NAWAZ: The sounds of the world brought to New York for one night, and, from there, perhaps, to a club or concert hall or festival near you. Jeffrey Brown reports on the phenomenon called globalFEST, for our arts and culture series, Canvas.

JEFFREY BROWN: You have likely heard the marimba before, but not played quite like this. This is the Mexican band Son Rompe Pera, who've created a distinctive blend of, as the T-shirt says, cumbia, the traditional Latin American music, and punk. And here they were recently in what is for them a very unusual setting, New York's Lincoln Center. Jesus Gama is one of three brothers in the band. JESUS GAMA, Musician (through translator): To come here and play and be seen by different people from all over the world, that's something unique.

For a street band to arrive in these places is something very, very good, especially in Mexico, where it is difficult to get support. JEFFREY BROWN: International musicians being seen and supported to tour in the U.S., it's what the annual globalFEST gathering is about. The audience is a mix of the general public and, crucially, more than 1,000 representatives from performing arts centers around the country, eager to learn about new acts, and, if the stars align, bring them to their audiences back home.

ISABEL SOFFER, Co-Founder and Co-Director, globalFEST: It's a unique place, because you have an audience that's mixed with arts professionals and the general public, and you don't know who's who. So you don't know who you're sitting next to, but they might be booking a major festival or concert hall anywhere across the country or around the world. JEFFREY BROWN: Isabel Soffer co-founded globalFEST 20 years ago with Bill Bragin and Shanta Thake, who's also chief artistic officer here at Lincoln Center, which has now given globalFEST a new home for the festival. It began, says Soffer, after 9/11, amid fears of isolationism, a way to ensure more Americans are exposed to global culture.

ISABEL SOFFER: We know that music plays a key role in people's understanding of the world, and we take that really seriously. And we do want to challenge both the audiences and presenters, and to just think more critically about where these people are from. JEFFREY BROWN: This year, chosen from among hundreds of submissions, they came from countries including Morocco, the ecstatic singing and playing of the all-women group Bnat El Houariyat, joined by Algerian-American dancer Esraa Warda, and Spain, singer Maria Jose Llergo. And they represented varying styles of music, like that of the New York Arabic Orchestra. The event spreads across three stages, with overlapping performances, allowing the audience to move around, hear all 10 acts, and, for professional arts presenters, to do some serious business. Jamilla Deria is director of the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

JAMILLA DERIA, Executive Director, UMass Fine Arts Center: It's critical as a presenter who isn't in a major market. I think that to be able to fly to Marrakesh, and then France and Mexico City is a bit outside my budget range. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, much as you might want to. JAMILLA DERIA: Yes, as much as I -- but the ability to just fill up the gas tank and drive down to New York for a few days to be able to see these artists in person, not only experience their music, but the impact of their music on a Western audience, is invaluable.

JEFFREY BROWN: GlobalFEST is actually a satellite festival held at the same time as a much larger annual convention, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, or APAP. Here, Deria and thousands of others survey the current music, theater, and dance worlds and meet performers, agents, and managers to set up performances and tours. It's part of the country's performing arts ecosystem. They also meet other presenters who can band together, in the case of bringing global acts to this country, to defray the often large costs of travel, visas, and other touring expenses. JAMILLA DERIA: So you can talk to the presenter in East Tennessee or the presenter in Maine, and they could be, like, standing alongside you and say, hey, do you love this guy? I love this guy.

Let's do this. Let's bring them to our region. JEFFREY BROWN: And that makes it work economically? JAMILLA DERIA: The cost of bringing a group from across the world is not for the faint of heart.

(LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: There's always at least one act at globalFEST that doesn't have to travel so far, an American musician or group the festival curators believe is ready for a bigger audience. This year, it was The Legendary Ingramettes, wonderfully named, powerfully voiced. Started in by Maggie Ingram, now led by her daughter Almeta Ingram-Miller and based in Richmond, Virginia, this is a group that's been singing in one form or another for some six decades, suddenly getting a new kind of attention. REV. ALMETA INGRAM-MILLER, The Legendary Ingramettes: We didn't really realize how many people have been watching what we do.

We're still homegrown folks. We're still Richmond's first family of gospel. JEFFREY BROWN: True to their gospel roots, Miller says, The Ingramettes are about service, typically singing in churches, community centers, or schools. This, she knew, was going to be different. There's going to be hundreds or a few thousand presenters from around the country. REV.

ALMETA INGRAM-MILLER: Oh, my goodness. Listen, I... JEFFREY BROWN: And you know that, right? REV. ALMETA INGRAM-MILLER: I do. I do know. (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: Does that make you a little nervous? REV.

ALMETA INGRAM-MILLER: You know what? We're just going to have a good time and to share who we are and to share the music that we bring. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. On stage a short time later, The Legendary Ingramettes were sharing away to a happy crowd. And, possibly, if globalFEST magic holds, they will be sharing on a stage near you one day soon. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown at Lincoln Center in New York. GEOFF BENNETT: And there is much more online, including our interviews with several of the musicians up for Grammy Awards this Sunday.

And be sure to join Yamiche Alcindor and her panel later tonight on "Washington Week" for more on this week's meeting between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and on police reform efforts. AMNA NAWAZ: And watch "PBS News Weekend" with John Yang tomorrow for a look at the political and humanitarian crisis in Haiti. That is the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Amna Nawaz. GEOFF BENNETT: And I'm Geoff Bennett.

Have a great weekend.

2023-02-07 12:48

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