tv PBS News Hour PBS February 17, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, an uneven impact-- lower income neighborhoods bear a disproportionate burden of the effects of the ongoing massive winter storm. then, the resistance continues-- protests against the military coup in myanmar grow despite internet restrictions and police crackdowns. and, a return to the red planet. nasa sends another probe to mars with ambious goals in mind, including learning whether life ever existed on the now desolate surface. >> when we get those samples back in the laboratory, that's
what's going to give us our best opportunity to say whether or not some of those molecules that we're finding are actually biologic molecules. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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>> woodruff: most of the nation is still locked in the deep freeze tonight. a polar vortex that swept south with snow, ice and record cold temperatures is holding sway, and keeping the power off for nearly 3.4 million people. stephanie sy begins our coverage. >> sy: all across the country, americans grappled with the historic arctic weather system for another long day. >> it's so cold in the house you can see my breath. >> sy: and, a new round of winter weather threatened to engulf the southern and eastern parts of the country. the extreme conditions have left more than 100 million people under some type of winter storm warning or advisory. and states from nevada to mississippi are still struggling with power outages, after rolling blackouts were imposed.
in hardest hit texas: >> power will not be restored fully-- i would say-- probably for another couple of days. >> sy: ...warming centers have been set up to help those without heat. >> it's 20 degrees now. which has warmed up. yesterday, when i left my apartment at the retirement community, it was one degree. >> sy: 80-year old willie peterson hasn't had consistent power at his home on the outskirts of dallas since last weekend. >> on a personal level, i have done well, my kids care about me, i can manage for myself, but there are lots of people in our area who do not have choices. so the sadness for me is not personal. it's caring about these folks who were already marginalized and they can't go check into a hotel.
they don't have relationships where they can go and sleep on someone's sofa. >> sy: peterson is staying at his son's house, which has also been a refuge for others, housing up to eight people. but right before we spoke with him, his son's house also lost power. >> this is our neighborhood. >> sy: for greta griffin-hurd, a single mother in lake dallas, the worry is for her daughter, maya. >> what am i going tfeed her? you can't cook anything. no electricity. so you're hoping you have enough in your cupboard that you can because you don't know how long this is the last. >> sy: the temperatures have overwhelmed power grids in texas, and sparked misleading claims about what is to blame, including from the state's gornor. >> our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid. it just shows that fossil fuel is necessary. >> sy: abbot later clarified that natural gas and coal generators also went down.
n fact, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy were responsible for nearly twice as many outages as renewable energy sources. meanwhile, some cod vaccination sites in texas have closed, and in places like georgia, the weather has delayed vaccine shipments. this as heavy ice and snow is expeed from the gulf up to new england over the next few days. now we turn to two mayors managing the storm's impact. mayor david holt of oklahoma city. and mayor harry larosiliere of plano, texas. mr. mayors, thank you so much for joining the newshour. mr. larosiliere, i want to start with you. describe what you're seeing in plano, texas, today, the biggest obstacles. is it still extremely dangerous for folks there? >> yes, yes, it is. really, what we're finding is that we're not prepared for this
type of a weather event, from a state level and really from a city level, i think to clean up the streets and for people to feel safe out and about is challenging. and then the extreme pressure on our energy grid has created quite a bit of outages. and so we've seen-- we had up to 60,000 homes that were experiencing outages at the beginning, and it's now down to about 14,000, but there are still too many people that are in their homes and uncomfortable and can't-- and not, you know, in substandard living conditions. >> and mayor holt, i know there in oklahoma city, you're also experiencing power outages. yesterday, you had a temperature below minus 14 degrees, which set a record that hasn't been set since 1899. you also have your governor who is asking for a federal
declaration-- a disaster declaration for all the counties there. what are the biggest challenges for you there in oklahoma city? >> well, i think four things come to mind-- water. we have got 30 line breaks across our city. we've got usage that is double what it would normally be this time of year. between the high usage and water line breaks, we're trying to manage tht. and the breaks come from the prepost ruffle low temperatures that you just referred to. i think the second thing is the energy grid, and the mayor referred to■ç that. the grid affected us oned it with rolling blackut ons across the city. we're also dealing with people stlepg outside, and those experiencing homelessness. and as a community, we spent days, if not weeks, preparing for that. so i'm pleased that there is enough capacity, and there's a lot of people trying to get out there to bring those people
indoors. unfortunately, we had our first fatality in oklahoma city earlier today, so that was what we had feared. we hope that's the last one. and then the last thing are the roads. we're a 620-square-mile city. it is very difficult, obvious, for us to plow the roads. we focused on snow route. but fortunately, to this point, our residents have largely stayed home. that's what we've asked them to do. that's partly why our water usage is so high, but they've stayed home. and we haven't yet really encountered what could be a very problematic situation as this drags on. >> mayor larosiliere, i want to follow up on this power grid issue in texas. i spoke to texans today, including an 80-year-old man, who have been for days without power in subzero temperatures, or subfreezing temperatures. who do you hold accountable for that? >> i think any ected official, including myself, that's not focusing on a solution right now is not using our time effectively.
we have plenty of time to redo the recount of what went wrong and what could have been done better and ascribe the responsibility to the right party. but for now, i'm just focused on helping our citizens. >> mayor holt, i know oklahoma is also a big energy-producing state. texas governor, greg abbott, and others have used this moment to say that renewable energy sources are not reliable. i wonder what you think about those that are using this moment to make that point, which isn't really borne out with the facts here. the fact is oil, gas, and nuclear all went offline during this storm. >> yeah, well, oil and gas have always been a big part of oklahoma city's economy and, obviously, we support those energy sources. but we've also been a community that has embraced wind. you know, there's a lot of wind in oklahoma. and our local utility provider,
og & "e," use wind. wind has been challenged in this particular situation, because the turbines literally froze in place. but i don't think that necessarily is something that would cause you to abandon a diverse energy, you know, resource. because not every situation is going to be this one. you know, this was a once-in-a-generation lowering of temperatures, combined with massive snow. we don't see that kind of weather mix here in oklahoma very mentioned solutions, and climate change experts say we should expect more of these extreme weather events i wonder if this experience has made you think cities do need to be built to be more resilient against these extreme weather incidents. >> absolutely. we've taken proactive measures here in plano to be more resilient, and be prepared for weather events, such as this.
but certainly not to this extent. this is way past what we actually have prepared for. but it does sp speak to more ofa regional and state-level coordination that's required, in order for these type of events that seem to be happening more frequently, and be addressed in a more coordinated manner. >> mayor holt what, about you, do cities need to be built to be more resilient for climate change? >> in a place like oklahoma city, that means we need to be more prepared for this, not to be a once-in-a-generation event, and it's going to have to be more common, yes. we need to get pretty smart people around the table to tell us this is going to happen more often. because, otherwise, we probably wouldn't overprepare. you know, we're probably not going to build a city that is ready to have subzero temperatures for a week every year. that would be too expensive. our taxpayers wouldn't want to
do that. they'd rather just muddle through once every 20 years a situation like this. but if it's going to happen more often, often, cities like ours are going to have tough conversations. it seems like the last few years, i can admit, we are using the phrase "50-year storm" or "once-in-a-generation event" more and more often. >> we hope the reads of your cities get through the storm and we don't have more of these eventses. david holt of oklahoma city, and harry larosiliere of plano, texas, thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, the white house covid task force reported an average of 1.7 million americans are being vaccinated daily.
it was under one million a month ago. but, the task force also said johnson and johnson has only a few million doses of its vaccine ready to distribute once approved. in a town hall last night, president biden projected that enough vaccine will be available to inoculate all americans, by the end of july. the u.n. secretary-general is pleading for a more equitable distribution of covid vaccines worldwide. antonio guterres said today that just 10 countries have administered 75% of all vaccinations so far, and 130 countries have received no vaccine. he called it "wildly uneven and unfair." >> the rollout of covid-19 vaccines is generating hope. but at this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community. we must ensure that everybody
everywhere can be vaccinated as soon as possible. >> woodruff: meanwhile, japan finally launched its vaccination campaign, beginning with medical workers. the late rollout has raised concerns about whether japan can be ready to host the summer olympics in july. president biden called in labor leaders today to lobby for his covid relief package, totaling $1.9 trillion. they met in the oval office, and the president told them that "it's not about the money," but about the nation's needs. separately, he said he had a good conversation today with israeli prime minister netanyahu. they had not spoken since mr. biden took office. europe's top human rights court ordered russia today to release opposition leader alexei navalny from prison. the court suggested navalny's life is in danger. moscow rejected the ruling as
"crude interference" in russia's judicial system. navalny's imprisonment has also triggered mass protests across russia. nato leaders are urging the u.s. to consult before leaving afghanistan. president trump's deal with the taliban set may 1 as the deadline for pulling out the remaining 2,500 americans. the biden administration is reviewing that agreement. in brussels today, the nato secretary-general called for careful consideration. >> there are roughly 10,000 nato troops in afghanistan now and the majority of them are not from the united states. and i think that demonstrates thealue of nato-- also for the united states. because, the united states, when they went into afghanistan they didn't go alone. >> woodruff: nato leaders also said the taliban must curtail ongoing violence. the u.s. justice department charged three north koreans today in a scheme of cyber-theft
and revenge on behalf of their government. it included the 2014 attack on sony pictures entertainment and an attempt to steal more than $1.3 billion from banks. none of the three suspects is in u.s. custody. facebook blocked australians from viewing or sharing news on its platform. the company said it reacted to that action came today as the country's house of representatives voted to make facebook and google pay for publishing australian journalism. google has responded by negotiating payment google has responded to those proposals by negotiating payment deals with australian news south carolina is about to become the latest state to ban nearly all abortions. it would be triggered once a fetal heartbeat is detected. most democrats in the state house walked out in protest for a time today, but majority republicans ultimately passed the measure. the governor says he will sign it after a final procedural vote tomorrow.
on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained 90 points to close at 31,613. but, the nasdaq fell 82 points, and, the s&p 500 slipped one point. britain's prince philip, who is 99, is in a london hospital tonight. buckingham palace says he was husband of queen elizabeth was feeling ill, andhat he will remain hospitalized for a few days. it is not believe related to it is not believed related to covid-19, as the prince has already been vaccinated. and, talk radio host rush limbaugh died today. for more than 30 years, he trumpeted his brand of conservatism with a take-no- prisoners style that won compliments and condemnation. lisa desjardins looks at his career. >> desjardins: one of the most polarizing figures in american culture, rush limbaugh transformed talk radio and became a defining force in
republican politics. born in msouri, he started in radio in high school and dropped out of college to make it a career. one thabecame turbo charged in the 1980s, after the reagan era ended the fairness doctrine, allowing broadcasters to air one-sided political views. the “rush limbaugh show" launched in 1988. limbaugh was a brash, unapologetic conservative, shaming republicans he found wishy washy and railing against the left, urging ideological warfare, including here, against, president barack obama. >> we're in for a real battle. about it remaining the country we were all born into and reared and grown into. and it's under assault. it's always under assault. but it's never been under assault like this from within before. and it's a serious, serious battle. >> desjardins: but critics heard a voice for white, male power. limbaugh pushed the racist conspiracy theory that president obama was born outside the
united states and he hurled slurs at college student and birth control advocate sandra fluke. >> what does that make her? it makes her a slut right? it makes her a prostitute. >> desjardins: limbaugh's focus on culture war issues like immigration helped pave the way for donald trump. >> he was just great. he was a unique guy he became a friend of mine. >> desjardins: the former president called into fox news today. in past months, limbaugh amplified mister trump's false claims of election fraud. today, the former president stressed limbaugh's support, including a call at the start of his campaign. >> when we came down the escalator he liked my rather controversial speech i made that speech that was a little on the controversial side and he loved it and he was without ever having met him or talked to him or had lunch with him he was with me right from the beginning >> desjardins: liaugh announced his lung cancer diagnosis last february, and one day later, mister trump awarded him with the medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian award during the state of the union address. >> rush limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless
devotion to our country. >> desjardins: his effect was on display, with republicans standing, and democrats silent, some angry. unusually, limbaugh himself was speechless. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: rush limbaugh was 70 years old. still to come on the newshour: protests against the military coup in myanmar continue to grow despite an ongoing crackdown. nasa returns to mars hoping to learn whether life ever existed on the now desolate planet. a doctor who faced the ebola pandemic on the front lines provides lessons for covid-19. and much more.
>> woodruff: tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets in myanmar to protest former civilian leader aung sung suu kyi's trial, which began this week in secret. protestors have been calling for the reinstatement of democracy since the military launched a coup on februar1st. and as nick schifrin reports, the protestors in myanmar are also calling to create a society that ignores theinew military rulers. >> schifrin: at secret locations across myanmar, healthcare workers who used to work for the government, now say they work for the people. >> this will be a great trouble for the military control, this kind of civil disobedience movement. it's the kind of protesting. do not obey that the master orders prescribed by the military. >> schifrin: this doctor asked us to withhold his name for security reasons. he is on strike from a government hospital, and instead treating anti-coup protestors. and he says myanmar's doctors' strike, is only the beginning. >> if the health systems fail
and shut down, they might get a lot of problem. we started the movement and asked every ministry and other departments to join us to make it a bigger, stronger society movement. >> schifrin: hundreds of thousands of public servants are on strike as part of a civil disobedience movement, or c.d.m. they defy military limits on gatherings, to launch the country's largest protests in more than ten years. firefighters created their own fire brigades, engineers stopped constructing buildings. when the real police arrived to arrest doctors, citizen police rushed into the street to protect them. and teachers, refuse to teach in government schools... >> teachers, lawyers as well as doctors, they're people we learn from, people who guide us in life. >> schifrin: aye min thant is a burmese journalist who was part of a reuters team that won a pulitzer prize fostories critical of the burmese military that landed two of its reporters in prison. she says the civil disobedience movement is targeting the state's, and military's,
foundations. protestors heard the military might seize money from banks, so they blocked the central bank, and called on bank staff to join the movement. protests also tried to prevent the junta from collecting taxes. >> things that really, directly impact any government's ability to govern and enact their policies, as well as fund what they're doing. >> schifrin: what the military is doing, is reversing myanmar's fragile democracy. the february 1 coup declared a state of emergency and installed army leader min aung hlaing for at least a year. democratic leader aung sung suu kyi is now in house arrest and facing charges that could lead to years of imprisonment. and now the junta is beginning to use violence. in souther myanmar, police fired rubber bullets. in the north, soldiers fired to disperse the crowd. and this week for the first time since protests began, soldiers appeared on the streets, in armored vehicles. the military spokesman claims civil servants re being manipulated.
>> ( translated ): we found out that the protesters are inciting the violence and illegally pressuring civil servants. the protesters have become violent rather than peaceful. but we've seen this resistance and crackdown before. 1988 uprisings against the government, were met with a brutal military crackdown that killed thousands of protestors. >> schifrin: in today's myanmar, even before the coup, the but today's myanmar is less isolated. and young people reluctant to give up democratic gains, are more connected and creative. this week, there were breakdancing protestors. musician protestors who played a well known anthem of resistance. and young men who wanted to infuse the protests, with some muscle. many younger protestors want more than the coup's reversal. they want a new founding document that removes the military's power, says thant. >> there is a contingency who, their main demand is the release of aung sung suu kyi, like a return to status quo. and then there's another contingency that says, no. and so i think that there's a division amongst the generations, in that it is the younger generation for the most
part that is much more on the side of a more radical change, >> schifrin: as night falls, protestors bang on pots and pans, a tradition to ward off evil spirits. hundreds of miles away in bangladesh, muslim rohingya refugees express solidarity. myanmar's ethnic minorities are especially vulnerable. and no minority has suffered the military's wrath more, than the rohingya. and civilian leaders have not held the military to account. in 2017 suu kyi defended the military after the u.n. accused it of genocide. >> i do think one other reason that the military could have a coup was because they had been enjoying the impunity for the crimes that they have committed over the several decades. >> schifrin: wai wai nu is a rohingya activist and former political prisoner. she calls for that radical change: a post-coup myanmar that decentralizes authority to give ethnic minorities more autonomy. >> a more inclusive democracy where we embrace our diversity and we assure rights of the
people, regardless of their ethnicity or religion. one way to address is to basically draft a new, inclusive, truly federal democratic constitution. >> schifrin: last week president biden placed sanctions on top myanmar generals, and froze one billion dollars of their assets in the u.s. it's a 180 from the last time senior biden officials were in charge of myanmar policy. in 2010, the country tentatively opened. in 2011 sui kyi met secretary of state hillary clinton. in 2012, president obama became the first sitting u.s. president to visit, and the u.s. lifted sanctions. today, the military is back in charge. and protestors want the biden administration to go farther and do what the people have done-- go around the junta and deal only with civilian leadership. the same day biden's sanctions were announced, healthcare workers shut down their clinic for fear the military would intimidate patients. but the doctor we spokeo, says civil disobedience will
continue. >> just listen to the voice of the people, because this is a country that we own. we all need to get our voices louder than a small group of the military people. >> schifrin: the military, though small, holds the levers of power. but it's outnumbered by protestors who hope to reduce that leverage by creating a society, run by the people. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin. >> woodruff: if all goes according to plan, the u.s. will lanits most advanced rover ever on mars by this time tomorrow night. it's a daunting task, one that will set up a more ambitious exploration of the red planet. miles o'brien lays out the
nerve-wracking challenges and oals of the mission. mars continues. >> it took seven months for the perseverance rover to travel between earth and mars. and once it arrives, seven minutes to descend from the top of the atmosphere to the surface. >> landing on mars is all about finding a way to stop and stop in the right place. >> when it comes to entry, descent, and landing, al chen is the man in the hot seat at nas' jet propulsion laboratory. it takes 11 minutes for radio signals to travel the speed of light from earth to mars-- too much lag time for chen and his teamto remotely pilot the rover. so perseverance must landau ton muffle. >> and that's kind of one of te central challenges, i think, of landing on mars. we can't participate. we can't guide it. we can't pilot it on its own. we have to train perseverance to
do it on her own. >> reporter: it all culminates with what's called the sky train. retrorockets fire on the descent stage, and the rover is wenched down on the surface on tethers. it all may seem a little hair-brained, but the one time nasa tried it with the curiosity rover in 2012, it worked like a charm. perseverance is aiming for the jezero crater, which may hold the answer to the big question: did life once exist on the planet next door? laurie glaze heads nasa's planetary science division. >> jezero really stood out as a potential landing site because within that crater, we can see absolute evidence that there was a lake that persisted there long enough that a river flowed into that crater and deposited all of its sediments into a river delta. >> reporter: the crater has been bone dry for 3.5 billion
years, but in its wetter, warmer days, this place might have been a rich breeding ground for life, perhaps something regembling bacteria or algae on earth. >> so if tse early microbes were present on mars, this is exactly the kind of deposit where they would be preserved. >> what we are going to be looking for are biosignatures, the leavings of microbial life. >> reporter: geologist ken farley is the project scientist for the mission. >> everybody is familiar with the idea that living things are made out of organic matter, and some of that gets preserved. and the idea is that using one of the instruments on the rover, we can actually see how that organic matter is distributed. >> reporter: the science team prepped for the mission in western australia. the rocks there are about the same age as those in the jezero crater. >> when we looked at these ancient terrestrial rocks that have evidence of life in them, what we see is that microbes
ford mats-- these are layers-- at the interface between a lake or a shallow sea and the mud at the bottom. that held the sediment together and actually distorted it in very characteristic kind of mushroom-shaped patterns called, stalomites. that will be something we are looking for very carefully with the rover. >> reporter: perseverance will drill core seasms out of rocks that might contain these organic biosignatures. they will be sealed up in tubes and dropped off on the martian surface for a future rover to collect and send back to earth. it's a concept called "sample return." >> so we are so excited about mars sample turn. we are closer now than we've ever been before. >> reporter: but it's still a ways off. by the time the retriever rover
launches to mars and a sample is sent to earth, it will likely be the early 2030s. biosignatures are signs of possible life, but not smoking gun proof. teasing out that question will be a lot easier in a lab here on this planet. >> but when we get those samples back in the laboratory, that's what's going to give us our best opportunity to be tiebl say whether or not some of those molecules that we're finding were actually biologic molecules over whether they could form in other ways. >> reporter: but for now, the star of this rover show may turn out to be this little four-pound drone helicopter named ingenuity. >> it's a game changer. it's something that will enhance space exploration, period, is the ability to fly around the planet. ( applause ) >> reporter: the project manager on this technology demonstration experiment. the equation for flights with
wings or rotors. the gravity is one-third of earth's, and the carbon dioxide atmosphere is much thinner. >> it's about 1% compared to here on earth. even though you're able to lift, you have to spin very fast to lift. because the atmosphere is so thin, you can't lift as much mass. >> reporter: if successful, ingenuity could usher in a new era of mobile exploration on mars, a reconnaissance tool to find intriguing sites for science, and it would be a historic first flight on another planet. >> it's been a long journey. i'mery goal-orinted. i want to get to learn as much as we can about flight. think about wright brother experiments, the whole series of experiments. at mars, we just get to get one shot, right. >> reporter: and speaking of shots, perseverance will aim its cameras at ingenuity when is flies, another aconnick image of
a first flight awaits us. for the pbs newshour, i'm miles o'brien. >> woodruff: so exciting, fingers crossed. we will talk with miles live tomorrow night to see if the mission to mars is a success. >> woodruff: in west africa, there are concerns about a new outbreak of ebola. the first cases were reported in guinea a few days ago. now, those countries and the world health organization are racing to contain the problem from spreading. dr. paul farmer is known for his decades of work to bolster public health care around the globe, including in africa. jeffrey brown spoke with farmer about his new book on the 2014 ebola crisis and what we can learn from it now during the pandemic.
>> brown: hazmat suits... overcrowded wards... bodies of the victims. scenes all of us are now used to amid pandemic. but these images are from the 2014 ebola epidemic that swept across africa, infecting nearly 30,000, killing 11,000. doctors from abroad arrived in guinea, sierra leone and liberia, the epicenter of the outbreak. >> it was frightening. the streets were closed off. there were ambulances and noises everywhere there, you know, literally sometimes bodies in the streets. >> brown: paul farmer is a renowned public health doctor and anthropologist who founded“ partners in health”, an organization that seeks to bring healthcare tthe world's most vulnerable populations. his work has taken him all over the globe, and raised questions along the way: who is most impacted by disease? how might things have been done differently? what can be done now?
in his new book, the 2014 ebola outbreak becomes a lens to answer some of those questions. it's titled: “fevers, feuds and diamonds: ebola and the ravages of history.” you were a participant to events described in this book, but this goes well beyond it. >> early in the ebola outbreak, almost all of our attention was turned towards clinical services, but we kept on bumping into things we didn't understand and sometimes even our colleagues from sierra leone and liberia didn't understand. and, you know, that just triggered an interest in and a deeper understanding of the place, the culture, the history. and so what i was after in the book was to link those two very different kinds of experience. >> brown: one important lesson: it didn't have to happen, at least not to such a deadly extent. in west africa, lack of medical resources and decades of war paved the way. >> i've called that part of the
world a clinical desert, they just don't have the staff, the stuff, the space, the systems that are required to respond to an epidemic like this. and i wanted to know why, because every place has its own history. and you know that it's important to understand why people are in such dire straits it's more important to help them get out of those dire straits, but it's important to understand why as well. >> brown: another lesson: diseases reveal the underlying problems and inequities in any society. >> there's this confusion that happens at the beginning of many epidemics. the idea that if it's really a novel thogen and no one is immune, that it's going to be some sort of great leveler. there really are almost no examples in which that's the case. these diseases are never levelers in that sense. they always look for weaknesses in society. they invade these cracks and fissures. >> brown: fissures that have become all too clear in the u.s. covid response, as communities
of color and low-wage workers have been disproportionately affected by the virus. here we are in a very different situation with supposedly the most advanced health care systems in the world. and yet ours seems to have failed in many ways just as well. what explains that? >> well, i think it failed in a different way from the failure that we saw in west africa there. we just lacked completely the staff, the stuff, the space, the systems required to respond here. we have those, but they're so unevenly stockpiled right there. and we have an entirely patchwork response. and i think we're feeling that unevenness a great deal now in the united states. >> brown: and since april,“ partners in health” has worked here in the u.s., starting an ambitious contact tracing in massachusetts. >> i mentioned that i thought we had failed differently here.
and what i meant by that is in west africa, what we saw was clinical nihilism. that is, the argument that there is nothing we can do. ebola was too deadly. it wasn't cost effective, sustainable, prudent, feasible to spend all this attention on improving the quality of clinical care. that's a hard sell here in the united states. but i think we see here is not clinical nihilism. it's containment nihilism. in other words, a refusal to do contact tracing, tracing to invest adequately in public health responses. so it's a different kind of failure, but a failure nonetheless. >> brown: you write in this book and perhaps with some sorrow about how we humans, your phrases forget pestilence, we forget what's happened to humans through history. >> you know, after a cataclysm like the 1918 influenza epidemic with such massive loss on the at the tail end of the worst war in human history, i get why people want to forget.
i understand that very well. it just seems to me that we are forgetting some of these lessons at our peril. you have to understand why people wish to forget dreadful events at the same time that someone is maintaining the memory of them so that we can do better next time around. >> brown: hard-earned lessons from a past health crisis, that could help us now and in the future. >> with the experience of the past, plus a vaccine developed at the end of the last outbreak offers reasons for hope. his goal now: implementing a proven strategy of immediately vaccinating yone in contact with an infected individual. that, he says, can avoid the terrible death toll of the prior epidemic. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown.
>> woodruff: representative madeleine dean, from pennsylvania, is perhaps best known these days for her high profile role as a house manager during former president trump's second impeachment trial. but in a deeply personal and revealing new book, "under our roof," written with her son harry cunnane, together they share for the first time their famy's years-long struggle with harry's addiction. congresswoman dean and harry join us now. it's so good to see both of you. and, harry, let me just start out by saying congratulations on eight years of recovery. but what i have to ask you, harry, is when you wrote this book, you couldn't possibly have known that your mother would have just come off being the manager in this trial of the former president. how hard for you was it, though, to write about something when your family is already in the public eye? >> it was challenging.
to hit on the first point, when we first started writing this book, my mom wasn't even elected to congresyet. so it's been a long time in the making. but doing it in the public eye i think for us, it's, you know, at this point it's kind of what we know. but i think we wanted to highlight our story and try to ow people that it is okay to continue to tell these stories, regardless of where somebody is, because it's such a common issue that impacts so many americans. >> woodruff: representative dean, why was is important to you to write about it? >> i think for those reasons. you know, this past year, 81,000 people died of overdose from addiction. that's more than 200 people a day, every single day, 365 days a year. so we thought that if we wrote about our stories and our struggles, and me trying to fig outer what was wrong with harry, harry manipulating and hiding what was wrong with him, maybe somebody else would see themselves in our struggle, and
more importantly, that maybe somebody else would see themselves in the hope that is in recovery, in treatment, in asking for help. we just-- we literally hope that this book helps somebody. >> woodruff: the book does go through so muc of what you experienced in raw detail. it started when harry was in high school. and, congresswoman dean, you write about you saw him changing, the way he looked, the people-- the friends he was hanging out with. and, yet, you still didn't-- it took you a long time to understand what was going on. why was it so hard, do you think? >> i think it was a couple of things. on the one hand, i believed i understood something about addiction, and i learned through the process i had no idea. on the other hand, you know, as a parent and you have somebody who is in junior high and high school, you think maybe this is normal adolescence. but i saw the core features, the
gifts, the beautiful gifts of harry just seeping away over the course of a couple of years. he is pretty good at telling a story, as you might have noticed in the book, now with honesty, but back then, with manipulation. and so it took me a long time. i think stigma was in ouray. that's one of the things we want to try to fight here. we want to try to stop the stigma, because even though i thought i knew something, turns out, i really didn't. lots of things like that. >> woodruff: and, harry, you-- the two of you take turns writing the book. and you come from-- i mean, you come from a comfortable family, loving parents. a lot of people i think want to believe that people turn to drugs or alcohol because they've had a traumatic time growing up. how doou explain that to people? >> i think if we look at this as a disease and substance use disorder as a disease, it makes that easier to understand.
it is common i somebody has experienced a trauma, especially in childhood, maybe there's a higher likelihood of falling into a substance use disorder. but i know from my own personal experience and from that of many people that i've gotten to know through being in recovery, this disease doesn't discriminate, and this disease can come and impact any family. >> woodruff: and, harry, you use the word "discriminate." i know there are people who say, "you didn't end up in jail. you didn't go to prison." a lot of pple would look at your situation and say, "well, he's white, comfortable family, you live in a-- in a comfortable part of philadelphia. if you were black, if you lived somewhere else--" how do you think about that, about privilege? >> it's a huge part of my experience. i write in the book about, you know, the color of my skin, the socioeconomic status, where i
lived-- all of these things, really, as the pillars that held together my freedom. you know, and through recovery, i've had an opportunity to try to give back and go into cfcf, is a local jail in philadelphia, because there's no fair reason as to why i don't have a criminal record and so many others do. so i try to expose that in the book because that is a big factor for-- for my recovery, and, you know, it's something that not being caught in the criminal justice system has allowed me to really thrive because i'm not held bac in some ways that so many others unfairly and unjustly are. >> that's one of the things, judy, we wanted to expose-- examine and expose: what role did white privilege play in harry's path. obviously, it made his path, even though it was a very difficult one, a whole lot easier than a whole lot of other people. also, his socioeconomic status.
we visited the prison and i tell of that in the book, and i very honestly say it's a prison that could have been his own, because i know there are an awful lot the mothers who have children in that prison, and they are in that prison because of a disease, substance abuse disorder, addiction. we've got to do something about that. >> woodruff: and, harry, i know you have spent time talking to others who are experiencing addiction. we know there's so much-- so many who relapse. why do you think you haven't? >> it's hard to pinpoint why i haven't. but what i can say to highlight recovery is i think the beginning is■ç really, really challenging. you know, going from active addiction and the hopelessness and despair that goes along with that, the shame and the just self-loathing that i felt, that didn't just go away the moment that i stopped using drugs. it took time and effort. but another thing we're trying
to highlight in the book "under our roof," is what is possible through recover, the joys that are possible through recovery. >> woodruff: and given how prevalent addiction is in our society, congresswoman dean, and especially now during this pandemic, what do you say to other parents who areorried about this for their children or family members who are worried about it, for anyone they love? >> i would say ask for help yourself. early on in my struggles, trying to figure out what was going on with■ç harry, what was going wrg with harry, i reached out to another mother in the neighborhood. we sat down and had the longest cup of coffee. and she really gave me some clarity of what probably was going on, even though i couldn't exactly see it up close and personal. she also gave me ideas for resources. i would say to people-- and i really say this sincerely-- that there is always hope. there's nothing worse than when i talk to a parent and that hope has somewhat drained from their
eyes. there is always hope. and i say it to the parents or a family member or a loved one. but i also say it to the person who is suffering from addiction. i say it to the addict. and i think harry didn't realize this at the time, that he could have reached a hand and said, "mom, i need help. dad, i need help." we were there, but too often the person who is struggling with the disease, they feel such shame, and they've gone through such trauma themselves, that they don't know it. so i say to anybody who either has a loved one or is struggling with it themselves, raise your hand. you'd be surprised at who wants to help you. >> woodruff: it is such an inspiring story, even as it had to be so difficult to live through. harry cunnane, representative madeleine dean. >> thank you, judy. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: when kev marcus and will b. met in a high school music class, they shared their desire to disrupt people's impressions of what classical music should be. together, they formed a group called "black violin," which we featured on the newshour early on in their success. they're back in tonight's brief but spectacular as part of our arts and culture coverage, canvas. >> people ask me what's in this case and i tell them that it's a viola, it's a violin. and their response is “you don't play classical, do you? is that what you do? no, not you. with a serious face. not classical. there's no way. 1, 2, 3...
>> our whole life everybody was like, even in my family, they were like “why do you have kevin playing the violin. he's not supposed to be doing that. i always listen to those type of things and so i thought we're not supposed to be violinists because we're black. well, we're going to be the blackest violinists you've ever seen. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> we approach it very, very classically. sohe violin part of it is very baroque, bach, mozart-like, not much sliding, not much jazz. but the beats and everything that's around it is hard hitting. >> it's fun, it's very inclusive. we have people dancing in the aisles. our music just really brings people together. >> we're able to blend and go between different genres. really wide, large audience of and that's why it brings a really wide, large audience of people. i grew up in a tough neighborhood and i guess my mom wanted me to get away from some of my friends. cause i was, you know, going down the wrong path. so she put me in this saturday
music program with the hopes that i would get into the performing arts middle school. so i would be busted away from my friends and that's exactly what ended up happening. i went to performing arts school and then went to performing arts high school and just was able to focus on, on violin and then i went to the class my first day and i noticed all these wood instruments. i was looking for the cool instruments. the saxophones and the trumpets. and they told me that i got put into this class. we were stand partners >> obviously i was better. >> you know the truth. (laughs) >> we'velways fed off each other, competed against each other, and we made each other better. >> we've always made good music. every time we get together, the vibe was always right. i feel like looking back, it makes sense that we have a 20 year career together because that's how it was in high school. my college professor, my first day of class gives me a tape back in 1999. he gives me a tape, tells me, go home and listen to this tape and then come tell me about it next week. so i pop this tape in and it's like a violin on fire, like a violin with soul. and i never heard a violin play
anywhere near like that before. when i listened to it, i could tell it was a black guy playing it. and i never had that experience with the violin. so it just changed my entire perception of what the violin could do. and i gave the tape to will. and, um, he was vibing it too. many years later, we named ourselves after the inspiration, the thing that changed our entire perception, this tape was recorded by a violinist. his name was stuff smith. this is his last album he recorded before he died. and that album was called black violin. that album changed the way we perceived the violin and now the main like file and continues to change and challenge people's perceptions. >> there's nothing like doing something that you absolutely love and affecting people at the same time. no amount of grammy's no amount of money can really do that for you, you know? >> ultimately i've always played the violin because no one expects me to do it. and, um, and i liked changes. people's perceptions of what is possible. we are black violin. i am kev marcus. >> will baptiste.
>> and this has been our brief but spectacular take on defying stereotypes. >> woodruff: educating all of us about the violin. thank you, both. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: we offer a variety of no- contract wireless plans for people who use their phone a little, a lot, or anything in between. to learn more, go to consumercellular.tv >> the ford foundation.
working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
hello, everyone, and welcome to anpour and company. here's what's coming up. myanmar fights for a fading democracy. i get the view from there. and congressman tom malowski joins me. he was president obama's point man for the country. then. >> racism leads to bad policy making. it's making our economy worse. >> racism costs whites, too. we crunch numbers with heather mcghee. also ahead. >> we're in for one final tough round. >> is the united states winning its fight against covid? dr.