tv PBS News Hour PBS March 31, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> now it's time to rebuild. >> woodruff: the biden agenda-- the president unveils a massive infrastructure package with a $2 trillion price tag. we talk to a key member of his cabinet about the plan. then, full court press-- the supreme court hears opening arguments on whether college athletes should be comnsated. and, coping with covid-- the uphill battle to get a vaccine on the part of those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. >> it's not been surprising that
states have not prioritized this group because that's historally been the case. it's been disappointing cause the evidence was there pre- pandemic that this group is at higher risk. >> 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.
>> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at lemelson.org. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> woodruff: the biden white house has set in motion its next big campaign in congress: a far- reaching re-build of roads, bridges, power grids and other projects. the roll-out came in pittsburgh today, and battle lines began forming. white house correspondent yamiche alcindor reports. >> alcindor: in the steel city, president biden laid out his plan to re-engineer america's infrastructure. the price tag: two and a quarter trillion dollars. >> it's not a plan that tinkers around the edges. it's a once in a generation investment in america unlike anything we've seen or done since we've built the interstate highway system and space race decades ago. >> alcindor: mr. biden said the plan would create millions of new jobs and shift the country away from fossil fuel.
>> the american jobs plan will lead to a transformational progress in our effort to tackle climate change with american jobs and american ingenuity, >> alcindor: he also said his proposals are essential to help the u.s. compete with china, the world's second-largest economy, and the investments it is making. >> it's gonna boost america's innovative edge in markets where global leadership is up for grabs. markets like battery technology, biotechnology, computer chips, clean energy, and competition with china in particular. >> alcindor: “the american jobs plan” would spend about $2.25 trillion over eight years and includes: $621 billion dollars for roads, bridges, and other transportation methods; $580 billion for manufacturing, research and development, and job training efforts; $400 billion toward home care for the elderly and disabled; and, more than $300 billion to improve drinking water, expand broadband access, and update electrical grids.
to pay for all of that, the plan calls for raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. it aims to ensure multinational corporations pay at least a 21% tax wherever they do business. and it aims to end federal subsidies for fossil fuel companies. the white house says these measures would extend over 15 years. the plan would effectively undo a major component of the 2017 tax cuts signed into law by former president trump. the proposal comes after the world economic forum's 2019 global report ranked u.s. infrastructure 13th in the world. this year, the american society of civil engineers also graded it a c-minus. but given the tax hikes, building biparsan support in congress will be a political challenge. senate minority leader mitch mcconnell signaled that he would not support the bill. >> it's like a trojan horse. it's called infrastructure, but inside the trojan horse there's
going to be more borrowed money and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy. >> alcindor: democrats may attempt to use a process called reconciliation to get the bill through the evenly divided senate and prevent a potential filibuster. ultimately, the white house says this is only one part of a two- part legislative package to reshape the american economy. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor. >> woodruff: for more on the president's plan, we're joined by someone who'll play a critical role in implementing it if it becomes law, transportation secretary pete buttigieg. mr. secretary, welcome to the "newshour." there is so much in this plan, we can't possibly talk about it in one interview. but let me ask you: what is the main change going to be in the lives of americans if this becomes law? >> well, the main change is that americans will be able to count on having the absolute best infrastructure. you know, as the report
mentioned, we are 13th in the world, and headed in the wrong direction. americans are being expeted to settle for less. and you see that with the holes in our roads. you see that with the condition in our bridges. to say nothing of how things like our airports and our train systems are lagging so far behind what citizens in other developed countries can count on just as a matter of course. the other way americans are going to feel the difference is in the jobs this is going to create. this is going to open economic opportunity, not only to those who work in the transportation sector, but to every american who counts on great infrastructure to be able to get to where they need to be. >> woodruff: can you say now how many new jobs are going to be created and quickly will they be created? >> now that the plan has been released, i expect a lot of economists are looking at that right now. and i ok forward to seeing some of the analysis that they generate. but what we know it is going to be in the millions. and it is going to make an enormous difference. by the way, this also stands to make
transportation more affordable for americans. many low-income families are spending up to 30% of their income just on transportation. we can and must do better on that. and we can do it in so many ways. from this doubling of resources for transit, so people can get around their communities and neighborhoods more easily, to the investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure that will help more americans go without having to pay to fuel up their car. >> woodruff: we are told that unlike the economic stimulus plan that was passed under president obama, 12 years ago, the emphasis here is not going to be in every case, in so-called shovel-ready jobs, that quickly generate economic growth. why not? >> that's right. this is a different focus. that stimulus was about getting out of an economic emergency, which is also why the american rescue plan was so important. but the american jobs plan is looking to the future. yes, we'll be supporting hundreds of billions of
dollars of shovel-ready projects, but we're also interested in shovel-worthy projects because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape america's infrastructure future. to make sure we're competing in winning when other countries are doing so much more than we are. it shouldn't just be about what is ready in the moment, but what we want our american future to look like. >> woodruff: now, of course, this is going to cost something. the president said today, talking about raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, raising taxes on multi-national corporations. and republicans are already saying this is a terrible idea. it is anti-competitive, that it's going to ultimately hurt working families in america because those higher taxes are going to be passed on to ordinary people. >> i'll tell you what is anti-competitive, it is having third-rate infrastructure being further degraded by a generation of failure to invest. that is costing us our
competitiveness every day. we know that this is going to create jobs. it's going to create economic strength. and the president does believe in a tax code that rewards work rather than wealth. that is something i think most americans can get on board with. >> woodruff: and the other -- one of the other criticisms we're hearing from republicans, besides -- aside from the cost of this is that only a small portion of it deals with traditional infrastructure. for example, ohio republican senator rob portman was saying president biden is, in his words, redefining infrastructure to include things that have never been increased infrastructure before, like -- and he is saying health care, workforce development, research and development. how do you answer that? >> well, infrastructure is being redefined whether we keep up or not, and that is not a bad thing. look, i'm transportation secretary, so i think a lot about things like
roads and bridges, that are more traditional. but in these times, broadband is an essential part of infrastructure. water -- it might be underground, so you don't see it, but it is just as important, and often important to just the ability of communities and families to thrive at all. this is infrastructure, too. the grid, after what we just saw in texas, americans citizens melting snowballs in their bathtubs to be able to flush their toilets. that should never happen again, and i absolutely consider that part of an infrastructure package, even if it is not part of the transportation piece that i work on every day. >> woodruff: another commenwe heard from president biden today, he said this is going to provide transformational change in addressing climate change. but now we see -- and this is the argument from the other side --progressives in your party who are saying there is not enough in here to deal with climate change. they are saying there should have been more
money, more projects. y isn't their more? >> well, this is, again, an enormous investment. this is something that represents more than we've been able to do in my lifetime and a long ti before that. and it positions us to beat the climate challenge with things like electric vehicle infrastructure, the kind of rail and transit resources that we need as a country, and the kind of r & d that is going to move us to the future. and if we're striking the balance between people who think it should be even bigger and those who are asking us to do less. i think that is evidence that this plan is a strong one that can attract the support of most americans. >> woodruff: but are you hearing that criticism from your fellow democrats right now? >> you know, right now i think a lot of people on both sides of the aisle are digesting the plan. let me say, the president has put out a strong vision, but this is a great time to hear the critiques, hear those ideas, hear those refinements. and if people have a different or better idea on any piece of this,
including how to pay for it, let's hear it. >> woodruff: so you're saying it could change between now and what happens in congress? >> of course. this is day one of a process, that we know is going to go through a lot with congress. i've been on the phone with democrats and republicans all day, as well as a lot of other stakeholders, and we know that that natural give and take is only going to make this a stronger plan. but the president set out a clear vision. he is insisting on going big. and i think it is a great beginning for, you know, not just the kind of infrastructure weak that used to be a punch line here in washington, but an infrastructure season that will give us a better infrastructure future. >> woodruff: and just, finally, mr. secretary, president biden has spoken about wanting bipartisan support, but if you end up with no republican votes for this, which we know is possible, how much does that undercut what the administration is trying to do? you ended up with no
republican votes on the covid relief bill. >> the strange thing about the covid relief bill is it had enormous bipartisan among the american people, just not here in washington. i believe if there is any area where we can get that bipartisan support in washington, just like there is out among americans, it is around these infrastructure issues that are so important because every member i talk to, no matter how progressive or conservative they are, comes from a district or a state where their citizens who sent them hereo washington are dealing with the consequences of that disin investment every day and now we need to do better. >> woodruff: secretary of transportation, former mayor, pete buttigieg, thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, pfizer reported its covid- 19 vaccine is safe and highly effective in children as young
as 12. that's based on a small study in the u.s., but it opens the possibility that younger children could be vaccinated before the start of the next school year. 12-year-old caleb chung took part in the study in durham, north carolina. his father joined him for an interview. >> there's not much i can really do to fight back against the virus. so probably participating in this trial and potentially helping other kids to feel safe and want to get the vaccine in the future when it becomes publicly available was really some way that i could actually help out. >> woodruff: also today, the c.d.c. reported covid was the third leading cause of death in the u.s. last year, behind heart disease and cancer. the overall death rate rose nearly 16% from a year earlier. and, in wisconsin, the state supreme court struck down a mask mandate today. it ruled that democratic governor tony evers overstepped
his authority. the global covid death toll has now passed 2.8 million. that word comes as a wave of new infections is sweeping europe. the president of france emmanuel macron announced tonight that schools and child care centers there will be closed for three weeks. he also banned domestic travel for a month. jurors in the trial of derek chauvin heard new audio today of prosecutors showed surveillance and body camera footage of chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter in floyd's killing last may. the video may be disturbing to some viewers. it showed officers struggling with floyd before chauvin pressed his neck down and floyd finally went limp. later from inside his cruiser, the officers heard defending his actions to an angry by-stander. >> that's one person's >> that's one person's opinion. we gotta control this guy cause he's a sizeable guy.
and looks like he's probably on something. >> woodruff: also testifying today, the grocery store cashier, who had taken a fake $20 bill from floyd, prompting the call to police. as defense lawyers watched, prosecutors asked christopher martin about his reaction when he saw chauvin kneeling on floyd. >> what was going through your m >> what was going through your mind during that time period? >> disbelief and guilt. >> why guilt? >> if i would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided. >> woodruff: prosecutors are set to continue calling witnesses tomorrow. in russia, opposition leader alexei navalny says he has begun a hunger strike in prison, over his medical treatment. he says he's been denied proper medicine and visits with his doctor for back and leg pains. navalny is jailed for violating probation after he was poisoned. he blames that attack on the kremlin. back in this country, police in
new york city have arrested a suspect in monday's attack on an asian-american woman. brandon elliot is charged with felony assault as a hate crime, and other offenses. he was convicted of killing his own mother in 2002, but paroled in 2019, as the police commissioner noted today. >> for the life of me, i don't understand why we are releasing or pushing people out of prison, not to give them second chances, but to put them into homeless facilities or shelters, or in this case a hotel, and expect good outcomes out of that. >> woodruff: elliot allegedly assaulted the 65-year-old victim while bystanders watched, but no one came to her rescue. new york state has joined at least 15 other states legalizing recreaonal marijuana. the legislature passed it on tuesday, and governor andrew cuomo signed it into law today. legal sales won't begin for 18
months, while officials draw up regulations. and, on wall street, blue chips slipped, but the rest of the market gained. the dow jones industrial average lost 85 points to close at 32,981. the nasdaq rose 201 points, and, the s&p 500 added 14. still to come on the newshour: the supreme court hears arguments on whether college athletes should be compensated. senator tammy duckworth weighs in on the recent attacks against asian americans. transgender soldiers discuss the repeal of the ban on their military service. plus much more. >> woodruff: college
basketball's "march madness," which reaches its crescendo this weekend, reminds us that big- time college athletics can look like big business. as john yang reports, it was a fitting backdrop today for a well-timed supreme court argument over compensation for college players. >> yang: as the men's and women's college basketball tournaments head to their championship games, the n.c.a.a. had a big contest today at the highest court in the land. the case could have tremendous consequences for big-time college basketball and football. >> it's a huge case, without question. >> yang: american university law school professor jeremi duru. >> one piece of a much larger puzzle, a bigger battle, one that's been brewing for decades and decades about student athlete rights generally. >> yang: in the name of protecting amateurism, the n.c.a.a. caps the money schools may offer student-athletes. >> it limits them essentially to the scholarship and to cost of attendance, which is a couple of thousand dollars above the scholarship level for travel and
other incidentals. >> yang: the college athletes who brought the suit argue that illegally limits competition for their skills, a violation of federal antitrust laws. >> the n.c.a.a. kind of fears that idea, because if it's the case that different schools can recruit on different levels with different benefits, then some schools will out-recruit other schools. we're talking about non-cash educational benefits that would assist with academic pursuits like computer equipment or science equipment. >> yang: if the athletes win, it could open the door to other compensation. arguing for the n.c.a.a. today, attorney seth waxman cited the long history of college athletics. >> for more than 100 years, the distinct character of college sports has been that it's played by students who are amateurs, which is to say that they are not paid for their play. >> yang: justices across the ideological spectrum seemed skeptical. justice samuel alito: >> but in fact, they are paid. they get lower admission
standards, they get tuitn, room and board and other things. that's a form of pay. >> yang: justice elena kagan: >> well, you can only ride on the history, i think, mr. waxman, for so long. i mean, a great deal has changed since 100 years ago in the way that student-athletes are treated. >> yang: at the same time, justices seemed worried about where siding with the athletes could lead. chief justice john roberts compared to a game of jenga. >> you've got this nice, solid block that protects the sort of product the schools want to provide, and you pull out one log and then another, and everything's fine, then another and another and all of a sudden, the whole thing comes crashing down. >> yang: justice sonia sotomayor also expressed concern. >> how do we know we're not just destroying the game as it exists? >> the supreme court doesn't answer the case for that particular case. a question for a particular case. it's always got its eye on what may be the next case, what's coming down the road. >> yang: marcia coyle is chief washington correspondent for the
"national law journal." >> we actually have on that court a number of sports enthusiasts. i think they're very much aware of the games and how they're played. as well as how the n.c.a.a. and the game has changed since the last time the supreme court had the n.c.a.a. before it, which was 37 years ago. >> yang: for years, many college athletes have argued they are essentially employees, spending as much as 40 hours a week on team activities that can generate billions of dollars for universities and athletic conferences. >> coaches are getting six- and seven-figure salaries, administrators are getting salaries, conference commissioners are getting salaries, other stakeholders are getting money. and the student athletes themselves, the most indispensable piece of the puzzle, are getting nothing. >> yang: in arenas and on social media, players in the men's basketball tournament used the hashtag “not n.c.a.a. property”
to protest rules barring them from being paid for the use of their names, images or likenesses on jerseys, video games and product endorsement, a separate issue being fought in state legislatures and in congress. >> you've got court cases, you've got state legislation, you've got federal legislation, and you have student athlete direct action all serving to push against the n.c.a.a.'s eligibility limits. >> yang: and now a case before the nine referees on the supreme court, who will make their call by summer. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang. >> woodruff: senator tammy duckworth, a democrat from illinois, made headlines recently when she threatened to block president biden's nominations until asian americans had more representation in the administration.
we spoke a short while ago about the threats facing asian americans as well as her new book, "every day is a gift". >> woodruff: senator duckworth, thank you very much for being with us. we're going to get to the book in just a moment. i want to start with the news of the day, this ambitious infrastructure plan that president biden is rolling out. do you believe it is the right thing to do at the right time? and what do you think congress is going to do with it? >> senator: i very much think it is the right thing to do at the right time. i've been speaking for years how america's infrastructure has been rated as a "d" minus. you're sending money down to the very local level. when you fix the main streets, you're sending money into the diner that is o main street because the workers are going to grab lunch there. this is an infrastructure plan to make us
economically compet table on the global scale, and it is going to get jobs down to every small town in the united states. >> woodruff: and we've seen that video that has been circulating, senator, of the elderly asian-american woman in new york city who was knocked down and kicked in the face. the man -- people just stood by while it happened. how serious a problem is anti-asian-american attitudes right now in our country? >> senator: it is very serious. in fact, it has been 150% increase of reported hate crimes against asian-americans in our nation's biggest cities. those are just the ones that are reported. they are actually notoriously underreported. they're often classified as vandalism, a mugging, a theft, and not classified as hate crimes. in fact, asian women are the victims in two-thirds of those cases. so asian women and
especially the elderly are especially vulnerable, and so it is a real issue and we need to address it. >> woodruff: let's talk about your book. it is "every day is a gift" a memoir. you were born in thailand to a thai mother and an american soldier father. hyou had a pretty difficult childhood, i think it is fair to say. you moved a lot, and there were times you had advantage and other times you went to bed hungry. by the time you experienced the shootdown in iraq as a helicopter pilot, where you lost both of your legs, this was not the first time you faced terrible adversity in your life. is that what shaped you, your childhood? >> senator: i guess it is. in the process of writing this book, i came to realize that those things that i faced when i was younger made me better able and more resilient to overcome the effects of being shot down and being wounded. i didn't think of it at the time, right? you're a kid, just living your life.
i thought i had a pretty adventous childhood. i followemy dad, who retired from the army in 1972, and went to work for the refugee programs, and so we were in cambodia where my dad was putting up telephone lines. so, yes, i went through adversity in my teens, when my family fell on really hard times. i write about being in hawaii where people think of it as a paradise, but i was hustling to try to put together a dollar a day so my brother and i could eat the next day. i think all of those things helped to make me more resilient later on in life. but at the time, i was just living my life trying to survive. there was no grand plan in the process for me. >> woodruff: i want to quote from a line -- so many memorable lines in the book, you said "i love ugly aircraft, machines that look like they shouldn't be able to fly. the more brutal, the better. i love the heavy metal
banging, and that's why i'm a helicopter pilot." there is really nothing fragile about you, is there? >> senator: that's just who i am. he flies aircraft without an engine, and that makes no sense. to me an aircraft without an engine is an emergency. it sounds like the most boring thing you could possibly do. i love being part of an air crew. i love flying in a formation flight. i love ugly aircraft and helicopters. maybe somebody reading the book will fall in love with helicopters the way i did. let's hope so. >> woodruff: and despite all of the things you lived through, senator, you write, i realized from a young age what a privilege it was to be an american, no matter how grgrievous the wound. healing is always possible. the lowest moment can lead to the greatest heights. where did that positive attitude come from?
>> i wrote the book because my daughter started asking me if it was worth it, what i went through. and we were having a conversation how i couldn't teach her to ride a bike because i couldn't run beside her. she is six, and she is realizing mommy is different. mommy, why didn't you lose your legs? why did you go to war? couldn't someone else have done that? was it worth it? so i wrote the book as a love letter to my country, and to explain to my daughter that america is worth for. this democracy is worth fighting for and striving for that more perfect union. every day since my shootdown has been a gift that my buddies gave to me for saving my life that day. and i try to live up to it. >> woodruff: clearly there are things that have happened in this country that you profoundly disagree with, and things that americans have done that you profoundly disagree with. and yet you're saying it is all worth fighting for?
>> senator: it is all worth fighting for. we can disagree and yell at one another, and even january 6th, the insurrection that angered me, and i felt so betrayed as i watched people carrying the same american flag that i wore on my arm, on my uniform, into battle, that they used that to beat police officers and to break down the doors of the capitol, it is still worth it. it is still better than everything else that is out there. and we have is to show up and fight for this country, this democracy. and, yeah, we're imperfect, but as long as we keep showing up and keep fighting for it, it will be that more perft union for my daughter, when she is 18, than it is right now. and that's worth it. >> woodruff: illinois senator tammy duckworth, the book is "every day is a gift." thank you so much, senator. >> senator: thank you for having me on. >> woodruff: the pentagon announced new rules today
allowing transgender military members to serve openly. it follows a pledge from president biden just days into his administration, restoring an obama-era policy that was overturned by his successor, donald trump. ali rogin spoke to transgender service members who have been waiting for this day. >> reporter: when navy lieutenant commander emily schilling visits this retired warplane known as a prowler, it's like seeing an old friend. >> she's tried to kill me, she's saved my life. she's been there on some of my scariest moments. >> reporter: schilling's been in the navy 15 years, most of them as a pilot, with more than 1700 flight hours, and 60 combat missions in iraq and afghanistan. for a long time, the cockpit was the only place she could be herself. >> somebody once asked me, did i ever fly as trans? did i ever fly as em? we're the same peop-- person. we're the same person. i am always em. i always have been. >> reporter: for most of her
life, schilling was known as timothy. she came out as transgender in april 2019, two days after president donald trump reinstated a ban on people like her serving openly. >> i spent the first 36 years of my life trying to figure this out and fight it. and i just got to the point where i couldn't fight it anymore and i had to do something. >> reporter: now, outside work at a naval air base in maryland, schilling can be herself. but while she waited for the new policy to take effect, she had to wear a facade, presenting male and wearing her gender- neutral flight suit daily. >> you play this hypermasculine role and then come home and turn it off. it's exhausting. >> reporter: in 2016, president barack obama declared that being transgender was no longer grounds for dismissal. the military began covering gender-affirming health care, like hormones and surgery, announced then secretary of defense ash carter. >> i'm announcing today that we are ending the ban on
transgender americans in the united states military. >> reporter: schilling had been coming to terms with her gender identity during the obama administration, but it wasn't the right time for her to come out. then in 2017, a new policy from a new president: in a tweet, president trump said the military would no longer allow transgender people to serve. those who received covere during the obama administration could keep serving openly. but all others would have to serve in their sex assigned at birth. by the time schilling was ready to transition, the political winds had shifted. >> you had a time period where people were allowed to be open and serve. and then when the ban went into place, you got a second class of people who although they were transgender, they came out too late and now had to go back into the closet. >> transgender service members have been on a complete rollercoaster ride over the past five years. >> reporter: air force lieutenant colonel bree fram is vice president of sparta, a transgender military advocacy group. her group advised on the obama change, supported members
through the trump repeal, and is helping the biden white house lift restrictions. after receiving a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, the medical term for when a person's gender identity differs from their sex at birth. during 1600 transgender service the defense department does not keep statistics on its transgender population, but independent estimates count between five to 15,000 currently serving out of about two million total active duty and reserve forces. >> they're just in a situation where they have to dedicate energy to hiding themselves. and that's energy that could otherwise be used to go towards mission effectiveness. >> reporter: some opponents say trans members shouldn't be part of the mission at all. retired army lieutenant general thomas sopehr is the director of the conservative heritage foundation's center for national defense. he pointed to high rates of severe anxiety and suicide among
people diagnosed with gender dysphoria. >> frankly, the military is very discriminatory in its entrance criteria, and so if you have asthma, if you have severe depression, you can't join the military. not allowing someone with gender dysphoria to not enterhe military is the same type of thing. >> reporter: but numerous studies show that depression among people with gender dysphoria is linked to society's treatment of them, including discrimination, family rejection and lack of access to gender- affirming health care. in fact, the impact the trump ban had on the mental health of trans people extended beyond the military. the trevor project, an organization supporting l.g.b.t.q. youth, said calls to its crisis line more than doubled following trump's 2017 tweet. amit paley is c.e.o. and executive director. >> when the president of the united states sends a message that trans people are not deserving of respect, that has an impact on the mental health of all trans and non binary people.
>> reporter: the new policy doesn't just affect transgender people who are currently serving. it also opens the door to those who have wanted to join the military, but have been waiting. people like 23-year-old kaycen bradley, who wants to join the army. >> it's really exciting. >> reporter: bradley began his female-to-male transition, graduated high sool and tried to enlist, right as trump was changing the policy. but rather than give up, bradley dug in. biding his time, he built himself into a better recruit. >> i had to think, you know, it's not going to be forever. there's going to be a time where the policy changes. >> reporter: bree fram hopes this time, the change is for good. >> after four more years of open service, we firmly believe that a military without transgender people will be just as unconscionable as a military, without african-americans, without women or without lesbians, gays and bisexuals, because they all faced some very similar hurdles to what trans people faced. >> reporter: meanwhile, schilling is awaiting guidance
for when she can move forward. >> when i go see my friends, when i go shopping, when i'm hanging out with my kids, i present as emily. now i can begin that process with the navy. >> reporter: and soon, she'll be able to officially reintroduce herself to the prowler, as who she really is. for the pbs newshour, i'm ali rogin in patuxent river, maryland. >> woodruff: now, the increased >> woodruff: there have been more than 30 million known covid-19 infections across this country. as william brangham reports, there is one particular group at increased risk of the virus, those with intellectual and >> brangham: one of alan cohen's favorite things to do each morning is taking a walk with his health aide, salamatu mansarray. the 62-year-old lives in silver spring, maryland, with three
others, in a house run by the jewish foundation for group homes. it's a non-profit that provides assisted living for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or i.d.d. last year, cohen was one of 15 people who are served by the foundation who contracted covid- 19, and one of three hospitalized. do you know how long you were in the hospital? >> two months. >> brangham: two months! >> yes. >> brangham: that's a long time. >> i'm better now. >> brangham: you certainly seem better. >> yes. >> brangham: was that scary being in the hospital? >> i didn't like it too much. >> the guy is a warrior, and it was touch and go. >> brangham: david ervin is head of the jewish foundation for group homes. it serves around 180 adults with i.d.d. in maryland and virginia. last year, when the virus emerged, ervin remembers looking at the risk factors and being very concerned about the people they serve.
>> so the c.d.c. comes out sort of early-ish with a list of conditions that don't combine well with covid-19 and drive much more severe outcomes. and we're looking at the list and we're thinking, oh, my gosh, this, this is-- >> brangham: this is a portrait of our patient population. >> yes. >> what we're finding is across the board, no matter the type of intellectual developmental disability, there's increased risk of covid 19 severity. >> brangham: scott landes is a sociologist at syracuse university, who for years has studied health outcomes for those in the i.d.d. community. he says people with i.d.d., conditions like down syndrome, cerebral palsy, rhett's syndrome and autism, often have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to covid-19. and that, combined with the fact that many receive care in group living facilities, in close, puts them at greater risk than the general population. >> their case fatality rate,
we're finding, is about 1.5 times higher than what we're seeing in the general population. for people living in these congregate settings like this residential group home, we're seeing that the case fatality rate is about three times higher than the general population. >> brangham: despite the elevated risks for those with i.d.d., when it came to vaccinating residents and caretakers, david ervin says it was an uphill battle, first to get prioritized by the states where they operate, and then, to actually get shots into arms. >> ultimately, when we were finally contacted by first walgreens under the national subsequently cvs, neither were quite sure what to do th us. community living supports? are you a nursing home? yes. once we were identified as phase one priority, if you need me to call myself a nursing home, i'm a nursing home. >> brangham: across the country, every state included nursing homes in their phase one vaccine rollouts. but only 31 states and the
district of columbia specifically included people with i.d.d. in their highest priority tiers. >> it's nobeen surprising, on one hand, that states have not prioritized this group because that's historically been the case. it's been disappointing because the evidence was there pre- pandemic and the evidence is there now that this group is at higher risk. >> brangham: scott landes says that even goes to the data collection itself. as of january, he says only nine states and the district of columbia even reported data on covid-19 outcomes for those specifically with i.d.d. to the federal government, despite the fact that all states receive federal funding for care. >> so there's this difficulty with understanding the trends within this population simply because the data is not often available. >> brangham: it seems that their, for lack of a better word, relative invisibility in our society and even in federal data sets has only exacerbated
the problems now that the pandemic is upon us. >> yeah, and that's a great word invisibility. i think a lot of it relates to whether we do or do not value the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disability. >> brangham: last october, senators elizabeth warren, maggie hassan, and patty murray asked the head of the centers for medicare and medicaid to require that all states report covid data on those with i.d.d. living in congregate care, as they had already done with nursing homes. the department center has yet to respond to that request. while many with i.d.d. live in these group care settings, the majority live with their families. 23-year-old carmen houston- ludlam lives on a beautiful farm in eastern maryland, surrounded by emus, turkeys, rabbits... >> we also have dogs! >> brangham: her parents call their daughter “joy gifted” -- and carmen lives a very active
lifestyle, balancing work, sports, and now, teaching online cooking classes. but because she has down syndrome, carmen is far more susceptible to covid-19, for reasons that still aren't well understood. >> because i am disabled, you can easily catch the coronavirus when someone who is disabled. >> well, that in down syndrome that people's immune response is different and it's not quite as strong as other people. and so you were very susceptible to getting the coronavirus. and so that's why we had to be super careful about it. >> because i was very valuable? >> absolutely. you're precious. precious, that's right. super precious. >> brangham: recognizing her elevated risk and need for a vaccine, the state of maryland prioritized carmen, and those like her, in category 1-b, along with people over 75. but again, when it came to actually giving her the shot, there were barriers, in this
case, her mom ginger says the local health department balked. >> they simply wouldn't put us on the waiting list. >> brangham: did you call the county and say "hey what's up?” >> many, many times. and i told them off. >> brangham: and they didn't give you an answer? >> no, they said, well, we haven't prioritized people-- we're only doing it for people over 75. >> brangham: even though the state is saying-- >> exactly. >> brangham: --carmen belongs on this list. >> absolutely. >> i know i'm not 75 or older, but it doesn't matter what the age is. i just wanted to get the vaccine. >> brangham: with the help of an i.d.d. nonprofit called “the arc maryland,” carmen and her parents eventually got vaccinated, six weeks after they first became eligible under the state guidelines. ginger's now helping others in their same situation get vaccinated, and looking forward to the day when carmen can return to her many pursuits. >> so i do a lot of like ukulele, ventriloquism, i show you. >> snowboarding. >> snowboarding, dancing, cheerleading, swimming.
>> brangham: oh, my gosh. it's like you're living the life of seven people all in one. meanwhile back in silver spring, alan cohen, now fully vaccinated, is looking forward to baseball season, and to seeing his family again. >> when do i see my family? my family. one day. >> soon. >> soon, soon. >> brangham: for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham in silver spring, maryland. >> woodruff: he's not a magician, but artist shen wei is very good at disappearing, losing himself as he creates, conjuring ethereal lands and re- imagining the human body. his work is now on view at the isabella stewart gardner museum in boston special correspondent jared bowen of pbs station gbh boston has the story for our arts and
culture series, canvas. >> reporter: on the façade of the isabella stewart gardner museum, a woman in red. she is a figure of passion. her writhing traced on the ground beneath. inside the museum, we see her on film-a spirit gliding through galleries. >> there's somethi kind of surreal about many of his films. >> reporter: he is shen wei, a chinese artist who mesmerized an international audience of four billion people in 2008 with his choreography at the beijing olympics opening ceremony. >> that's about as public as you can get. and he's celebrated worldwide. he's a cultural icon in china. >> reporter: but in all the time he has been creating dance and films for public audiences, shen wei has been very quietly creating work for himself: these paintings.
some on view for the first time at the gardner museum where peggy fogelman is the director. >> you can see that he was thinking about cosmic forces and so many of these paintings in this, in this series because there's no horizon line, you know, you feel like you're thrown into, you know, maybe rushing water or a cloudscape and you're kind of floating above it or in it. >> a lot of times, i felt all the paintings is more like a journal. >> reporter: we spoke with shen wei from his parents' home in hunan province, china where he's settled during the pandemic. he says his towering paintings in the museum are less about what he's painting, than what he's feeling. although that never stops people from finding figures, landscapes and stories in his work. especially in this piece titled "untitled, number 8." >> when i paint that one i really didn't think i was trying to paint a human figure in the
middle. people thinking is that human figure riding like a riding a lion, flying, crossing a mountain or flying in the air. when i paint i didn't think that at all, i was just thinking that i want to use the black paint to develop that the shape of like a movement, like a more like energy. >> reporter: one that consumes him. shen wei insists on being alone when he paints, sometimes for months on end. sometimes even he is not entirely present. >> the large piece i've faint down twice. i wake up in the middle. i didn't even know when-- how long i didn't know i because i forgot to eat when i paint. >> he's like in a form of meditation, deep meditation. and so it takes him a while to get back on the ground. and that was very interesting to see. >> reporter: curator pieranna cavalchini invited shen wei to be an artist-in-residence at the gardner in 2018-a stay that led to the inspiration for his film, "passion spirit."
it, along with his choreography and painting have an ethereal quality. born, the curator says, of his desire to connect to greater things. >> he has developed this technique, which is where you have this energy in your body, your heart, your blood. this idea of being connected to the universe and it's a very strong spiritual element, really, in his work. >> reporter: shen wei has been a working artist since the age of nine, when he entered opera school in china. and as these early notebooks reveal, he was charting choreography by age 14. >> i thought, oh, this is something all the children do at school and the teacher makes them do it. no. so this is something he invented and for himself. >> i was just thinking, oh my gosh, if i forget other things, teacher taught me what i'm going to do. i love so much. but then i start to find a way to to to, you know, to write down, to make puppets and drawings to to write down all
the movements. >> reporter: some 30 years on, he still maps out his dance and films. but in his paintings, he harkens back to centuries of art history. from the ancient storied scrolls of the song dynasty to the dark, roiling images conjud by dante's inferno to 20th century american abstract expressionism. >> he says i am made of eastern and western ingredients. and he also talks about, we are all solitary and alone, but we breathe together and it's a beautiful kind of coalescence of different influences, different techniques, different art forms. but then truly, he's forged his own style. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm jared bowen in boston, massachusetts. >> woodruff: he was one part
political provocateur, one part ruthless operator; most known for his role in the watergate break-in, which ultimately led to the downfall of president nixon. lisa desjardins has the story of g. gordon liddy, who died yesterday not far from washington. >> desjardins: an unapologetic criminal, conservative firebrand and broadcast showman, g. gordon liddy held a unique place in american politics. after time in the army, the young new yorker rose quickly as an f.b.i. agent and then prosecutor. in 1968, he joined the richard nixon presidential campaign, managing a local campaign office. once nixon was in the white house, liddy springboarded into a job in washington. it was the time of the vietnam war, and the leak of the pentagon papers questioning the war. the nixon administration tapped liddy to join a group nickname“" the plumbers” to investigate leaks. that led directly to perhaps the greatest presidential scandal in american history. >> how high did the scandals
reach? and was president nixon himself involved? >> desjardins: liddy masterminded the idea of breaking in and wiretapping the democratic national committee's headquarters inside the watergate complex in washington. when his burglars bungled it, the case directly led to liddy. as congress investigated the so-called smoking gun audio tape connected nixon himself, here talking about liddy. >> is it liddy? is that the fellow? he must be a little nuts. >> he is. >> i mean he just isn't well screwed on is he? >> desjardins: nixon resigned. liddy went to prison for more than four years. after he was out, liddy added to his reputation as a conservative outlier, bragging about his role in watergate as well as his own toughness. he sought the spotlight... >> well, sonny crockett. >> hello, sir. >> desjardins: ...including a part on tv's "miami vice." then in the 1990s, his voice gained new following, as a force in conservative talk radio. >> and we're back here in radio
3 d.c., the g. gordon liddy show! >> desjardins: on air, liddy used a sharp mind to launch a blunt verbal war, comparing liberals to terrorists and pushing a might-means right and ends-justifies-the-means philosophy. opponents heard a dangerous voice with fascist ideas. liddy, defiant, put his outlook like this-- once you start a war, you have to win the war. g. gordon liddy was 90 years old. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: on the pbs newshour online, the connection between the black church and activism has a deep history. we explore how that connection is evolving today, particularly with young activists involved in the black lives matter movement. read more on our website, that's: pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and againere tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.
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pbeat music] - hello everyone and welcome to amanpour & company. today we bring you some of our favorite interviews from this year. here's what's coming up. [whoosh] a show dedicated to inspiring creators. director ebs burnough dives deep into the life of truman capote in his documentary, the capote tapes . president obama's portrait artists kehinde wiley reflects on art activism and racism. from the field to the silver screen, former nfl quarterback nnamdi asomugha on his film sylvie's love. and hari sreenivasan talks to comedians w. kamau bell and hari kondabolou about their podcast politically reactive. [upbeat music]