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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 6, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight, from trump tower to twitter, the president-elect continues to shake up tradition, by attacking boeing's plans to build a new air force one. >> sreenivasan: also ahead this wednesday, the pentagon hides a study that exposes $125 billion in wasteful spending, fearing congress would cut its defense budget. >> woodruff: plus, a passion for improvisation. two jazz greats open up to jeffrey brown about their new album and staying in the moment. >> it's an emotional, it's an intuitive process. i mean, of course it's happening in the brain, right, but if i'm thinking about responding in that way, then i'm over-thinking it, and i probably won't do it well. >> sreenivasan: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.
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>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> xq institute. >> bnsf railway. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> 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
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station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: he is spending most of his time out of public view, but today, president-elect trump was suddenly much more visible. items on his agenda: the cost of new presidential planes and prospects for new jobs in the tele-communications industry. the day started with a surprise appearance in the lobby of trump tower in new york. mr. trump lit into the boeing company over its contract to build two new versions of air force one. >> it's going to be over $4 billion, for the air force one program. and i think it's ridiculous. i think boeing is doing a little bit of a number. we want boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money. >> woodruff: earlier, on twitter, he had gone further, saying the government should "cancel the order" with boeing. boeing's initial contract was
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for roughly $3 billion, but costs have been rising. still, the white house said today it has no idea where the president-elect got his $4 billion figure. boeing said in a statement that it hopes to "deliver the best planes for the president at the best value for the american taxpayer". later, another sudden appearance-- this time, with japanese billionaire masayoshi son, c.e.o. of softbank, a japanese tech and telecom company. >> and he's just agreed to invest $50 billion in the united states, and 50,000 jobs, and he's one of the great men of industry, so i just want to thank you very much. >> reporter: there was also news that the president-elect has divested himself of his entire stock portfolio. his transition team said he sold off his portfolio back in june. the statement gave no details,
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amounts or documentation for the stock sales. all of this, as meetings with potential staff and cabinet nominees continued, including the c.e.o. of exxon mobil, rex tillerson, said to be a candidate for secretary of state; talk-radio host laura ingraham, a possibility for white house press secretary; and iowa governor terry branstad, who could be up for a diplomatic post. mr. trump will visit iowa later this week as part of a "thank you" tour that began last week in ohio. the tour also carried him to fayetteville, north carolina, for a rally this evening. >> sreenivasan: in the day's other news, president obama defended his record fighting terrorism in his last major national security speech before leaving office. mr. obama traveled to macdill air force base in tampa, florida, home to the special operations and central commands. the president told the troops that he's led a "relentless" assault on the islamic state, but he also warned against
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targeting muslims in the name of battling extremism. >> the u.s.a. is not a place where some citizens have to withstand greater scrutiny or carry a special i.d. card, or prove they're not an enemy from within. we're a country that's bled and struggled against that kind of discrimination. >> sreenivasan: the president also denounced any use of torture, defended drone strikes and urged-- again-- that the u.s. prison at guantanamo bay, cuba be closed. >> woodruff: in iraq, army units made a new push toward the center of mosul today. islamic state fighters had tied up the iraqi forces on the southeastern side of the city for nearly a month. but this morning, an armored division launched a fresh assault. a senior commander says they moved within a mile of the tigris river, backed up by u.s. air strikes. >> sreenivasan: a human rights group is accusing china's communist party of systematically using torture and coerced confessions against members accused of corruption. it's part of president xi jinping's sweeping anti-graft
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campaign, now in its fourth year. "human rights watch" says it found widespread abuse at interrogation and detention sites that are outside china's official criminal justice system. >> woodruff: back in this country, crews have now searched nearly all of the oakland, california warehouse that went up in flames during a music party, leaving at least 36 people dead. officials say they do not expect to find more bodies. overnight, firefighters stabilized parts of the gutted building, to continue the search today. they say they hope to finish the job tonight. the cause of the fire is still under investigation. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. supreme court sided today with samsung, in a high-profile patent fight with apple. all eight justices voted to throw out a $399 million judgment against samsung for for copying features of apple's iphone. the high court said the award was too large, and ordered a federal appeals panel to come up with a new amount. >> woodruff: wall street edged higher again today, with telecom
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companies leading the way. the dow jones industrial average gained 35 points to close at 19,251. the nasdaq rose 24, and the s&p 500 added seven. >> sreenivasan: still to come on the newshour: the buried pentagon report showing $125 billion in waste; a bipartisan bill that funds joe biden's cancer moonshot; liberia experiments with privatizing its education system, and much more. >> woodruff: every few years, defense department leaders conduct efficiency reviews, looking for ways to save money. two years ago, deputy defense secretary robert work commissioned a study that looked at how much the defense department spent on things like its supply chain, property management and health care, but according to the "washington post," when the results came
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back that said an estimated $125 billion could be saved over five years, the report was buried by top pentagon officials. reporter craig whitlock broke the story for the "post," and is here to tell us more. craig whitlock, tell us how all this started. why did... why was this study ordered in the first place? >> well, the couple years ago the pentagon budget, the defense budget was under a lot of pressure. it had been flat for a few years, and military leaders were ordered under sequestration and the budget control act they could actually be forced to stomach some pretty substantial cuts in the coming years, so deputy defense secretary bob work ordered a federal advisory panel of private-sector executives to start collecting a lot of data about how much the pentagon spends on its back office functions as a way to find ways to save money. >> woodruff: and the work
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study got under way. they asked him to do it in a relatively short period of time, just a few months. it wasn't easy to do. i gather there wasn't a great deal of cooperation across the board. but they did come back with a report. and what did it find? >> well, what they found was pretty striking. this is kind of hard i think for most folks to understand, but the pentagon actually up until then had no idea how many contractors actually worked for it. so they were trying to figure out how many people worked in their business operations. they found that more than one million people worked in these core business operations, like you said, health care manage. , human resources, property manage. , things that any organization needs, but, you know, even for the pentagon, one million is a lot of people. these are essentially desk jobs. that compares to only 1.2 million active duty troops. so the backing of the pentagon is almost as big as, you know, the tip of the spear so to speak.
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>> woodruff: so secretary work, number-two man at the pentagon, when he and others saw this report, what did they do? >> they out thed this in advance saying this was going to be really important. they asked private sector executives to help them make sure the report didn't gather dust and that they would, you know, adopt these recommendation, but when the numbers came back much bigger than they thought and the recommendation is we can save $125 the billion over five years, effectively they buried and killed the study. the data that had been collected internally for the first time to pinpoint how many people worked in these jobs was kept secret. it is still classified and confidential. we worked hard for months to get our hands on it. we were unable. to i was working with bob woodward, my colleague here who is pretty good at that stuff. to this day they have kept that data confidential. >> woodruff: and you write the reason it seemed they wanted this buried was that they were afraid if this information came out that congress would not
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appropriate what he and others thought the pentagon needed to get in terms of future appropriations. >> that's right. there's a political calculation. they were worried that members of congress would say, look, you've been asking us for more money. we've been saying the troops need more money, you need more funds for ships and tanks and airplane, but your own report, your own data show that you can save $125 billion. why are you asking us for more? so they were worried congress would cut the budget instead of giving them more, so that's when they decided this was not something they wanted to act on and that they wanted to keep it quiet. >> woodruff: so craig whitlock, what's the fallout from this today? how is the pentagon dealing with this disclosure? >> well, i think the pentagon is very uncomfortable. they don't dispute the numbers. they don't dispute that there are a million people working in their back office jobs. they don't dispute that the study found they could save that much money. they do say it would take more time, that maybe it wasn't practical to do this so quickly.
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but what they're feeling today is some pressure from congress, members of congress, members of the armed services committee. they're saying at a minimum the pentagon owes it to the american public to release this data showing how all this money could be saved. and i think the pentagon's concerned they want to see how president-elect trump reacts. here's a guy who campaigned on a platform for major military buildup, and he said he would pay for it by cutting waste and abuse in the military budget. he wasn't very specific about how he would do that, but, you know, here's a blueprint for how they could save a substantial amount of money. >> woodruff: well, speaking of the president-elect and speaking of pentagon spending, separately from all this, the president-elect today tweeted and then talked to the press. we showed this a moment ago, that he's upset about how much he says it's going to... the boeing company is going to be charging to build two new air force ones.
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we know there are two of these airplanes that carry the president around. do we know for a fact from boeing that that's how much these planes are now supposed to cost? >> well, you know, he's actually pretty close on that, donald trump, when he says $4 billion. now, that's over the whole program. that's the cost of developing and designing these airplanes and to build and to buy them. boeing doesn't have all those contracts yet, but it really is the inside track. it's the only company the pentagon has been dealing with to work on this. but over the next several years, the pentagon has projected or set aside $3.9 billion for these two airplanes. now, one reason it costs so much is that these aren't just boeing 747 passenger planes. they have to be equipped essentially asen a airborne command center for the commander-in-chief. he has to be able to issue orders in case of nuclear war. it has to have anti-missile defenses, electromagnetic defenses. so these are pretty fancy
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essentially warplanes and command centers. that said, president-elect trump is saying, do we need to be spending that much on them. >> woodruff: very quickly, craig whitlock, is it believed that boeing will now hold the costs down as a result of the president-elect's comments? >> i think it's fair to say a lot of people at boeing and the air force are scrirming a bit. they've already had some scrutiny from congress. they know there will be a new commander-in-chief who symbolically, one of the first things he's going to point out, alleged pentagon waste, is point at this program. so, you know, i think they're going to go back to the drawing board and they're going to have to justify the projections. >> christa: craig whitlock, great reporting by you and bob woodward at the "washington post." thank you. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: while most attention has been focused on
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the action at trump towers in manhattan, lawmakers at the u.s. capitol are close to passing a major bill that would lead to big changes with drug approval, medical research and much more. lisa desjardins kicks off our coverage with this report. >> reporter: weeks from the end of its term, congress is passing a whopper of a bipartisan bill. >> this legislation promotes critical investments in research and treatment development. >> reporter: a godsend to supporters, a spending spree or corporate giveaway to critics. here's a look at the 21st century medical cures bill. it is a mammoth $6 billion measure, now four major pieces of legislation packed in one. starting with a giant $5 billion shot of funding to the national institutes of health for research. that includes almost $2 billion for the moonshot effort led by vice president joe biden to find a cure for cancer. that's one reason many democrats are on board.
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another: the bill now includes $1 billion to address the opioid epidemic. it's a national crisis that's been in funding limbo for months. a third major piece, mental health reform, includes a new assistant secretary position for mental health and substance use. republican tim murphy, a psychologist, has pushed for this for years. >> this does not end the scourge of mental illness, but this puts us on a path to really making some substantial change and give people help. >> reporter: now for what republican leaders love-- the bill's core: reforming how the food and drug administration approves drugs. the bill speeds things up for some drugs, especially biotech, and it promotes drug research for rare diseases. to some, that's modernization of a red-tape-riddled process. but to others, the bill falls short: there's no money for revamping outdated labs and thin staff at the f.d.a., and some lawmakers see it as a gift to pharmaceutical companies. those voices are led by massachusetts senator elizabeth warren: >> i cannot vote for this bill. i will fight it, because i know the difference between compromise and extortion. >> reporter: but she is in the minority. the bill has received
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overwhelming support in congress, and the president plans to sign it into law. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> sreenivasan: let's dive a little deeper now into this bill: what would change, and some of the criticisms around it. for that, we're joined by two reporters who have covered this field extensively: sydney lupkin of kaiser health news; and ed silverman, senior writer with stat news, a site covering medicine and healthcare. so sydney lupkin, let's start with what does or doesn't happen to the f.d.a. there's been a lot about that. what's the biggest potential change. >> sure, so one of the things that happens for the f.d.a. is it gets another $500 million over ten years. it also has more hiring power to fill the hundreds of vacancies that it has as a result of new initiatives, new laws other -- over the years. so that's one thing that happens to it, but the big thing is it really sort of makes the approval standards a bit more flexible for drug and device manufacturers.
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>> sreenivasan: okay. ed silverman, if this flexibility increase, is the f.d.a. stick on the hook if something goes wrong? >> yeah, it's a double-edged sword for the agency. on the one hand there will be a new process that could be in place. the agency will have to come up with a guidance, as it's called, a program that will determine whether or not it can use different data to evaluate the approval process for new indicationings or new uses for existing medicines. the catch with that could be that if something goes awry, the agency is still on the hook, let's say there's patient harm, for instance. so that's the down side. at the end of the day, it's the regulator who is typically blamed when something goes wrong. >> sreenivasan: ed, this has already gotten pushback from the likes of bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. >> well, the concern is that in making the approval process more flexible for new uses for existing medicine, it's actually lowering the standard, because
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of instead of what's using the gold standard, randomized control trial, the new approach would allow the agency possibly to look at other sorts of data, something like safety surveillance data, patient-recorded outcomes, these are things that are legitimately useful and tell us real things, but they're not the same as having a full-blown trial, and that's the sort of tool that is used to determine the safety and effectiveness of any medicine. that's big potential difference. >> sreenivasan: sydney lupkin, that also affects the bottom line of farm pharmaceutical com, because while their clinically approved double blind is the governor weld standard, it's also more expensive. >> this does stand to save them a lot of money, which is why they lobbied for it. there was a lot of will bying activity on this bill, more than 1,400 registered lobbyists on it
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representing 400 different organizations, many of them phrma. yes, it stands to save them a lot of money. >> sreenivasan: so a lot of peel, whether it's people dealing with the impacts of opioid abuse or hospitals focused on research, they have been for it. they stand to benefit from this. >> right. because of the n.h. funding in the bill. the n.i.ment is the national institutes of health, andlly a y will wind up going into grants that go to hospitals, that go to universities, that go to different labs to do research, mostly you've all heard of joe biden's cancer moon shot. there's also something called the brain initiative to sort of study the brain more, alzheimer's, understand more about how it works, that you can prevent things, and precision medicine, which is, to very much simplify it, genetics research.
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>> sreenivasan: how about the appropriations, if it's not cancer research or moon shot or one of those marquee things people care about, what happens to the rest of these huge amounts of dollars, and is it a guarantee it will happen year after year? >> well, it all sounds wonderful, but the money has to be appropriated some from day one we have that question hanging over the entire effort. will that money actually go as intended to the right agencies so it can do the work? presumably the f.d.a. will get funds so it can have more resources to take on things like different approval processes. but the money's got to be there. so if it's not appropriated, well, then where are we? the agency will end up having more work without added resources. and i think that's one of the struggles that has made the process over the past few weeks and months difficult to sort out and really feel comfortable that congress is going to do what it says little do. >> sreenivasan: so sydney lupkin, there seems to be a shift away from preventative
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measures in parts of the bill. >> what the bill does i believe is takes away $3.5 billion in funding for preventative medicine, funds set up under obamacare to study things like alzheimer's, chronic conditions, hospital-acquired infection. of course, the goal of that fund is to study these things so that then it ultimately saves the health care system money. if you can prevent something, you don't have to spend as much money treating it. and that had been mandatory funding. so now it will get about 30% less than it had. >> sreenivasan: ed silverman, when it comes to big phrma companies, drug prices are something consumers care about, something even hospitals and different insurance companies are trying to figure out a way to decrease this. does this tackle that at all? >> not really. i think that's one problem that congress is going to have to face up to, whether it likes it or not. it may not be in this legislation, given that the senate vote appears to be near
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at this point, anyway. so the bill doesn't really address some of the fundamental challenges and issues that inherently are problematic right now in the pricing system in this country. >> sreenivasan: is this just the general nature of such a large omnibus bill? >> it's almost the kitchen sink approach but not quite because congress is trying to pick and choose a little bit of what's easiest and what's most idealogically comfortable pursuing. for all the detail and for close to 1,000 pages in this bill, it really doesn't address everything. and unfortunately we have pricing. that's not really mentioned here in the way that's going to be meaningful for americans, and while they may be portions that are helpful, there are portions that are also problematic as i mentioned before with concerns about the f.d.a. approval process. ad what that means down the road for patient safety. >> sreenivasan: all right, ed
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silverman of stat news and sydney lupkin of kaiser health news, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: when it's not just children who are distracted by their phones; a guide to creating a presidential administration ready on day one; and two jazz greats improvise their live performance. but first, how one for-profit school model is being tested to help revitalize a school system in west africa. our story is in liberia, a country founded by freed american slaves with a history marked by suffering, including two recent civil wars and the ebola epidemic. today, the government is trying to rebuild a shattered nation, but a move to employ a for-profit american education company has drawn controversy. special correspondent fred de sam lazaro reports, part of our
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weekly education series on "making the grade." >> reporter: it's friday morning, and the children at this public elementary school are singing patriotic songs that honor their country's founding by freed american slaves. and as the u.s.-inspired flag is being raised, so too are hopes about how public education can be quickly and dramatically improved. these students are part of a grand experiment to see if a private, for-profit u.s.-based company can turn things around in a nation utterly destroyed by a 14-year long civil war, and a recent battle with ebola. the president of liberia has called the country's education system a mess. what did she mean? consider this statistic: in 2013, not one-- not a single one-- of the 25,000 high school graduates managed to pass the college entrance exam for the
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university of liberia. the experiment to bring in private partners was designed by education minister george werner, who took office 15 months ago-- hired by the president, he says, to act quickly. >> if we stayed the course, followed the traditional ways of doing things, we would not catch up with our neighboring counterparts. >> reporter: werner had been impressed during a visit to kenya, where the u.s. company "bridge international academies" operates more than 350 private schools. in liberia, where average annual household income is less than $500, werner knew most families could not afford the monthly $6 fee that bridge charges per child in those other countries. but he had an idea. >> what if we had a hybrid of public and private? there are certain things that the private sector does better
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than the public sector. government can come up with the policies. but management systems and service delivery, often the private sector does better than the government. >> reporter: werner hired seven private organizations to run a total of 94 primary schools. bridge, the only for-profit, runs 24 of them. josh nathan is the company's academic director. >> what the government has done in liberia is quite courageous. they've said "we're struggling with providing children this basic right. so what we want to do is look around-- inside liberia and outside liberia-- at other people who are succeeding in providing children with an excellent education. >> reporter: the government agreed to pay the companies directly, so education remains free for families. the companies also provide uniforms, which are required at public schools, and whose cost keeps many from attending. when we visited the bridge school in kendaja, the semester
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was only two weeks underway, and many of the uniforms had not yet arrived. >> today is a wonderful day for us. >> reporter: still, principal magdalene brown said the improvements were already very apparent. for one: there's a much longer school day. last year, it was just a four- hour day. >> bridge has us come much earlier, like 7:30. and bridge has us stay until 3:30 p.m. every day. and that means the children will learn better. >> reporter: even the students seem to like it more, including 15-year-old mercy freeman. >> we come to school on time. we sit in class. >> reporter: school actually runs like a school? >> yes. >> reporter: there are also new rules, such as no more corporal punishment. and, along with new textbooks, every teacher is given a computer tablet and is required to stick to pre-loaded lesson plans.
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critics of this so-called "school in a box" approach say it encourages robotic teaching and has allowed bridge, in other countries, to hire cheaper, less qualified instructors. that's less of an issue in liberia, where bridge schools retrain teachers who were already working in the school system-- and where many had their own education disrupted by the civil war. in this building, teachers seemed grateful for the guidance. amos jumanine has taught for seven years, but says he was a late bloomer. >> i was 17 years when i started a.b.c.s. >> reporter: you went to kindergarten, learning a.b.c.s, when you were 17? >> yeah, 17. >> reporter: he is hopeful the new partnership will be good for the students. but he is adamant that one thing needs to change: teachers need to be paid more money, especially now that they're required to work longer hours. >> i cannot afford to buy food for myself. >> reporter: so financially, it's very difficult? >> yes, very difficult.
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>> reporter: teachers in liberia earn about $100 u.s. dollars a month, and many say they take second jobs to make ends meet. that contributes to one of the biggest problems in liberia's schools: chronic teacher absenteeism. not only are teachers routinely absent-- many never really existed; just their names on paychecks issued by the schools. education minister werner says he's purged about 1,300 so-called ghost teachers, saving $2 million that was being siphoned away in fraud. josh nathan says the bridge schools use software in the teachers' tablets to track their daily attendance. >> we think this is important for credibility. where are our teachers? are they where they need to be? >> reporter: for their part, the teacher's union is strongly opposed to the partnership program. it points out that these new
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schools have smaller class-size, around 45-55 pupils and receive about $10-15 more per student than regular public schools. union leaders say their teachers could get even better outcomes than bridge if they were given that extra money and smaller classes. so if you had the right conditions and a better salary, a lot of the problem would be solved? >> yes. >> reporter: and when you argued this, what were you told? >> the ministry not even listening to the teachers. >> reporter: mary mulbah blames corruption at the ministry for hiring the ghost teachers, and alleges the ministry is using its purges to target union activists. immanuel morris, who was in a government program to train and hire new teachers, says his name was deleted. are you a ghost? >> i'm not a ghost, and i can prove that. >> reporter: but you are being called a ghost by the ministry? >> that is what it is saying. >> reporter: union leaders also question whether such programs could be scaled up to serve the 2,750 elementary schools across
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the country. minister werner knows there are risks, but says the government has a moral obligation to take drastic measures >> it's not panacea. it may just not work. but we should not just fold our arms and do nothing. >> reporter: 61-year old marie jaynes couldn't agree more. she herself had to drop out of school in fourth grade. she now sells water at the side of the road to support her three grandchildren; their parents killed in the civil war. jaynes says the new school will help her grandchildren live a better life than she has had. >> i hope for them to go far in school, to know the importance of school. >> reporter: the first of three generations in her family, that might enjoy the privilege of at least a primary school education. for the pbs newshour, this is fred de sam lazaro, in kendaja, liberia.
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>> woodruff: a version of this story aired on the pbs program "religion & ethics newsweekly." fred's reporting is a partnership with the undertold stories project at the university of st. thomas, in minnesota. >> sreenivasan: we've spent our share of time looking at how kids and teens spend time with their screens. now, there's a new survey that finds their parents have some of the same habits. the study, which asked for feedback from 1,700 parents of children age eight to 18, found adults spending more than nine hours a day themselves looking at video screens. yet even as they are worried about how much time their children spend watching screens, nearly 80% of parents felt they were good role models for their kids when it came to this. jim steyer is the founder and c.e.o. of common sense media, which conducted the survey.
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my jaw is still on the floor about the nine hours. that seems unbelievable. you've got to be counting stuff that i do at work and my laptop. >> it's astounding to me, too. i thought it was about four hours. i thought it would be four, four and a half hours. the truth is it's only an hour and a half of work time. so that means seven hours and 45 minutes per day the average american parent is spending with screen media at home. it was shocking. and they think they're good role models. >> sreenivasan: that's the other part. while they try to tell their kids, get off your phone and pay attention and talk to each other, under the table they're checking their e-mail. >> that's exactly right. i think that's what the bottom line about this whole survey is. first of all, we look at how much time kids cork whether they're age 18, but nobody ever asks parents. i thought parents were much more controlled, but the truth is everybody is addicted to their devices these days. >> sreenivasan: you started to break it down by income level and you saw patterns emerged. >> the most interesting pattern
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is more than latino families are more than twice as concerned about and engaged in their kids' media consumption as white or african american or asian parents. there is a big cultural difference and a very laudable one in the latino community, more concern about cyber bullying, about pornography, about issues, and then they set tougher limits. i think it shows a cultural ten ten -- tendency toward family that's good, that we should all learn from. >> the more they know about what their kids are doing, the less worried they are. >> that's true in general. your kids will get older sooner than you think, hari. i think when you know more you relax and think, i can teach them judgment and values. but i think parents are blown away by the digital media platforms. they don't understand snapchat or instagram, but they're using them themselves more. i think the number, nine hours, is shocking. tv is still the number-one
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medium that parents like, but they are spending time on the same platforms their kids are. >> sreenivasan: how do they feel about social media for their kids? >> very mixed. i think that's about media and technology in general. on the one hand, parents think their kids have to learn technology for education, for jobs, for 21st century skills, like 94% of parents agree that technology is really good. on the other hand, they're worried about tech addiction, lack of sleep, cyber bullying, pornography, all the down sides. it's a nuanced picture. i think it reflects the way i feel. they have to be there. they have to understand social media. but i'm worried about what might happen to them. >> sreenivasan: in this day and age, you go to classrooms some many of them are wired or wireless, and kids are connected to laptops. sometimes they're bringing that software home. it's necessary for homework. >> that's right. we now have 130,000-member school. so the vast majority of american schools are members of common
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sense schools and use a curriculum we developed with harvard proffers called digital literacy and citizenship. so technology, used wisely,, is an extraordinary education tool. but used inappropriately, it can cause all sorts of problems. that's clearly as true for parents as it for for our kids. >> sreenivasan: are there any clear rules of the road these parents advocated for? >> you mentioned in the opening nearly 80% of parents say they're good role models, you would think they're doing three or four hours a day. the truth is the big thing we've seen and promoted at common sense is device-free dinner. get rid of the phones, get rid of the laptops, get rid of those devices and be there with your kids and create sacred spaces, what our colleague at m.i.t. refers to as sacred spaces where there is no device in between you and your children. so parents say they do that, but the numbers short of belie that.
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convenient veeb --. >> sreenivasan: what about any kind of long-term effects. relatively speaking, smartphones are new in the long arc of technology. >> i think it has an enormous impact on everything in terms of empathy -- if you're constantly looking at your phone instead of at your kid, it has an effect on that child. with younger kids, there are brain development issues. at my age, whatever brain i have is developed as much as it's going to be, but i think it has long-term effects on family relationships, human interaction. the poztivities are the educational opportunities, the chance to connect to people around the world. so it's all about how you use it. and i think setting limits, too, in a healthy media diet. >> sreenivasan: jim steyer, common sense media, thank you very much. >> great to be here, hari.
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>> woodruff: with president- elect trump focused on preparing to take office in january, we return now to the transition process from one president to the next. i sat down recently with max stier, president and c.e.o. of the "partnership for public service," and an expert on presidential transitions. max stier, welcome to the newshour. you've published this presidential transition guide, you've also called the trump transition the "biggest takeover in history of an organization." seriously? you think about the united states government. you're talking about $4 trillion, 4 million people when you include the military, hundreds of different operating agencies, 4,000 political appointee, 1,100 have to go through senate confirmation. no other democracy has that kind of penetration of political appointees in government. it's a phenomenally complex, important, and critical process
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that is typically very ill-understood. >> woodruff: so what does a president-elect coming in and his or her team, what do they have to get right from the start? >> right from the start they have to understand how difficult this process is, and that history is not sufficient guidance for what has to come going forward. transition is also the point of maximum vulnerability in our country. in a post-9/11 world, getting this right is not just important for the president to achieve their policy electives but also to keep us safe. job number one is to get your team on the field when the clock starts, and that means january 20th at noon. that's not going to be everybody, but our view is you should have the full white house in police and at least your top 100 senate confirmed positions leading the agencies that are critical to running government. >> woodruff: we look at this and we hear some of the names that have been announced so far by donald trump. most of them either haven't served in government or if they have, they haven't served in the executive branch. why does that matter? >> it matters because running
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these agencies is a phenomenally difficult task. so when you think about running a large organization and you want people who have done that before, it's harder in the government than it is in the private sector. truth is that almost, and i mean this, almost nobody ever comes into the government at the senior level without having experience of having done it before. with one exception is elaine chao, who has been at transportation and labor. but that's the exception. these are incredibly hard jobs to get right. as much speesh as you have is good, but you really need to contention actualize that experience to specific issues faced in government. that requires a lot of learning fast. >> woodruff: how do you assess so far, i know we're still early in the process, but what the trump team is doing in terms of getting its arms around what's coming? >> i think they have a listening distance still to travel. they did some very, very good preelection planning. now it's game time.
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they're naming a punch of people. but naming them isn't the same as getting them into the seats. clearing conflicts have to happen. they have to go through the senate confirmation process. they have a background check that f.b.i. does. that's a very difficult process in the ordinary person. a number of these people, especially high net worth, very complicated holdings, it makes i even harder. they have a long distance to travel. i think the key is to focus not on single individuals but have they adopted the right goals, and that means getting leaders in place at the beginning, coming to the table with a management agenda, starting right with congress and with other critical stakeholders like the career workforce, which they'll have to run. those are the things they need to set up now. then they need to demonstrate in the next couple months they're ready to go when they own the place. >> woodruff: how are these skills that are required right now different from the skills in the private sector? i mean, donald trump comes out of the business world. many of the people he's named come out of the business world. there are more to come.
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but what's different in the muscles that are needed? >> it's a great question. i would say one positive is that the government does need smart business principles. and when you get someone who has run an organization in the private sector in a good way, there are great principles that can been transferred over. they need the good principles but government cannot be run like a business. so some differences start with congress. so when you're in the private sector, you don't have to worry about a board of directors that is in conflict with each other, that doesn't provide you with a budget, that doesn't have a capital budget. the working with congress piece is phenomenally different and very complicated. the high degree of transparency, you have multiple different stakeholders, and you almost never see that in a private sector that you have in government. >> just quickly, max stier, to the public watching out there who doesn't know a lot or really isn't that interested in the inner workings of government, why should they care about this?
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>> well, fundamentally this all begins in the beginning. if you get the beginning wrong, you're playing catch-up for the rest of your administration. it starts with national security. that's the core function of our government. again, transition is the point of maximum vulnerability for our government. a lot of enemies out there. they're looking to see whether or not that baton handoff is clean, and if new leadership is actually ready. so that's where it begins. but it's also all the other things we get from our government in order for that to happen right: we need a new president to be ready on day one. people in place, the right goals, a management agenda and understanding how the whole process works. >> woodruff: max stier, thanks for coming by. >> thank you very much. >> sreenivasan: next, how a passion for improvisation can make beautiful music. two jazz stalwarts re-join forces for a new album and a series of concerts.
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jeffrey brown has the story. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: the song, hoagy carmichael's 1938 ballad, "the nearness of you," performed as a kind of conversation between two master musicians, who happen to be peers and friends: ♪ ♪ saxophonist joshua redman, and pianist brad mehldau. >> if you're going to play a ballad with someone and you want it to be anything deeper than this just kind of surface experience, you're going to have to be vulnerable for the other person, and that's what the audience wants to see, too. >> this music, jazz, is all about vulnerability. >> reporter: vulnerability? >> i think so, yeah. you know, because we're improvising and we're not coming to the bandstand with a preconceived notion of what we're going to play. we have to be open and available
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and vulnerable, to really make that connection with ourselves and with other musicians. >> reporter: redman, 47, and mehldau, 46, have been filling concert halls and jazz clubs, on their own as band leaders, and together, for more than 20 years. this fall, they've joined forces again in a recent performance at new york's "jazz at lincoln center," and on a newly-released album titled "nearness," a mix of original material and jazz standards recorded live on tour in 2011. >> i feel so fortunate to be able to make the music that i believe in, and to get up there every night and just play from the soul and go for it. >> as an improvising musician, i really feel committed to not going out there and playing some nonsense for people. you know, there's a bit of a script, we have some plan, but what they want to hear is, they
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really want to hear us try to be creative. >> reporter: both men came to music early. redman, in california, was raised by his dancer mother, and is the son of well-known saxophonist dewey redman. mehldau, in florida and connecticut, in a family home never without a piano. they arrived separately in new york in the early 1990s, where each found his own early success. we spoke recently at the steinway piano showroom in manhattan, just before a concert. >> even when i'm ostensibly accompanying him, and he's ostensibly taking the solo, we're still having this conversation. so it may mean, for instance, he plays a melodic idea, and then i respond to it, sort of in real
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time, and i might even give him something back, that then he responds to. >> i'm always looking for something. ( laughter ) well, because i don't have anything, i always feel like, as an improviser, i feel a little hamstrung by this instrument and its role in jazz, because it's basically a soloist instrument, you know. i play melodies, maybe some accompanying harmonies if there's another horn player, and then i'll take a solo and then i have to go stand at the side of the stage. you know, i have a rhythm section envy because they get to, like, be in there, and always, you know, they're always listening, always reacting. but i feel like my best ideas often don't come from me, they come from the other musicians that i'm playing with, and especially when i'm playing with someone like brad. >> reporter: i asked for a demonstration, and the two launched into some blues. ♪ ♪
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>> so right at the end, one thing that josh does that's very exciting for me as an accompanist is that i throw him a curve in the middle of that phrase, so he was starting to start a phrase that was a little more conventional, and he was going to kind of wrap it up, okay, we gave you an illustration, by returning to the melody, and then i, in the middle of that phrase, i sort of went... ♪ ♪ ...and i harmonically, went off the chart of what would be the normal harmony there in this 12-bar blues we're playing, and ♪ ♪ real time, somehow, he heard me doing that and adjusted his phrase in the middle of the phrase. >> reporter: is that an
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intellectual process that he just described, where he switches and you have to react? >> that's a good question. >> that's an excellent question. whatever it is, if i feel like it's an intellectual process, then i'm not successful. >> reporter: it's not going to work. >> it's an emotional, it's an intuitive process. i mean, of course, it's happening in the brain, right, but if i'm thinking about responding in that way, then i'm over-thinking it, and i probably won't do it well. >> it's very exciting to really improvise, and to have that moment, especially. and it's also very social music. a lot of times, you're with other people, and to have that white heat kind of communication between another musician, it's really exciting. >> it's a great time to be a jazz musician. >> reporter: after our talk, joshua redman and brad mehldau set off on a european tour, and the two continue to perform their separate gigs.
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♪ ♪ from new york, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> sreenivasan: after jeff's interview, redman and mehldau played a song from the new album just for us. you can see that private performance in its entirety on our website, >> woodruff: and now to our "newshour shares:" something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too. rain showers and chilly temperatures did little to dampen spirits at the annual lighting of the u.s. capitol christmas tree this evening. this year's tree is an 80-foot engelmann spruce from mccall, idaho. joan cartan-hansen of idaho public television has been following the man tasked with finding that tree, and sent us this profile. >> reporter: chris niccoli's day job is fighting wildfires, out of the smoke jumpers base in
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mccall, idaho. but for the last several months, he's had a new assignment. >> i'm also the logistic section for the u.s. capitol christmas tree. >> reporter: that means niccoli is the man responsible for finding, cutting, and supervising the shipping and delivery of the u.s. capitol's christmas tree. since 1970, the u.s. forest service has provided the christmas tree that stands on the capitol grounds. this year's tree comes from idaho's payette national forest. chris started seriously looking for the tree last spring. when he would find a contender, he'd mark the gps location and take a picture. we're looking for a doug fir or engelmann spruce type species. you know, those are the quintessential christmas trees look. >> reporter: niccoli narrowed down the choices to about a dozen trees. then last july, ted bechtol, the superintendent of the u.s. capitol grounds, came to idaho to make the final selection.
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deciding on the u.s. capitol christmas tree is a lot like picking out your family tree, just on a much bigger scale. >> 60 to 80 feet in height, a nice conical shape because the tree is viewed from 360 degrees. >> i've think we've seen better. >> nice looking tree, good looking tree. >> reporter: just as important as finding the right tree is finding it in the right location. access is important because crews will have to take this 11,000-pound tree and put it onto a 105-foot long trailer. they found the right combination on the edge of little ski hill just west of mccall. november 4th, hundreds gathered to watch niccoli and a fellow smokejumper cut the prized engelmann spruce. >> one inch. >> it's just barely hanging on.
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>> reporter: with a few more cuts from an ax, and a little pressure... >> here it comes, bill. and she's free. >> reporter: the tree, all tied up on the back of a tractor trailer, toured idaho for several days before crossing the country, heading to its final home at the u.s. capitol. >> it's once in a lifetime for anyone involved, right? i just feel really grateful. it's great. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm joan cartan-hansen in boise, idaho. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, find a poem about the standing rock dakota pipeline standoff, written by a member of the lakota sioux tribe. that and more is on our website,
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>> sreenivasan: tune in later tonight. on "charlie rose," the winner of this year's pulitzer prize for fiction, viet thanh nguyen. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> bnsf railway. >> xq institute. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> carnegie corporation of new york.
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supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at >> 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
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♪ this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. trump tweet trips boeing. the aircraft maker is caught offguard and its stock stumbles briefly after the president-elect says cancel an order for a new air force one. how business must adjust to a new negotiator and chief. the high court speaks. in a victory for prosecutors, the supreme court broadens the lines for what can constitute insider trading. the biggest jobs challenge. it's not the migration of manufacturing jobs to foreign lands. it's automation, and artificial intelligence. it could kill not only factory jobs, but millions in the service economy, as well. those stories and more tonight on "nightly business report" for tuesday, december 6th.


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