tv News Al Jazeera November 20, 2013 11:00am-11:31am EST
welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are the stories we are following for you. president obama awards the nation's highest civilian honor, the presidential medal of freedom, 50 years after it was created by jfk. negotiations and concessions, world powers trying to make a deal on iran's nuclear program. and congress trying to pass a bill that could change the way that sexual assault cases are handled in the military. ♪ two days before the 50th
anniversary of president john f. kennedy's assassination, president obama will pay tribute to his legacy. he'll award the presidential medal of freedom, and head to arlington national cemetery to lay a wreath at president kenne kennedy's grave. mike how are the recipients chosen? >> the president does have these two ceremonies on his schedule today. one joyful, the other solum. how are the honorees chosen, well, the president has a big say so. but basically these are people who have had meritorious contributions to american society, whether it be sports, entertainment, the sciences, jurises here, civil rights
activists. it is obviously the nation's highest civilian honor. and in the grandest stage that this old billing has to offer. let's go through the list. right off of the bat you can see the president's influence here. ernie banks, mr. cub ben bradlee, at the "washington post." bill clinton, and hillary clinton is there, of course, the former secretary of state, joe biden will also be in the east room. daniel the legendary senator from hawaii, the president's birthplace who is now no longer with us. serves for many, many years in the united states senate. a psychologist who escaped from
gnawsy germany. dick lugar, who lost incidentally in a primary a couple of years ago to a tea party candidate. loretta lynn, the legendary country singer, a famed chemist and environmental scientist. sally reid a physicist, an advisor to martin luther king, a fantastic trumpeter, dean smith the legendary basketball coach at the university of north carolina, gloria steinum someone who grow up in the women's
rights movement of the late 60s and early 70s. ct vivian, patricia wald, and oprah winfrey rounds out the list. >> mike viqueira thank you very much. ernie banks to oprah winfrey. mike thank you. elsewhere talks aimed attening the standoff over iran's nuclear program resumed in geneva. there is optimism that the world powers may be able to reach a deal with iran sometimes this week. this is the third meeting of the p5-plus-1. any thoughts that this time they might be closer to a deal? obviously we're having problems
with phil ittner's live shot coming out of switzerland. we'll try to reestablish that communication shortly. the pentagon has been under fire for how it handles sexual assaults, and today the senate begins a measure that could change how those cases can handled. >> what is at stake dell is whether or not the military should have per view over sexual assault cases. kristin gillibrand wants to get it out of the hands of the commanders. here is senator gillibrand on abc sunday explaining why. >> we want to make sure the men and women who serve our military, have a justice system deserving of their sacrifice. they are literally giving their lives for our values and
country, and they should haven't pa justice system that is bias and has unfairness. >> she says her amendment would keep cases from being swept under the rug. there is a completing bill that keeps it in the chain of command. what that bill would do, is it would make it a crime to retaliate against someone who is a victim of sexual assault. it would also take it out of commander's abilities to throw out any court-martials, because right now a commander can dismiss a court-martial after someone has been convicted of sexual assault. so completing ideas. >> libby the pentagon has to implement either side which way
are they leaning? >> that's right. they do not want it taken out of the hands of their commanders. the white house has not weighed in on how it should be done because it could put president obama at odds with his cabinet members. >> libby casey casing us live from washington, d.c. thank you very much. we want to return now to phil ittner in geneva again those talks aimed at sending the standoff in iran. and phil this is the third, as we mentioned meeting between the p5-plus-1? and can you hear me? >> yes, dell, i can hear you. well, we're hoping so. they wouldn't have come back to geneva if they didn't have some idea that they could make a break through there --
>> and again we're having problems with phil ittner in geneva. he can hear me, but he cannot hear me without freezing. in texas a plea to the supreme court from planned parenthood falling short. planned parenthood arguing the state's new abortion law is underconstitutional. erika pitzi has more. this supreme court decision was sharply divided, and the conservatives outnumbered the liberals. anti-abortion activists vow to keep fighting even after winning this legal battle. the supreme court refused to block a texas provision requiring doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. the high court decision is not the final say it just means the law will remain in effect while
it is challenged in a lower court. since texas governor rick perry signed the bill into law, critics say it has forced nearly a third of the clinics in the that perform abortions to stop the procedures. those that remain have such a backlog they have had to turn people away. >> the first phone call made, the woman called back and threatened suicide and at that point what do you say to people? >> the four liberal justices who decented said women who are denied abortions while the law
is in force will be harmed. the governor praised the decision and said it is good news. the president of planned parenthood federation of america vows to continue the legal fight, calling the supreme court decision outrageous and unacceptable, and also demonstrated why we need stronger federal protections for women's health, your rights and your ability to make your own medical decision should not depend on your zip code. the case will likely return to the supreme court for the ultimate test. in the meantime the law stays in effect. right now there are about 20 facilities open in a state of 26 million people. that mean there is only one clinic every 12,000 square miles, an area roughly the size
of maryland. dell? erica thank you very much. in new mexico voters in albuquerque rejecting a ban on late-term abortions. tamara banks reports. [ cheers and applause ] >> we did it! we did it! [ cheers ] >> reporter: the decision on this abortion issue brought out the highest turnout ever seen in a albuquerque municipal election. >> this is a huge victory for albuquerque families. [ cheers and applause ] >> it is because of you that we were able to second a loud and clear message that we do not want the government interfering in your private medical decisions. >> reporter: over the summer anti-abortion activists gathered thousands of signatures to force a special election on a referendum that bans abortion after 20 weeks.
it only allows an exception if the pregnant woman's life is at risk. the idea is to pass local anti-abortion legislation when broader attempts have failed. >> given the gridlock that exists in washington, d.c., interest groups are pursuing their policy agendas in -- in this different, perhaps more hospitable environment. >> reporter: protesters rallied outside of an abortion clinic. >> we believe there are other humane and compassionate ways to deal with a crisis pregnancy, than taking the life of an innocent baby. >> reporter: but pro-choice advocates say this is another tactic designed to chip away at roe v. wade the 1973 landmark supreme court ruling that legalized abortion in the u.s. >> it's to ban abortions all together. and this is a really important
point for the rest of the country to understand. >> reporter: the vote crossed party lines even in a typically blue state that is home to many catholics that oppose abortion. >> let this be a lesson to all 50 states and congress. [ cheers and applause ] >> tonight the people of albuquerque rejected an extreme agenda pushed by out of state and out of touch groups that want to end safe and legal abortion all together. >> reporter: anti-abortion activists vow to continue the fight. they have already succeeded with similar measures in 13 states. this was the first time an abortion law was considered by a city government. we want to make you live now to washington where events are underway. this is the vice president coming in. this is for the medal medal of freedom, 50 years after it was created by president john f.
kennedy. let's listen for a second. [ applause ] >> the honorable bill clinton. [ applause ] >> miss irene enaway accepting on behalf of her husband. [ applause ] >> dr. daniel kenamen. [ applause ] >> there are a number of recipients you see former president clinton entering the room. they range from ernie banks to oprah when -- when friday. we'll be right back.
welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm del walters in new york. you are looking at an iconic who is who of america there. they are waiting for president obama. he is entering the room right now. this being the 50th year that the presidential medal of freedom has been handed out. it was created by john f. kennedy, this being the 50th anniversary of the death of the assassination of president kennedy. you see president obama and mrs. obama there. >> everybody please have a seat.
have a seat. well, on behalf of michelle and myself welcome to the white house. this is one of my favorite events every year, especially this year as i look at this extraordinary group of individuals and our opportunity to honor them with our nation's highest civilian honor, the presidential medal of freedom. and this year it is just a little more special because this marks the 50th anniversary of president kennedy establishing this award. we're honored by the way, today, to have with us one of my favorite people ethyl kennedy, and a pretty good basketball player, president kennedy's grandson jay. [ applause ]
>> this medal has been destowed on more than 500-deserving people. tonight i'm looking forward to joining some of these honorees as we pay tribute to these 50 years of excellence, and this morning we're honored to add 16 new names to this distinguished list. today we salute fierce competitors who became true champions, in the sweltering heat of a chicago summer, ernie banks walked into the cubs locker room and didn't like what he saw. everybody was sitting around heads down depressed he recalled. and so ernie piped up and said, hey, what a great day, let's play two! [ laughter ] >> that's mr. cub, a man who
came up through the negro leagues and became the first black player to suit up for the cubs and one of the greatest hitters of all time. and in the process ernie became known as much for his 500 home runs as his cheer and optimism and eternal faith that some day the cubs would go all the way. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> and that's -- that's serious belief. that is something that even a white sox fan like me can respect. but he is just a wonderful man and a great icon of my hometown. speaking of sports dean smith is one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history, but his successes go far beyond xs and os, even as he won 76% of his games he graduated 96% of
his players. he popularized the idea of pointing to the basket. he did have the good sense to give the ball to a 19-year-old kid named michael jordan. although they used to joke that the only person whoever held michael under 20 was dean smith. [ laughter ] >> while coach smith couldn't join us today due to an illness that he is facing with extraordinary courage, we also honor his courage in helping to change our country. he recruited the first black scholarship athlete to north carolina, and helped integrate a restaurant and neighborhood in chapel hill. that's the kind of character he represented on and off the court. we salute innovators who push the limits of science.
growing up sally ride read about the space program in the newspaper almost every day, and she thought this was the coolest thing around. she had an ad for astronauts in the student newspaper and seized the opportunity. as the first american woman in space, she blasted through the ceiling. and when she came back to earth, she devoted her life to helping girls excel in areas like math, science, and engineering. today our daughters can set their sites a little bit higher because sally ride showed them the way. now all of us have momented when we look back and wonder what the heck was i thinking? i have that quite a bit. [ laughter ]
>> psychologist daniel kahneman has made that simple question his life's work. in a stories career in israel and america, he basically invented the study of human decision making. he has helped us to understand everything from behavioral economics to does living in california make people happy? he has always been called an expert on irrational behavior, so i'm sure he could shed some light on washington. [ laughter ] >> but what truly sets daniel apart is his curiosity. guided i will his belief that people are endlessly complicated and interesting. dr. mario molinas started his
love of science in mexico city. he is one of the most respected chemists in his era -- [ audio lost ] and thanks to mario's work the world came together to address a common threat, and today we're working to leave our planet safer and cleaner for future generations. and we also have to salute musicians who bring such joy to our lives. loretta lynn was 19 the first time she won big at the local fair. her canned vegetables brought home 17 blue ribbons and made
her canner of the year. [ laughter ] >> now that is impressive. for a girl from butcher holler, kentucky, that was fame. unfortunately she decided to try her hand at something other than canning. this coal miner's daughter gave voice to a generation singing what no one wanted to talk about, and now 50 years after she cut her first vegetable and canned her first vegetables loretta lynn still reigns as the queen of country music. a man in cuba loved jazz so much, it landed him in jail.
later he defected to the united states. today arturo is an american citizen and one of the most celebrated trumpet players in the world. there isn't anyplace on earth where the people don't know about jazz he says. and that's true in part because musicians like him sacrifice so much to play. we salute pioneers who push our nation towards greater justice and equality. ct vivian was one of martin luther king's gradest advisors. reverend vivian was among the first to be in the action. in 1947 joining a it is-in to integrate an illinois restaurant, one of the first freedom riders in selma, for
which he was beaten, bloodied, and jailed. rosa parks said of him, even after things has supposedly been taken care of, he was still out there, inspiring the next again rakes, including me. helping kids go to college with a program that would become upward bound and at 89 years old, reverend vivian is still out there in the action pushing us closer to our founding ideas. early in the morning on the day on the march of washington, the march's chief organizer didn't panic as the story goes he looked down at a piece of paper and looked back up and reassured reporters that everything was right on schedule. the only thing those reporters
didn't know was that the paper he was holding was blank. he didn't know how it was going to work out, but he had an unshakable optimism, nerves of steal, and most importantly the faith that if the cause is just and people are organized nothing can stand in our way. this great leader for decades was denied his rightful place in history because he was openly gay. no medal can change that, but today we honor his memory by taking our place in his march towards true equality, no matter who we are or who we love. [ applause ] >> speaking of game changes, disrupt disrupters, there is a young girl named gloria stein'em, and
magazines only wanted her to write articles like how to cook without looking for men. [ laughter ] >> gloria has been called a champion noticer. she is alert to all of the ways large and small that women had been and in some cases continue to be treated unfairly just because they are women. as a writer, speaker, activist, she awakened a vast and often skeptical public to problems like domestic violence, unfair hiring practices, and because of her work across america and around the world, more women are afforded the suspect and opportunities that they deserve, but she also changed how women thought about themselves. she continues to pour her heart into teaching and mentoring, her one piece of advise so young girls is -- i love this -- do
not listen to my advice. [ laughter ] >> listen to the voice inside of you and follow that. when patricia wall's law firm asked if she would come back to work after having her first child? she said she wanted some time to spend with her family. at the age of 40, she went back to the courtroom to show the young kids a thing or two. as the first female on the d.c. circuit, she was a top candidate for attorney general. her idea was to go to the hague to preside over the trials of war criminals. she says she hopes enough women will become judges that it's not worth celebrating anymore. but today we celebrate her, and along with gloria, she shows that there are all kinds of
paths listening to your own voice. we salute communicate fors who shine the light on stories no one else was telling. a veteran of world war ii, ben bradlee brought the same intensity to journalism. since joining the "washington post" 65 years ago, he transformed that newspaper into one of the finest in the world. the post published the pentagon papers, exposed watergate, unleashed a new era of investigative journalism, holding america's leaders accountable and reminding us that our freedom as a nation rests on the freedom of the press. when ben retired it was put into a poem. oh rare ben bradlee his reign has ceased but his nation
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