tv PBS News Hour PBS April 22, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: syrian forces fired live bullets and tear gas at protesters today, killing dozens. good evening. i'm jim lehrer. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we have the latest on the syrian government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations, as we ask who the protesters are and what they want. >> lehrer: then, margaret warner explores allegations that parts of the best-selling book, "three cups of tea," were fabricated by its author, greg mortenson. >> woodruff: robert macneil continues his "autism now"
series. tonight-- the challenges facing adults with the disorder. >> more and more we're seeing kids can graduate out of high school to nothing. when we look at the actual numbers coming out of system it is very much like trying to use a turkey basser to drain a swimming pool. >> lehrer: and mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> during its first year, the humpback calf and its mother are almost inseparable. she lifts her calf to its first breath of air, then protects it on the long journey to their feeding grounds. one of the most important things you can do is help the next generation. at pacific life, we offer financial solutions to accomplish just that. your financial professional can tell you about pacific life-- the power to help you succeed.
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: it was the bloodiest day in more than a month of escalating protests in syria. local human rights activists said 88 civilians were killed. white house press secretary jay carney said the obama administration deplored the violence and called on the syrian government to "cease and desist." it was billed as "great friday." as this amateur video appears to show, tens of thousands of anti- government demonstrators took to the streets across syria after friday prayers, once again demanding reforms and the resignation of president bashar al-assad. freedom activists claim that these images are evidence of president assad's security
forces firing tear gas and live ammunition into crowds, as they've done in recent weeks. protesters marched in the capitol, damascus, and at least ten other cities, including daraa, banias, hamah, and homs, despite winning a concession from the government. this week, the cabinet, on orders from president assad, agreed to lift the nearly 50- year-old state of emergency in a bid to defuse the unrest. it had been one of the protesters' main demands, but turned out to be not enough to prevent further marches. in preparation for today's rallies, security forces and plain-clothed secret police officers were said to have been deployed in homs and other cities. earlier this week, secretary of state hillary clinton condemned syria's harsh tactics against peaceful protests. >> it must stop the arbitrary arrests, detentions and torture
of prisoners, and it must cease the violence and begin a serious political process, through concrete actions, to demonstrate its responsiveness to the legitimate issues that have been raised by the syrian people seeking substantial and lasting reform. >> woodruff: syria has long been one of the most repressive countries in the middle east, and though activists say there have been some small concessions, they insist more reforms must be made soon. we get more now on today's protests from robert malley, former special assistant to the president, and director for near east affairs at the national security council in the clinton administration. he now heads the middle east- north africa program at the international crisis group. he recently returned from a trip to syria. and ammar abdul-hamid, a liberal
democracy activist who left syria in 2005. his blog, syrian revolution digest, has been closely covering the democracy movement there. we thank you both for being with us. ammar abdul-hamid, you have been talking to people on the ground today what is the latest you're hearing and about why they are continuing? >> well, basically there were 3r0 protests everywhere and everyone was expecting violence. because the kind of security preparations that took place yesterday were very clear that the army was deployed. some other provinces in damascus and it was very clear that it involved heavy security presences, involved, so the intentions were clear that the protestors have a lot of reasons to push forward. the reality is bashar as ad gave-- assad gave too few concessions. the protestors gave in this
it was no longer legitimate even before he lifted the state of emergency. the kind confi crackdown in the first few days of the evolution, the fact that it took them ten years to even enact the first concession, wanted ten years ago,-- in everybody's eyes so it was clear the process would continue. >> woodruff: it is almost as if they feel emboldened by what assad has done s that a correct reading or not. >> it could be. my sense is there are two processes taking place today in syria and they are both completely disconnected. one is the president and others are giving these reforms as we just heard, probably too little, too late but they are trying to do things. on the other hand you have this dynamic that takes place weekly of demonstrations, violence, demonstrations, violence, and that's the one the regime can't stop, almost no matter what it says, partly because people don't trust what it says any more but also because they see what happens every week and that's what people are
paying attention to. >> woodruff: you are saying the movement has taken on a life of its own. >> that's right. >> woodruff: and it's very difficult now to stop. who are ammar abdul-hamid, who are these protestors? how well organized are they? >> we are a country where 62% are below the age of 30, most of the protestors come from that age group n late teens and early 20s. they have no memories of the repression of the 80s which a lot of people, you know, even my generation, you know, they still remember it. these people have no reason to be that afraid. and at the same time they realize that if reform doesn't happen now, if change doesn't happen now f they miss this opportunity t means the rest of their live perhaps enslavement. so the reality is we have people who who are full of hope, full of aspirations. they have waited ten years and that's a lifetime for them, basically waiting for the reform and nothing has happened. so they are taking matters and initiatives in their own
hands. they are out on the street trying to make history. >> woodruff: rob malley this is a cross-section of society? i mean all, middle class, educated, not educated? >> it is the sense we get. partly if you look at the geographic spread and the mapping of the country over the last ten years, the sources of grievance are basically national even though people are expressing it in different ways and different places, there is not a place in the country where some group has not some reason to be up set, which is again why it is so hard for them to contain it. because it's now emerging virtually across the country and across ethnic and security groups as well. >> woodruff: so no one group is dominating over another. >> i mean the numbers, if you want to look at the numbers, of people that are sunnies, there is really no identity, there is a northeastern identity, arab kurds, muslim christians, but there is no sunni identity. so think of it as a country of minorities.
all of them have their own cultures. but as-- all united by the fact that we have one central authority that has continued to-- for so many years and in a sense if you have now a sense of identity at this stage. and at the same time i think in the sense for the first time you can see it. i sense that being syrian that is reflected among all these different groups. >> woodruff: an syrian identity. >> a syrian identity that is truly emerging. and it's really tlarx is an encouraging aspect. >> woodruff: and rob malley initially they were asking for reforms. now they are saying they want a saad out. -- assad out. do you have a sense that their demands are organized? >> i think if you even look at what happened in the rest of the region, demands sometimes get expressed in concrete ways, i don't think they are concrete.
i think at some level they are existential and psychological and emotional. they may ask for the lifting of martial law but when it is lifted it is not what they wanted. i think this is a real threat to the regime. i think what they want now is nothing short of a change of the regime and even if tomorrow they ask for something else specific, and even if president bashar gives it to them, i doubt it would be enough. >> actually there are two developments. there was a statement issued today by sort of what they call the popular-- responsible for leading the protests, in different parts of syria. so there is the statement was signed by the committee in dam as ca,-- these are now the local leaders of prot test movement. the protest movement is finally now given us leaders. we still don't know the names but we know they exist. we know the committees exist and we know these different communities now are beginning to find a voice. >> woodruff: so a sense of an organization.
>> it is growing. and i think within a week or ten days we are going to have even names. and the demands now are becoming very clear. they want a new-- they want the president's son to be limited to two terms and they want to be apart under one security apparatus with responsibilities. so they are beginning now to give us specific demands. but they all amount to regime change really. >> woodruff: in the regime, any sense of any further give on the part of assad and the people around him. >> i suspect they will continue to give but it is what i said at the beginning. i'm not sure that the the plot one needs to follow now. i think the plot that is relevant, happening on the street every week and i don't know this doesn't mean that there is going to be a toppling of the regime tomorrow but i think what it means is they are going to live for some time at least with continued unrest, growing unrest, and further geographic spread of the unrest. >> is there a sense of regime is vulnerable. >> you know, i think every regime is vulnerable.
i think what we have to look for is the size of the demonstrations, are there cracks within the apparatus. >> and finally u.s. policy. we heard the statement from the white house. we heard what secretary clinton has been saying. cease and desist. we deplore the violence. they're not saying much more than that. >> at this stage, really, i think they are still finding a policy. it seems to me that the challenge for the americans, is to come up with a particular policy. this has been a balancing a difficult protest-- proces process-- process for these of these. i think they are looking for some kind of consequences. so far they are to the giving that choice and that is really giving assad much leeway to do what they want. >> i think they have done more. that is what they need to do. first follow the rhythm of what is happening. every time there is more violence that he rachet up the denunciation and they have more they can do in terms of concrete action. they don't want to become part of the story. the first thing the u.-- you see the protestors are in cahoots with the americans
and with the israelis and the third point is frankly this is not a story that will be written by the script. in the beginning it will be written in syria, what the u.s. does will have some impact, but the main thing is forth u.s. to do no harm at this point. >> woodruff: rob malley and ammar, abdul-hamid, we thank you both. >> thank you. >> lehrer: still to come on the newshour: questions about the book, "three cups of tea;" adults with autism; and shields and brooks. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: rebel fighters in libya took back a key eight- story building in an urban battle with forces loyal to moammar qaddafi. the clashes raged for hours in misrata, a port city that has seen power shift back and forth over recent weeks. we have a report from neil connery of independent television news. >> reporter: in the devastated heart of misrata libyan fights libyan for every building on every street. these pictures taken by
rebel fighters show the close hand nature of this bitter battle and what it has done to the city. footage said to have been filmed over the last two days shows pro qaddafi forces still have tanks on the streets. but the reb rels claim they are holding their own and even regaining ground. they will be encouraged by the latest american estimates that nato strikes have destroyed between 30 and 40% of qaddafi's ground forces. they also take heart from the presence of u.s. senator john mccain in their capitol benghazi. >> i believe that we should be much more involved and engaged in the air campaign than we have been. >> reporter: it's been confirmed that american predator drones, unmanned planes armed with powerful missiles have carried out their first attacks on government military targets. it is an increase in american involvement, which in itself does not change the fact this is looking like a prolonged civil war.
>> the u.s. chairman of the joint chiefs mike mullen >> sreenivasan: the u.s. chairman of the joint chiefs, admiral mike mullen, said the fight in libya has become much more difficult. speaking at a news conference in iraq, he said the situation in some cities in eastern libya is "very much stalemate-like". in pakistan, u.s. drone strikes killed at least 25 people today. the missiles targeted a militant stronghold in north waziristan, near the afghan border. pakistani intelligence officials said 18 of the victims were militants. two women and five children were also among the dead. yesterday, pakistan's army chief denounced u.s. drone attacks, saying they undermine the national effort against terrorism. the japanese government unveiled plans for rebuilding after last month's earthquake and tsunami, including a special $50 billion budget. officials plan to build 100,000 temporary homes for survivors. 30,000 of those will be built by the end of may. the special budget is only a part of what rebuilding could cost. government estimates put the damage at over $300 billion, making it the world's most expensive natural disaster.
republican senator john ensign of nevada is resigning. he is handing in his formal letter to vice-president biden today. ensign said he wants to avoid exposing his family to the intense focus on an extramarital affair he had with a former campaign staffer. he is still under an ethics committee investigation for conduct stemming from the affair. nevada's republican governor, brian sandoval, said today he'll appoint a replacement while ensign is still in office. his last day in the senate is may 3. good friday observances were held around the world today. in old jerusalem, thousands of christian pilgrims, many carrying wooden crosses, wound their way down the cobblestone streets to retrace what are believed to be jesus' last steps. meanwhile, in vatican city, pope benedict xvi led his annual good friday mass at saint peter's basilica. today marked the 41st annual international earth day. this year's theme, "a billion acts of green," encouraged individual acts of environmental service. rallies and events took place around the globe this week to
raise awareness of the planet and promote its cleanup. earth day was founded in the u.s. by former wisconsin senator gaylord nelson. it is now celebrated is almost 200 countries. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim. >> lehrer: and to a scandal involving a well-known author who's now being accused of lying. margaret warner has the story. >> warner: greg mortenson's "three cups of tea," out in 2006, became an international sensation, riding "the new york times" bestseller list for four years, and selling more than four million copies worldwide. in it, mortenson tells of his ill-fated 1993 attempt to climb k2, the world's second highest mountain; of stumbling into the pakistani village of korphe, and being nursed back to health; and of promising villagers he'd return to build a school for girls. >> salam alekum. >> warner: in 1996, mortenson founded the non-profit central asia institute, and through it, raised millions of dollars to
build what its web site says have been more than 140 schools in pakistan and afghanistan. >> the real enemy is ignorance and hatred, so we should all put all of our strength, our prayers and resources into the education of our children. that is the most important thing. >> warner: after the book hit big, mortenson began pulling down hefty speaking fees, and advising top u.s. commanders in afghanistan. but on sunday night, a report on cbs' "60 minutes" challenged mortenson's credibility. >> it's a beautiful story and it's a lie. >> warner: the piece alleged mortenson has misled readers and donors about many elements: his initial trek to korphe; an alleged kidnapping by the taliban; how many schools he's built; and how the central asia institute uses its money. best-selling author jon krakauer told "60 minutes" he'd donated handsomely to the institute,
until the board's treasurer warned him to stop. >> did he say why? >> he said, in so many words, that greg uses central asia institute as his private atm machine, that there's no accounting. he has no receipts. >> warner: mortenson refused to talk to "60 minutes," but he told "outside" magazine his co- author had insisted on compressing some events. he denied any financial impropriety and said the mission of building schools would continue. for more, we turn to alex heard, editorial director of "outside" magazine. he conducted the recent interview with mortenson. and daniel borochoff, president of the american institute of philanthropy. he investigated mortenson's charity and was interviewed in the "60 minutes" piece. welcome to you both, gentlemen, alex heard, tell us more about these allegations against mortenson what is he accused of doing? >> as you said, he's accused of fabricating major stories
in his memoir "three cups of tea" and also i think "stones in the schools" but the focus is primarily on the first book, and the foundation story of how this central asia institute and its mission was conceived of, involves that dissent from k2 and him wandering not village where the villagers celebrated his presence and he made a promise to them to return and build the school some day. >> warner: so what's not true about that. >> the allegation-- well-- . >> warner: sorry. >> well, i'm sorry. the allegation is that he didn't enter that village at all during the descent from k2. and in fact didn't go there for the first time until a year later. when i interviewed him just before the program aired last sujd sunday, he said that he changed the story from the book and admitted that it was false. he said that he had entered the ville and but only for a few hours. and that his return trip when the school epiphany happened, actually it
happened a year later. so you have three different versions right there. >> warner: and just tell us, and then i want to get back to what he told you. but first of all wa, about this story about being kidnapped by the taliban. we saw that photograph there. >> with supposedly happened in the summer of 1996. he said he was visitinging south waz ir-- waziristan which say different area than the korpe area. and that he was kidnapped for eight days by taliban and subsequently released. in the book the details are a little different from what he sold me. when i spoke to him he said that he was detained. he insisted that he had been detained against his will by armed men. krakuer in "60 minutes" said that it didn't happen at all, that he was a cop-- accompanied by a guy he paid and was treated with kindness his entire stay there and fabricated the taliban story for the purpose of dramatic effect.
>> warner: and mr. bore ovp off, you looked into mean the end of the charity, the central asia institute and the whole question of how he raised and spent money. what did you find there? >> well, first we found out that he didn't have an audited financial statement. so very little in the way of accountability. but what's particularly interesting is he's mixing what he gains-- what he gains from selling his book, the royalties in a speaking fee which is he now getting organize has been getting 30ing,000 dollars to speak. and the charity is paying all the costs in terms of ads over a million dollars. and then about 1.4 million dollars worth of domestic travel costs and yet mortenson is not keeping all the revenues. so there are millions of dollars in revenues that could be going to help the girls in pakistan and afghanistan. and people odd to be-- ought to be concerned about that. >> warner: is there nothing in any of the records you saw about him then giving
any money himself to central asia institute from all of this speaking fees and book royalties? >> nothing is reported. he claims that he is giving hundreds of thousands of dollars. but that's vague. he really needs to say if he is, what actually he's giving because even if it's hundreds of thousands of dollars the charity is spending millions of dollars to generate revenues for him. >> warner: alex heard, back to you. so you did talk to greg mortenson over the weekend as the piece is about to come out. what did he say more broadly, say about all this financial, these financial irregularities that are being alleged? >> well, there was a complicated series of answers. but at the did admit, he is not a good manager and shouldn't be running the financial side of this. the numbers, you know, i don't have privy to their audit, some of the audited statements haven't been released but one thing he told me that was interesting, he claimed that he has been setting aside large amounts
of money for a fund totaling $20 million, he said. it would be used to keep operations going in the event that he is no longer able to run the organization. the implication was that some of this money has been stockpiled in a nest egg for years in the future by cai. >> warner: mr. borochoff what about the central issue of really how many schools he built and run in afghanistan and pakistan. one, another, a videographer came out with a statement today saying he traveled with mortenson, he had seen some of these schools. and that he had seen evidence as do many people in the military that many of them do exist. what-- get us to the bottom of that. >> okay. well "60 minutes" looked at 30 different schools and found out that half of them were not operating, were used to store spinach or hay,
and had not received money in the last few years from central asia institute. also in connection with the military it is curious because these are really dangerous areasment and if you want to publicly identify with the military, he could advise them secretly in private but that's dangerous. and this group is like doctors without borders that purposefully don't accept money from even the u.s. government because they don't want to have that association that could lead to their facilities and programs being attacked. >> warner: going back to you, alex heard, so bottom line is, is greg mortenson saying, essentially, he's just made some management mistakes but that his work is serious and he's going forward with it? >> right, i mean he indicated to me that he wants it to make some changes and obviously he knows it has to happen. but planted in some of his statements is the idea that he is going to take a long leave of absence.
i don't know if that will turn out. but you get the idea that he is also preparing for the possibility that the organization will have to go on for a while at least without his direct involvement. >> warner: mr. bore ovpoff, qrb -- borochoff k you explain because you look at all kinds of charities. how could such a high profile chart, something like this go on, so little documentation for several years without anyone noticing? >> well, we noticed it in 2009. we had a number of people asking about it what's curious is why the regulators weren't more concerned about it. because you are required in a number of states to have an audited financial statement if you are raising anything significant amount of money. and something is wrong with our regulatory system to have let him get away with this to get away with this. it is really a surprise. but people need to realize that the financial statements tell a story also and it's very revealing and interesting. fins mr. mortenson-- for instance mr. mortenson talks a lot about providing salaries for teachers. well, if you look at the
audit only $35,000 actually went to pay for teachers overseas salary. >> warner: so mr. borochoff what danger do you think there is, we are hearing this from some nonprofit groups today, that a scandal involving such a celebrated charity will really chill people's enthusiasm or belief in donating to charities that do work in remote far-off places. >> well, it does taint, unfortunately, it taints the whole field. people become skeptical and distrusting. and they have to be careful with the celebrity or really famous hero type, and really go to see what's happening. but the good news is there is a lot of great nonprofit organizations, at charity watch.org. we've posted a number of top rated groups. we've scrutinized the finances. global fund for women, international rescue committee, save the children. they do have good programs over there helping children. so there is a lot of great opportunity. people shouldn't give up but have healthy skepticism.
>> warner: daniel borochoff and alex heard, thank you >> woodruff: now, the next installment in robert macneil's "autism now" series. tonight, his focus is on what happens when children with the disorder grow up. >> little kids are the public face of autism. their appeal helps win public understanding and education cal support. at the age of 3 zack hammeric was admitted to the school for children with autism in new jersey. run by bridget taylor. although it is a private school, the fees are mostly covered by public funds. >> when zack came 18 years ago he had very limited language. and couldn't follow directions. he was very difficult to engage socially. and you know, here on the tape what you see is i'm
asking him questions and he only knows answers to very few questions. and he can't really attend to our conversatio conversation-- conversations or interactions for a long periods of time. >> you can jump? good. >> but when children like zack grow up, will there be public support for them as adults, when they are no longer cute, harmless and unthreatening? in two months zack will turn 21. and the federally subsidized education that has brought him this far will end. >> what numbers are these. >> five, eight, four. >> the mandate that made education available to all children regardless of disabilities e priors at 21. yet he will need support for the rest of his life. like many people with autism, zack's life is a cruel paradox of impressive skills, compromised by serious handicaps. in 2009 zack completed new york's nautica triathlon in
three hours and 14 minutes. he swam a mile in the hudson river, biked for 25 miles and ran for six in central park. yet he was never more than a few feet from his father or his cousin. because zack has no sense of dangers in traffic. and so can't go out on his own. >> we come to an intersection, he doesn't know what those cars are going to do, when he needs to stop. so he's dependent on mitelling him, turn right, zack, turn left, turn left again. go fast, go, past the car, go. right side, go, go, go, pass it. >> yeah. >> and strangest of all, this expert biker doesn't understand about changing gears. >> you want to make it easy. >> yeah. >> make it easy, zack. >> now let's go. >> of course he feels it's easier but it's not better. easier is not necessarily better from his perspective. hard is also good. >> there you go. good. >> zack can't communicate well enough with people to
explain himself or tell them what to do. so the signs on his helmet, in case he gets separated or i get hurt, in order to let people know that he is autistic. >> steve who is an investment banker has made a huge personal investment in zack's physical development. instead of words, they have a shared physical communion. >> you like the phone? >> for hundreds of thousands of adolescents with autism about to become adults there are very few programs available. for those desperate to find a solution t is a public health crisis. >> well, estimates are about, you know, 700 to 800,000, you know, kids are moving through this system, you know, and time is not on our side. these kids are aging at the same rate as all of us. >> hey, elliott.
what are you having. a nationally known expert on adolescents and adults with autism, leads the program for teenagers at the mccarty school in new york. >> he considers the disabilities education law basically a civil rights issue for children but not so far for adults. >> after the age of 21, there is very little. it's more a-- we're goinging to provide services if we have the money and if you fit into this service. so more and more we're seeing kids graduate out of high school to nothing. they go on to waiting lists. they sit at home. >> he says there is a critical shortage of people who can work with adults with autism. >> first of all, they need staff people who understand the needs of adults. they need trained people who can work with them.
and in almost every state of the union, the credentials to work with adults with autism, high school diploma, drivers licence and a criminal background check. >> and paid what? >> and paid just above minimum wage, usually. maybe 8 to $10 an hour. it is not considered a career choice. nobody goes into the field of adult services looking at it as a career. >> say my duck is yellow. >> my duck -- >> there are pockets of excellence throughout the country. there are some very good adult programs out there too. unfortunately, they're just very, very, very few in numbers. when we look at the actual numbers coming through the system, it's very much like trying to use a turkey baster to drain a swimming pool. >> zack has many life skills. >> hello? >> zack still has lots of issues with understanding
language and communicating. he can't be left for long periods of time by himself. so although he's made tremendous gains, zack continues to require services. >> at home with his mother nancy in new jersey, he makes his own lunch. >> what? -- >> but unfortunately doesn't really understand danger. he had an incident not too long ago where accidentally something was left on the stove. when i came down, the house was filling with smoke. and zack was sitting by the computer on his chair, standing in a circle, slowly, not paying any attention at all to the smoke, the smoke alarm, anything. just in his own little world. >> yet his own little world has many facets. >> you can see this is thomas the tank engine. and i draws, pastes papers together and draws until he
gets the desired length. colors it and cuts it out. >> what age would he -- >> i would say he was probably 7 or 8 when de this. >> that's beautiful. >> yeah. >> oh. >> zack's sister skylar is close to him in age, only 17 months older and very close emotionally. now a junior in college, skylar has always felt responsible for him. >> when you think about the future, zack's future, what are your thoughts about it? >> the future has always been scary since i was little, you know, who's going to take care of zack. am i going take care of zac, is zack going to move in with me and my family, you know, these are all questions with no answers. >> i won't let you do this. >> will you not -- >> worthy old man. >> each member of the family has learned a different mode
of communicating with zack. skylar is through the music and movies that could manned some of of his waking moment. a current favorite even obsession is the movie beauty and the beast. >> the mem orized dialogue serves in a touching way as the conversation they can't really have. >> we won't rest until he's good -- >> he picks it out and he watches over and over and over and over again. and whether we like it or not, we end up having all of the lines memorized. it's really like, it's the closest that we'll ever get to sitting as a family and having a round table discussion. it's the most interactive thing to do with zack that i have found. >> their love for zack makes skylar worry about the risks. >> something i worry about is people misunderstanding
him because he looks normal. and he acts pretty normal most of the time. so i always worry, like, when he goes into the bathroom to use the urinal and drops his pants down all the way, i'm afraid that one day someone's going to take that the wrong way. >> it's all these little what ifs, what ifs. >> peter feels the answer is more trained male teachers. >> ideally he never should have been reinforced for doing that initially. personally, i think it's because we are a field that most of our young educators are females. and don't know how to use a urinal. i would like to use this opportunity to let them all know that we don't drop our pants to our ankles. >> gather hart once decided to become as comfortable with the needs of adults with autism, as it has with the physically disabled.
>> because of the americans with disabilities act, we've seen significant changes in our environment. we've seen handicap parking spaces and ramps into buildings and we see handicap bathroom stalls and we see all these things that didn't exist 10, 15 years ago. and as a society we've gotten very comfortable with the idea of accommodations for people with physical disabilities. we now sort of get that. but people with neurological challenges, however, we're still at a loss. >> zack has advanced enough to have a job. >> what do you need? >> at a nearby community he sorts and delivers the mail to residents. >> here are the keys. >> thank you. >> and let me give you the mail. >> zack is paid for his work but he needs and will always need constant support. >> thank you. >> thank you for helping us today. >> in the form of a job coach. >> almost finished? >> yes.
>> uh-huh. do you like the job. >> yes. >> dow find it easy or is it hard. >> yes. >> yet even this protected job for zack expires with his 21st birthday. since his job coach is paid through public education funds. it leaves his parents at present without answers. >> black hole. >> black hole of fear. well, there's not a whole lot of territory that has been charter-- charted this far. we're kind of the leading age of a huge wave of individuals with autism. an there aren't a whole lot of services in place for adults. zack is going to need a place to live. we can't live forever. but i have no intention of dying until i know that he's safe and secure somewhere. >> in the meantime the family finds what comfort it
can from the idiosyncracies of zack's mixed limitations and skills. >> and the uncanny relevance of these mem orized words he's able to utter so securely. >> we don't write what we don't understand, in fact it scares us. >> we don't like what we don't understand. in fact, it scares us. >> woodruff: w >> woodruff: on monday, robert discusses the policy implications of the autism debate with parents, doctors and researchers. of course, you don't have to wait until next week to watch it. part six of the series is available right now, in its entirety, on our "autism now" web page, where you can read extended interviews with some of those profiled tonight. plus, you can continue to send in your questions. robin will answer some of them after the series ends. >> lehrer: and finally tonight, the analysis of shields and brooks-- syndicated columnist mark shields, "new york times"
columnist david brooks. mark, incredible series. >> we markable, remarkable, all the more so because robin's own grandson. >> lehrer: absolutely. and personalization of the story, any story always brings it so home to everybody. look, polls reflect a growing opposition, as you know to the u.s. nato military action in libya. what is behind that, what is going on? >> it's in your question. the great american historian said all wars are popular for the first 30 days. libya hasn't made it to 30 days and part of it is it isn't a war s it a conflict. is it engagement? you know, is it incursion so you've got 40% of the people say we don't-- we didn't want to go in there at all. and then you've got the people who say well, it's okay to go in there and under the auspices of
protecting the civilians. but if you are going to protect the civilians, why not take him out is the growing-- . >> lehrer: meaning qaddafi. >> so are you in that terrible no-man's land really, with, now we're sending in armed unmanned drones and if that doesn't take him out, i don't know what it is, what they're intended for. >> how do you read what is going on. >> with the public. >> nobody even in the white house they weren't eager to do this. they felt they had no choice part because of the humanitarian, part because of the europeans wanted to do it and part because the arab spring. and so they didn't know where it was heading and the american people didn't know where it was heading. i think what they were trying to do in the white house was probe and see what can happen. the one thing i think a the love the coverage in part because where mccain went, to benghazi today is to emphasized rebels. but my conversation to the people in the white house suggest maybe the rebels will defeat the qaddafi forces. they don't really expect that. they're more hopeful there will be defections from within the regime. so the drone using the drone
is a difficult choice because on the one hand you could offend people in the muslim world and arab world. the drones are seen as a very offensive weapon, as a sign of arrogance of americans flying past 30,000 feet and killing people, often innocent people so there is a tremendous psychological risk in using the drones. on the positive side, if you are a qaddafi lieutenant and you think there might be a drone out to hit your car, you're more likely to defect. and so that's sort of the tough calculation they made in trying to use the drones. and hopefully rachet up the pleasure-- pressure on those to defect. >> and then you mix that in with the overview of overview policy for the middle east, and with judy's discussion and reporting teg beginning of the program, over 50, 60 people were killed, protestors, peaceful protestors, and yet there's no talk of doing anything about syria. >> there isn't.
i mean i think the growing recognition that if this is going to, this marvelous spring in the middle east is going to really come to bear some significant fruit and enduring change that it probably involves jobs in egypt for a lot of educated young people. i think that is a real, real test. i mean the drones bother me, i'll be honest with you. because somehow it's a war maker's or war theorists approach of an ouchless, painless war that you never have to see the people who are feeling the wrath and full force of these instruments. >> would you agree with what they said earlier to judy that, even mr. malley said hey, look, the script for this he was talking about syria, the script for this is to the going to be written in washington but in dam as does and syria. >> that true of all these places. we are more or less bystanders but we in the
outside world can influence a little on the mar begins. in egypt there was certainly some influence, in libya more. but in order to influence you have to be able to have a national interest. you have to have humanitarian interest and do it. in syria it is beyond our reach to really do too much. we can issue what we believe. in but i don't think we'd be involved in libya unless there was the arab spring. because i think the tipping factor in whether to get involved. >> tunesia, egypt. >> yeah, it is a unique moment in history and if we are ever going to be aggressive this is probably the moment to do what we can. but it is very much on the margin. and one of the things we're seeing is it really matters whether the country is ethnically coheesive like egypt or is not like bahrain or like libia. and it really matters how strong the institutions are as they are strong in tunisia, they are not strong in other places. and it's all being settled there, we have marginal inflauns-- influence but it doesn't mean wehave no influence. and i think we should use what we have. >> lehrer: meanwhile, mark,
there is a poll out "new york times"s cbs about a sour, dark mood americans have particularly about the economy. is that justified? >> yes. there are a couple of numbers that jump out, particularly "the new york times"/cbs poll. the first is that more people are negative, they think the economy is getting worse rather than better. and the other one, jim, is the one any with the real definitive measurement of the american public opinion at any time and that is the country headed in the right direction. >> they have been asking thar for years. >> right, and when it reaches two-thirds wrong direction, it usually means the party in power is in sirius trouble. and it is at 70% now. which is i think high in the obama administration's tenure. the number, the economy we've been told, it's darkest just before the dawn. things are getting better.
next corner we're going to turn around and things are going to be better. the administration's position is talk it up. don't be overly cheerful but talk it up, you know, jobs are growing. and then all of a sudden you hit this point where there is a realization that things aren't that significantly better and on top of everything else you've got an increase in the cost-of-living. particularly gas prices, which is sticker shock. if you have been filling up your tank for 28 bucks and all of a sudden it is 41 dollars and you have to do that twice a week, that is really reaching a tipping point with people. and i think that's what exhibits to telephone. that sense not simply of gas prices but am i going to be able to make it in addition to the economic news. >> do you read it the same way. >> you know, the gas pieces are powerful but i guess what concerns me more is there is a decoupling between the mood and the economy. and so for example a couple of fridays ago we were talking about a pretty good jobs number. and there have been moderately good or modestly good job numbers for a long time. and we all have a model in
our head that when the economy turns around in the early 890see, after a versus recession or in the great depression, usually when the economy turns around the polls track along with it and now i'm wondering if we are seeing a decoupling. and that could be because of gas prices. it could be because the economy has deeper structural problems that won't be healed by the economic recovery it could be because people have just lost faith in the government, both parties. and in the ability of the government to really handle problems and govern ability of the country and the fear of decline. i happen to think that last fact certificate a very serious factor which could cause us to see a decoupling. so a bomba people are ver very-- obama people are fond of saying reagan area was down with the recession and came back. >> that parallel may no longer hold. >> to follow up on david a point, that 11th hour, 59th minute, you know, resolution. >> lehrer: system of government. >> where the government was going to resolve, that just contributeses to the further
sense of pitch and sournes sourness-- pessimism and sourness of the mood. >> lehrer: has the president gotten any traction on going after republicans on lowering taxes for the rich and fooling with medicare? >> i think this is potentially a game changer. >> lehrer: for him. >> for him, i really do. i think david and i can argue about the policy which i think is morally weak on the ryan plan and puts the most vulnerable at most risk but you can't argue about the politics. the politics of it are terrible. they have given the democrats an incredible opening. the democrats were reeling, have been on the defensive politically. and you talk about the town meetings that republican congressman are having during this congressional break, they are on the defensive saying no, i'm not going to abolish medicare. i'm not going to dismantel. they've given an incredible opening to the democrats to change the conversation, to put the president and the
democrats on the offensive. >> lehrer: do you think they are changing the conversation? >> yeah, i mean they knew they were creating an opening. they walked into this. >> lehrer: the republicans knew. >> they can read the polls like anybody else and raising taxes on the rich is popular. cutting defense spending is pop la, changing medicare in any way, shape or form is extremely unpopular, including with republicans. so they knew they were walking into it. that is why i think it was sort of brave of them to do this because they do point to an elementry reality is that we can't you have to touch the middle class and you have to touch seniors so i agree with mark on the politics. last week i called the election for obama on the base of that. >> lehrer: i remember that. i remember that. >> i'm already regretting that, by the way. >> this week he is calling it mitt romney. >> it is going to be mitt romney. you know, i overstated it but it is definitely an advantage that the democratses are happy to walk into. >> republicans have done this. they did it in 1985,-- 2005
after george w. bush's re-election they came out with the privatization in social security. in 1995 with newt gingrich, they were goinging to cut medicare spending. in 1958 with the republican senate, they wanted to cut the increase. they want to go after the social programs. but each time they take this election win as a mandate to do it, and they end up -- >> i can say on the substance they are right each time. >> lehrer: you think it is courageous. >> as i said, your average medicare enrollee, average income making i don't know what, 50,000 a year is paying in $145,000 over the lifetime in the-- into the system, taking out 450. well, there is a big gap there and that is be sustainable. so the 4 -- 450 has to be brought down and they are right to try to bring it down. it just happens to be extremely unpopular to try to tauk about that. >> i just think there is a noral test to every budget and when are you doing it,
those who are suffering the most are those who don't have a voice at the table. i mean they really don't have a place at the table. >> that's our grandchildren. >> our grandchildren, it's the poor, the unemployed, the jobless, the homeless. i mean these people -- >> that is the democratic message. >> well, the democrats haven't been particularly solace does, but the republicans just kind of write them off like they are not existing. >> who is taking money away from the homeless programs it is medicare that is what is squeezing all these others. >> not-- . >> lehrer: good-bye, good-bye, nice talking to you all. >> woodruff: again, the major development of the day: syrian security forces fired live ammunition into crowds of anti-government protesters, killing at least 88 people, according to human rights activists. in a statement late today, president obama said the "outrageous use of violence" must end now, and said the
syrian government's moves toward reform were not serious. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the newshour online. hari. >> sreenivasan: margaret blogs about her interview with a former member of egypt's parliament, who is both worried and hopeful about her country's future. and finally, an update on the western journalists held captive in libya since april 5. one of them, clare morgana gillis, talked with her parents yesterday, telling them she had been moved to a women's facility. three others, including james foley of globalpost, have not been heard from. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll have the latest on the war in libya. i'm judy woodruff. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> okay, listen. somebody has got to get serious. >> i think...
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