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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 8, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: the supreme court heard arguments over campaign finance today, in the biggest case involving political donations since "citizens united" three years ago. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is off tonight. also ahead, an exclusive interview with white house counterterrorism adviser lisa monaco, on the heels of the weekend raids in libya and somalia. and from new york city: >> i want to make the new facebook, and that's what i'm going to do. >> woodruff: a profile of a program training today's high school students to become tomorrow's tech entrepreneurs. those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour.
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>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> united healthcare. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: our lead story tonight: accusations again flew up and down pennsylvania avenue on the eighth day of the partial government shutdown. president obama did raise the prospect of a short-term solution to address that and the coming debt limit, but republicans weren't buying. newshour congressional correspondent kwame holman has our report. >> i will sit down and work with any one of any party. >> holman: president obama came to the white house briefing room this afternoon to rebut republican criticism that he's refused to negotiate. >> i've shown myself willing to go more than halfway in these conversations. and if reasonable republicans want to talk about these thing again, i'm ready to head up to the hill and try. i'll even spring for dinner
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again. but i'm not going to do it until the more extreme parts of the republican party stop forcing john boehner to issue threats about our economy. >> holman: in fact, the president said, he's even willing to discuss changes in the health care act after republicans agree to reopen the government and raise the national debt ceiling. he and house speaker boehner did get together by phone this morning but reportedly mostly exchanged talking points. shortly after mr. obama spoke this afternoon, boehner came before the cameras with his answer: the president's position he said, is unsustainable. >> the long and short of it is there's going to be a negotiation here. we can't raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what's driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means. the idea that we should continue to spend money that we don't have and give the bill to our
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kids and our grand kids would be wrong. what the president said today was if there's unconditional surrender by republicans he'll sit down and talk to us. that's not the way our government works. >> holman: meanwhile, house republicans say they'll call for a special bipartisan committee work out fiscal issues and end the impasse. a similar group in 2011 tried and failed to reach an agreement on deficit reduction and the president today rejected trying that again. >> a quorum is present. >> holman: and over in the senate, democrats made plans to offer a straight-up bill raising the debt ceiling. it faced a likely republican filibuster. >> woodruff: the impasse in washington did a number on the stock market again today. the dow jones industrial average dropped another 159 points to close at 14,776. the nasdaq fell 75 points to close below 3695. in other news, the supreme court took on a major new case on campaign financing.
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arguments focused on whether to throw out the limits on contributions by individuals. in 2010, the high court threw out limits on independent spending by corporations and labor unions. we'll have more on this story, right after the news summary. the federal government's new health insurance web site had to be taken down again overnight, one week after it went live. glitches have plagued the online enrollment system for uninsured americans. the obama administration has declined to release any numbers on how many people have managed to sign up. there was word today that power surges have repeatedly damaged a massive new data storage facility for the national security agency. the "wall street journal" reported ten meltdowns over 13 months destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars of hardware at the utah site. the power problems have delayed the facility's opening. the u.s. commando raid that seized a top al-qaeda suspect in libya is still making waves.
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libyan jihadists vowed today to kidnap americans in retaliation for the capture of abu anas al- liby. and the u.s. military said it's moving some 200 marines to a base in italy, just in case. in washington, president obama said the libya raid-- and another in somalia-- does not mean he's expanding the war on terror. >> there's a difference between us going after terrorists who are plotting directly to do damage to the united states and us being involved in wars. but where you've got active plot and active networks, we're going to go after them. >> woodruff: the president did not directly address a question on whether the seizure of al- liby complied with international law. more on all this, later. in egypt, the army chief charged the muslim brotherhood with having threatened violence in a bid to forestall any move against former islamist
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president mohammed morsi. general abdel-fattah el-sissi led the ouster of morsi last july. he said today morsi should have resigned in the face of sweeping protests against his rule. meanwhile, the death toll from sunday clashes between the army and morsi supporters rose to 57. the turkish government today lifted a ban on women in state institutions wearing islamic head scarves. the restriction dates back almost 90 years and has kept many women out of government jobs. the new rules will not apply to the courts or the military. the president of argentina is recovering from skull surgery in buenos aires. cristina fernandez had the operation today to remove a blood clot and relieve pressure on her brain after an unspecified head injury. supporters kept vigil outside her hospital and brought signs wishing the 60-year-old leader well.
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>> ( translated ): i'm worried. she is someone who's very intelligent and having to have an operation, regardless of howo risk. i'm very worried there won't be someone able to replace her adequately. >> woodruff: a spokesman for president fernandez emerged later to say, "the operation went well." the surgery can require several months of recovery time. a nobel prize will go to two men who made a discovery that underpins all of modern physics. we have a report on today's announcement from lawrence mcginty of independent television news. >> reporter: it's taken almost 50 years but today the nobel prize for physics finally went to one of sciences most original thinkers.ñi >> professor peter higgs, united kingdom. >> it was 1964 when he discovered a subatomic particle now called the higgs boson.
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but only in julyçó last year did scientists manage to make the so-called god particle and so prove it existed. the vindication of his theory 50 years ago brought a tear to his eye. days after that, he was asked if he might win the nobel prize. >> i don't know. i don't have close friends on the nobel committee. (laughter) >> reporter: he'd be the first to give credit to the scientists at the world's biggest at tom smasher at certain near geneva whose experiments found the particle he predicted all those years ago. peter higgs and fran waugh englert will be receiving the medal in about two months time. but it's a big strange that the thousands of scientists at cerne who proved that theçó particle they predicted actually existed will get no recognition of at all from the nobel committee. that's because this medal can only go to individual
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individuals. after all the publicity last year, today he was shy of the cameras. >> he's always been rather modest and actually looks to give other people credit where appropriate. >> reporter: a modest man with a big idea that is now the bedrock of modern physics >> woodruff: the revamped, more colorful american $100 bill went into circulation today. new security features include a blue three-dimensional ribbon to the left of the image of benjamin franklin's face. there's also a copper-colored inkwell. the hundred-dollar bill is the most frequently counterfeited u.s. currency overseas. here at home, the $20 dollar bill is the counterfeiters' choice. still ahead on the newshour, the supreme court weighs limits to individuals' political donations; the shutdown's impact on a colorado town already reeling from devastating floods; a white house counter-terrorism adviser on the recent raids in africa; teaching today's kids to be tomorrow's tech titans; and pro football's struggle with
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head injuries. >> woodruff: the supreme court kicked off its new term by hearing arguments in what could be the most important case of the judicial year. at issue: whether to lift the cap on total donations one individual can make to politicians during an election cycle. here to walk us through the arguments is marcia coyle of the "national law journal." she was in the courtroom today. .ñrñrçóñi it's good to have you with us. >> good to be back, judy. >> woodruff: another term under way. >> another big case. >> woodruff: so before we talk about this case, marcia, it's important to have you define what -- define what limits we're talking about. there are different kinds of limits when it comes to political contributions. >> well, our federal law contains two types of limits on contributions by individuals to candidates, political parties,
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and political committees. there are base limit which is restrict the amount that an individual can give in an -- in a single election year and then there are what we calling a a gatt limits which restrict the amount, the total amount, that an individual can give in a two-year election cycle. now, right now, that aggregate limit is about $123,000. the supreme court has upheld base limits and aggregate limits. they did it in 1976. they acknowledged at that time that this was a burden on speech and association rights but that burden was outweighed by the governmeov's substantial interest in combating corruption quid pro quo corruption and the appearance of corruption. and the court has not eroded those limits in the intervening 40 years. >> woodruff: so the main case before the court today is thisñi alabama businessman who says we need to do away with the total
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limit. >> yes. the alabama businessman and the republican national committee and also participating in arguments today was a lawyer for senator mitchxd mccome who has been a long time foe of campaigó finance. >> woodruff: the senate republican leader. >> right. and their main argument is since 1976 there are many more regulations on the books to prevent what was the main justification by congress for the aggregate limitñrs. the congressmen posed them, it said, in order to prevent circumvention end runs around the base limits. >> woodruff: and that was the argument and what kinds of questions were you hearing from the justices? >> well, it was interesting, judy, because you could see on the court almost the same type of divide that we saw on the court in 2010 with the citizens united decision. you had primarily justices on the conservative side of the court-- justices scalia and
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alito-- really skeptical of whether lifting the aggregate limits would prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption. on the other side, of course, the government was arguing these limits are still needed to combat corruption and the appearance of corruption but on the other side of the bench, the more liberal justices, they gave many hypotheticals testing that and appeared to be indicating that they did believe it was possible that without the aggregate limits you could have an individual writing a check for approximately $3 million, giving it to a candidate and of course you're going to have a seat at the table if you do something like that. >> woodruff: and so what -- and how were the attorneys who were representing each side? how were they answering this? >> well, they stuck to their argument that, one, there's no need to worry about circumvention of the base limits anymore.
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that we w the aggregate limits you're basically -- you're burdening much more speech than is necessary and that violates the first amendment. and the government said but if you lift these limits you're going to have roughly maybe 500 of the healthiest americans controlling the elections in this country. >> woodruff: and how much were the justices concerned about that? >> i think there was concern primarily on the liberal side. although it was very interesting. chief justice roberts, he hasn't been as aggressive as other justices when it comes to limiting money in campaigns even though he did vote in citizens united to lift the limits on spending. but he voiced concern about what these aggregate limits do to the smaller donorñr who under curret limit cans basically give to9inl of the law if he or she gives to ten candidates. so he saw this as severe
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restriction on small donations. but justice ginsburg actually thought that the aggregate limits encourage more speech because they require candidates and parties to cast a broader net to bring in more donors in order to get the money they need to run the election. >> woodruff: so just quickly, a sense today from what the justices were saying? >> my sense is the aggregate limits are in a lot of trouble with the court and chief justice roberts was looking for a narrower way to decide it but he didn't get much help from either side's lawyers. >> woodruff: marcia coyle, thank you very much. >> my pleasure, judy. >> woodruff: to debate the issue, i spoke a short time ago with republican national committee chairman reince priebus. the r.n.c. brought the case to the court. and u.s. representative david price, democrat of north carolina, who filed a brief with the court in support of current campaign finance donation limits. ñr reince priebus and
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representative david price, welcome to the newshour. mr. priebus, let me start with you. why does the republican national committee want to make it possible for people make unlimited contributions to the candidates and the parties of their choice? >> we're not challenging the idea that people still have individual limits to congressmen and parties across the country. all we're challenging is the aggregate limit that a person can give in total to all candidatestor all political parties. and part of the problem is this and i think what we saw today, no matter where you were -- no matter where you were sitting i think there was agreement today that the current state of the law, the way that things are going as far as money and politics is not a sustainable model. we've been trying to advocate that parties-- at least from our standpoint-- should have more ability to raise money because we are disclosing everything and all of our donor information on
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a monthly basis to the federalñi election commission. what's happened is the money has gone outside of the candidates and outside of the party committees and they've gone to other independent pacs or super pacs as people call them and theyñr have unlimited access to money but they disclose nothing to anybody. so what's happened in the law is the total opposite of what i think most people intended. so that's what we're really talking about today. >> woodruff: and congressman price, why is it a bad idea to do what the republicans are saying? to put, in other words, no limits on the total amount that can be given. >> well, if i'm the one who's supposed to defend super pacs, think again. i think it's a terrible decision, the citizens united decision. but the notion that the cure to that is to open up a whole new category of superdonors i think
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is likely to compound the problem. it would even further dilute the voice of small donors and of small contributors and also it would override that distinction that the court has maintained for a long, long time. that the danger of corruption and the appearance of corruption is much greater when we're talking about contributions. of course, i agree contributions are going to add up to huge amounts of money and compound that perception of corruption. >> woodruff: reince priebus, why isn't itñi a concern that allowg these large contributions than you would be as congressman price said potentially overriding the voice of small donors, people who cannot afford to give very much to a politician? >> no, i don't think that's the case at all because each individual candidate is still going to have a limit as to how
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many -- what the individual limit of the contribution is. so if today under the law i can give to 18 particular candidates at a full maximum level the question is why is giving to 19 supposed toçó be illegal under e law? here's the point: i'm trying to put more disclosed money into the system, not more money. the money's going to be there. i mean, guys, we're living in a different universe if we don't think that there's boat lottsñif money in politics. >> woodruff: let me ask congressman price. the disclosure point he's making and that it's a matter of not raising how much you can give to one candidate but you can give to more candidates. >> well, i'm delighted to hear the chairman's commitment to disclosure. i hope he's in good touch with senator mcconnell because we've been proposing in the disclose act for full disclosure. whatever you think of the supreme court's decision in
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citizens united. surely we can agree as we did for many more years until senator mcconnell changed his position surely we can agree thatñiñi disclosure is desirabl. that we need to have a full accounting of who's giving to these super pacs. >> i think congressman's -- the congressman is sort of missing the point here. the point is whether or not is by keeping the base limits in place and allowing people to donate to many candidates as they want to it's that -- is that creating corruption within a system that already allows a person to write a $10 million check to a super pac? the point is itñi doesn't! and that's the question before the court. if question before the court isn't how to just make everyone feel and boy isn't that too much none? that's not the question before the court. the question before the court is is keeping the base limits in place but allowing people to contribute to as many candidates as they want, do husband that encourage sdplupgs and the answer is no! >> woodruff: let me give congressman price a chance to answer that. >> if you're worried about
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parties and candidates not have a piece of the action even with the new rules in place in 2012, they gave over $5 billion, 83% of their contribution. so as bad as these super pacs are and as unaccountable as they are they still account for 17% of the contributions. so the parties and candidates are doing just that but the exciting thing i've heard in this interview is the commitment to disclosure. we could level that playing field with regard to disclosure. so let's have at it. let's make sure the super pacs and the so-called social issue groups disclose who's financing them. >> woodruff: and congressman price quickly. your point about being able to contribute to more candidates.çó >> mr. mccutcheon who brought this case, he's not been hamstrung just because he could not give to an aggregate of 17 candidates. the guy gave $300,000. he has a super pac himself. i'm not worried about
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mr. mccutcheon's free speech rights or his ability to support as many candidates as he wants. >> woodruff: quick final word, reince priebus. >> here's theñi issue: ifñr a pn wants to give to the democratic senatorial committees, the republican congressional committees and the republican national committee, under the law, the law says they couldn't do that. and i don't understand how by giving to two andñi $10,000 to a third actually prevents corruption. i mean, i -- that's the issue before the court. and we're getting into a conversation about issues that are not before the court and the freedom of speech should ensure that a person under the individual limits should be able to give to whomever they want to give to. >> woodruff: do you have a final comment congressman price about that corruption? >> well, all i can say is that for four decades the court has saidñr that there's a particular problem with direct contributions in terms of
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corruption and the perception of corruption. now, i -- iñi think there's the same problem with respect to expenditures but the court has not thought so. the court has thought that contributions were warranted special regulations andçó that's what our republican friends are saying should be overturned. it's a major unleashing of a whole new class of superdonors. >> woodruff: we are going to have to leave it there, gentlemen. we'll be watching the court. congressman david price, reince priebus, chairman of the republican national committee. >> woodruff: next, how the government shutdown is affecting one colorado community, still recovering from last month's devastating floods. the newshour's mary jo brooks has our report. >> reporter: the floodwaters that swept through estes park a month ago damaged hundreds of buildings and destroyed two main roads that led into town. the sewage system was so broke
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than a third of the residents still must use port-a-pottys that have been set up throughout the neighborhoods. in spite of all that, folks here have been working round the clock to get their town backçó n shape for throngs of tourists who come every year to view the spectacular fall colors. estes is the gateway toútse rocky mountain national park, which draws more thanñi three million visitors a year. the town of 6,000 people depends on the park for its livelihood and residents were hopeful that a strong october tourist season could help with their financial recovery. they managed to get 90% of their shops and restaurants back open-- and then came the government shutdown. >> the double whammy with the park beingñi closed. >> reporter: frank lancaster is the town's administrator. he says the closure of rocky mountain national park is devastating. >> 65%çof our revenue comes fror tourism dollars and about 45% of the jobs here in town are based on tourism dollars.
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we're already seeing some businesses having to lay some folks off because of that and it's a combination of the flood, the roads being closed and the park being closed. it's tough. it's kind of a trifecta of disasters here. >> reporter: trisha jacobs considers herself one of the lucky ones. she andçó her husband manage kirk's flyñi fishing shop. the store suffered only minor damage but news of the flood caused many fishing trips to be canceled andñi some employees to be laid off. the closure of the park has meant even more cancellations. >> a lot of us here like we weri down as was and then somebody just kicked us while we were down. they took everything away from us by closing the park. last week we hadñi fewer people, but there were still people in town. this weekñi it's just way different. i mean, hardly anybody. >> reporter: jacobs says those who do come are confused-- especially tourists from abroad. >> the europeans don't understand why with the
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disagreement in washington why they would shut down the parks. and i have to say that even the americans don't understand it because those parks are for us. >> reporter: julie peeper is one of those who's been vexed by the closure. she and her husband own two restaurants in estes that were heavily flood damaged. they areñr racing to reopen onen the next few days to take advantage of the fall season. she says the closure of the park has been more than just a financial setback for small businesses and for 200 park employees who have been furloughed, it has been an emotional blow. >> the day the park closed down i think everybody had a little mini meltdown because that was the place we could all go to gei away from debris and the reality of mold and wet carpet and you could get outside and blow off a little steam and we can't do that now. and that's been hard. >> reporter: the one thing that hasn't yet been affected by the government shutdown is emergency disaster aid from federal agencies. fema still has more than a
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thousand workers on the ground in colorado. the and 150 colorado national guardsmen who were to be furloughed were kept onñi the jb last week when governor john hicken looper announce head would use state money to pay for them. it's likely to cost more than $60,000 a day. the guardsmen are working with the state's department of transportation to repair the numerous roads and highways that were damaged in the flood. administrator lancaster says he's grateful that help is continuing but says it's hard to move forward with long-term planning when federal agencies like the term corps ofçó engines and the forest service are shut down.5, the fema folks are here, we have coast guard people here helping with us hazardous waste problems but when it comes down to the ongoing recovery and getting back on our feet, the folks that we need to help aren't working. they've been furloughed. >> reporter: governor hicken looper hopes to help with that process.he's aplayed for waivero allow state workers to carry out some ofñi the duties of furlougd
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federal workers until the shutdown has been resolved. so far, the governor has received no answer. >> woodruff: now back to the weekend military actions in libya and somalia. president obama is vowing that suspected al qaeda leader abu anas al-liby-- captured in libya on saturday and now being held on a u.s. warship-- will be brought to justice. jeffrey brown has our newsmaker interview. ñi >> brown:ñi we discuss the playd in the libya and its aftermath with president obama's chief counterterrorism advisor lisa monaco. welcome to you. in his press conference today the president said where we've got active plots and active networks we're going to go after them. was there an active, imminent threat the case of al-libi? >> well, i think, jeff, what you saw here was a demonstration of the incredible professionalism of the men and women in the armed forces and conducting the
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raid that occurred over the weekend. and an ays in a al-libiñi did pe a threat to the united states, he was a senior al qaeda member and somebody who is also charged in an indictment for his role as part of the al qaeda worldwide conspiracy. >> one of the questions that aridess in a case like these, is there a clear standard in determining when the u.s. goes into another country? >> the standard is one to go after those who would seek to do us harm. and what you saw in the case of the al-libiçó raid was,ñi frank, the unrelenting focus to go after them no platter how long it takes. >> brown: was it more for what he had done in the past that he was indicted for or sors kind of imminent threat he was involved in. >> well, i think with the case of al-libi he certainly poses a threat and did pose a threat. he's now in the custody of the united states m but he did pose a threat as a
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senior member of al qaeda. but he also-- as has been said and has been demonstrated-- is a charged al qaeda member. >> he's being held on the ship. today you had libya's prime minister said that he should be tried in libya. you've had republicans say he should be sent to guantanamo. we've seen civil libertarian groups say he should be read his miranda rights and treated as a criminal under u.s. criminal law. what exactly is his status? >> his status that he's being held by the united states military consistent with the authorization for the use of military force. what this raid demonstrated and what this operation demonstrated is our top priority is to go avenue those who do pose a threat and whoñr do seek to do s harm. but also to always first if we
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can capture and obtain intelligence from those individuals. >> brown: do you expect him to be brought to trial in the united states? >> i'm not going to get ahead of that process but what i will say is that our first prior city to get intelligence testimony from from him. and as we've seen in other operations of this kind as with war sammy who you may remember who was also captured by our own forces in a very professional raid there as well that our goal is to get intelligence and then ultimately to prosecute the individual. >> i ask because obviously there's a question about whether there's a legal limbo to keep him on a ship in international waters avoiding guantanamo on the one hand, avoiding u.s. courts on the other. is this a set strategy of the u.s. government fvu >> well, i think what it shows is a very clear strategy by the u.s. government to use all the tools, frankly, in our tool box
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to disrupt threats, to go after consistent with the rule of law, individuals who pose a threat, to get intelligence and then ultimately to make a decision about what the best disposition is forñi that individual and to prosecute and hold people accountable no matter how long it takes. >> brown: one of the lingering questions in this case is did the u.s. have the cooperation, support, and/or backing of the libyan government in the raid? >> well, jeff we always consult with nations with whom we have strategic relationships as we do with the government ofñi libya.÷ i think what you saw today is the prime minister made a statement that he values the relationship with the united states and that the united states is a supporter of the libyan people as we are and we will continue to be so to help them build their capacity to address security challenges. >> brown: i'm not sure how to read that, though. before the raid was there the o.k. or the support from the libyans? >> jeff, i think -- i'm not going to get intoñi our
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consultations that happened in -- all over theçuorld with partners and with other governments. >> brown: what's the situation now? there have been threats on social media from libya and north africa about reprisals. >> well, it's always a concern and i think you've seen the president has talked about this, about the diffuse threats that we face and it's one that we will continue to go after and we will not stop from that. but it's also one that we have to face with a multitude of tools, whether it's direct action and capture operations, like you saw over the weekend, whether it's with the use of lethal force when no other tool is capable to be used or when it's working in partnership with other governments and building capacity. we're going to use all those tools. >> brown: i do want to ask you about the raid in somalia which did not get the target. is there any more information about whether he was involved in the nairobi mall killings?
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>> he was not involved in that and there was not that information in this -- we have no information that he was involved in that attack and this raid was not conducted based on the west gate mall attack. there again that's an example of the incredible precision and professionalism of our armed forces and the restraint that they showed as the department of defense has talked about with tremendous care for not inflicting civilian casualties. >> brown: is that, in fact, what happened? they ran into more than expected civilians and pulled back? >> i think as the department of defense has said: they undertook this operation to go after ançó al-shabaab commander and ultimately they made the decision to disengage and it was a decision made and an operation that was undertake within
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tremendous presis and care. >> brown: let me just ask you finally, briefly, how should americans understand the terrorism threat now in north africa and subsaharan africa? do these groups have the capability of acting beyond their region? including reaching to the u.s.? >> jeff, that's something we're always going to be concerned about. i think what we have seen and the president talked about it today is groups that may have original focus but we have to be concerned, ultimately always, about their ability to go after our interests and our personnel and our facilitiesñr in that pat of the world but also their ability to project a threatñ against the united states and we will continue to go after that threat. the. >> brown: lisa monaco, white house counterterrorism advisor, thanks so much. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: now, preparing students for the digital economy. a new report out today finds younger americans fall behind their peers in other
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industrialized countries when it comes to the math and technical skills needed for the modern workplace. special correspondent john tulenko of learning matters looks at a program that tries to address that problem. >> what do you actually think you need to have to be an entrepreneur? >> you have to have drive and the willingness to go out there and do what has to be done to achieve your goal. >> reporter: these 45 public high school students in new york city are taking big strides toward achieving their dreams. >> i want to make the new facebook, and that's what i'm going to do. >> reporter: they're learning how to succeed as high-tech entrepreneurs in a free summer- long program called gentech nyc. competing in teams, they'll work to create fully functional, original cellphone apps, with business plans to support them. the program caters to students whose schools or circumstances cannot provide this kind of opportunity. >> we feel it's incredibly important to be giving these students access.
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>> reporter: jordan runge directs the program, a partnership between the new york city economic development corporation and the network for teaching entrepreneurship. >> we look at gentech as being their first step into this kind of larger tech world. >> reporter: it's a big step at that, especially for a high school student to make. >> we have a bunch of stuff, and you can see some of it over there. >> reporter: their journey began with a very low-tech challenge. >> they gave us play-doh, plates, construction paper, scissors, and a glue stick that didn't work. >> i thought we were going to work with the tech stuff at first to start with, so when they gave us all the paper bags and everything, i'm like, am i in the right program? >> reporter: their assignment was to create a new product to educate or entertain children ages 8 to 12. >> it was really hard, because there are just too many things out already. it's hard to come up with an idea. >> a lot of them were kind of taken back. wait-- you want us to go make something now? i don't understand. because that's just not what they're used to.
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but that's what this is all about. it's about creating something-- you thinking of it, dreaming it up, and putting it out there for the world to consume. all right, ladies and gentleman, if we could have your attention. >> reporter: the bigger test of their creativity came the next day, when jordan runge announced the program's central challenge. >> you will be tasked with creating a mobile app that improves the quality of education or city life for new york city students. >> reporter: a $5,000 prize would go to the best app. >> in terms of expectations... >> reporter: and just like a real startup, there were urgent deadlines to meet. students had just 48 hours to come up with their big idea. >> before i went to bed, i would, like, put my clipboard next to my bed in case any inspiration came to me in the middle of the night. >> reporter: from the get-go, gentech pushed its students to test their ideas. instead of guesswork, they conducted surveys and crunched the data to determine which of
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their evolving apps had the most traction. >> would like to be able to talk with your peers and interact with them? >> reporter: they were also required to share their ideas. >> we had an entrepreneur kind of speed dating round where they had to get some feedback about their ideas. >> if you were to make a study guide, would you follow it? >> some people say, well, i don't want folks to steal my ideas, so i can't talk about it. well, no, you should talk about it, because that's how you figure out if it's a good idea or not. and one, that's what you do. but second of all, that's how you get people on board with you. if you want to build a team around an idea, you've got to talk to people to get them onboard. >> reporter: time was also devoted to learning to code-- and to something often overlooked by teens. >> the way you present yourself is extremely important, and, of course, we're going to start off with your dress. look behind me on this smartboard. >> when he first pulled up that first slide, i'm, like, oh, lord, we're going to have to be macgyver and make our own suits today. >> you have to make sure you look the part, because, sadly, we're going to judge you. >> so i managed to survive three grueling rounds of venture financing.
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this is super, super hard. >> reporter: dress codes were not enforced upon start-up c.e.o.'s who came in each day to share their success stories. most of them look like they've just come back from the beach. >> it's something we tell kids. we'll go to a tech company, and they'll go, well, they're all in jeans and a t-shirt. i say, that's great, because they earned their spot to be there in jeans and t-shirt. you're a high school student. to show people you're serious, you can't look like high school students. dress in business casual. so today is the culmination of this first week and all the work you've been doing. >> reporter: all this while students had been working on their big idea for an app, for which they prepared a 90-second pitch. >> my app is called the fast plan. >> reporter: for the next hour, students would put it all on the line. ( applause ) >> we have now heard everybody's pitches. so now is the fun part. now you're going to be forming into teams.
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>> reporter: students scrambled to either build a team around their own idea or join someone else's. what happened in your case? >> well, it's more like people wanted to join me, but i didn't realize that they wanted to do their idea. it was just a pitch fight all over again. >> reporter: when all the dust had settled, there were nine teams competing for the $5,000 prize. rajesh's team served up mealr, which offers teens healthy recipes and rewards smart food choices with digital badges. competitors' reaction? >> i'm a teen. i don't have to worry about my diet. >> reporter: brandon's team, nyc loop, aims to be the go-to place for teens in search of things to do in new york. >> i wouldn't really download it, because for groups like that, i usually just use facebook to create an event. >> reporter: and emily's team will offer up empire bash, dazzlingly multi-player games that teach new york city
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history. >> the overarching thought on all of the students apps is that they're all going to have to narrow down whatever it is that they have even further to one core component. >> reporter: to take the apps to the next level, gentech brought the students to the pros. volunteer mentors from the tech sector were paired with each team. they'd meet twice a week for six weeks at companies like appnexus, microsoft, and google. at empire bash, the mini-game app, mentor kristin bond was eager to get started. >> i like working with kids, and i thought this was such a cool program that they're getting the opportunity to learn to code at this age. >> but then the object of the game is to... >> reporter: but bond got a surprise when she asked her team about the features they wanted to build. >> how do you unlock a force field? >> the robots. they have keys to unlock the force field. >> that's a thought.
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>> when they told me what they wanted to do, my first reaction was, whoa. >> it's robots. it's in the future. it seemed really ambitious to me-- not an app that we can build. >> the problem with the whole recipe thing... >> reporter: across the room, mealr, the healthy eating app, was getting grilled. >> we have five mentors. each and every one of them attacked us. it's like one by one. >> reporter: it was a different story at nyc loop, the teen events calendar. >> our mentors were pretty supportive of the idea. they just told the realness of what was going to actually happen. >> reporter: what do you hear about empire bash? >> they changed their idea, like, seven times, right? i think they're just scrambling for things to do at this point. >> we're like adding robots and aliens and force fields. there were too many mixed ideas. >> i don't want to stifle their creativity. i don't want to tell them their ideas aren't going to work, because that's not what this program is about. >> what do you think? so we're trying to just ask questions to let them really think about what would be a good
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idea and what would be feasible. >> reporter: it took three weeks, but emily's team finally landed on an achievable idea, inspyru, a scaled-down mystery game for teaching math. >> we're finally all on the same page. we can't change the idea now. i'm serious! >> reporter: but in all this time, her competitors had raced ahead. >> everything is sliding perfectly. so we're just going to keep on going until it's competition time. >> the first finalist to present tonight is mealr. please welcome mealr to the stage. >> reporter: judging took place in september. only one team would walk away with the $5,000 prize. >> and the winner is sprouted. >> reporter: our teams were the runners-up, a come-from-behind second, third place, and fourth. >> reporter: they didn't win the $5,000, but they were still rewarded. >> i hope that when they look back on this summer they'll say to themselves, wow, i did
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something i didn't think that i could do. and i'm very excited to see what happens after this as they continue to learn. >> reporter: for these young men and women, the journey has just begun. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a close up look at the nfl's response to players' concussions and brain injuries. that's the subject of a special two-hour frontline on pbs tonight, called "league of denial." it begins with the story of mike webster, who played for the pittsburgh steelers in the '70s and '80s. he died in 2002 after showing symptoms of brain trauma. here's an excerpt. >> webster's sunday afternoons were spent on the line of scrimmage, brutal territory known as "the pit." >> he had the violence in him. he could explode into the player. every play was a fight.
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>> webster's favorite weapon was his head. >> well, web biwould hit you with his head first and with that head it'd pop you and then he'd lift your shoulders, he'd get it up in the air, onceñr you hit full speed you're moving backwards and he hits you, you're gone. >> when he would fire off the ball, he's coming to block me and if i'mñi not ready for him he's going to pancake me. he's going to hurt me. >> reporter: hall of fame linebacker for the new york giants harry carson went to war with mike webster. >> and so i have to meet force withçó force. allñi of my power is coming from my big rear end and my big thighs into my forearms and i hit him in the face, i have to stun him, get my hands on him, throw him off when i see where the ball is going. and when i hit him in the face, his head is going back, he's going forward but all of a
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sudden his head is going back and his brain is hitting up against the inside of his skull. >> in football, one has to expect that almost every play of every game, every practice they're going to be hitting their heads against each otherçó that's the nature of the game. those things seem to happen around a thousand to 1500 times a year. each time that happens it's around 20g orñi more. that's the equivalent of driving a car 35 miles per hour into a brick wall. >> woodruff: ray suarez has more about the "frontline" information. >> suarez: mark fainaru-wada of espn is one of the principal investigative reporters with the documentary, and he's the co- author of the accompanying book by the same name. mark, welcome back to the program. we just saw mike webster lining up at scrimmage and crashing
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into other big men over and over again. what happened after his playing days were over? >> well, ray, essentially mike webster went mad after his career had ended. you know, he had a life that really -- he was a very articulate, smart guy. people thought he would become a broadcaster or a coach and in fact what happened to him was his life sort of fell apart. we detail this extensively in the book and in the film about how he ended up at such a place in which he just -- you know, he lost memory issues, he was writing thousands of letters that were basically incoherent in many cases. his finances fell apart. and ultimately he just didn't take care of himself in any physical way, his body fell apart and he died at theñi age f 50 of a heart attack and on the death certificate it also listed post-concussion syndrome was a contributing factor to his death. >> suarez: does he become, in effect, patient 0? the guy whoçó kicks off the worries into repetitive brain trauma in the n.f.l.?
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>> he is patient 0 inñi many wa. i mean, his case -- you know, he ends up at the allegheny county coroner's office on the slab and the doctor at the time, the pathologist was a junior neuropathologist who is a fascinating character in the book and the film, a nigerian doctor who knows nothing about football but has been studying neuropathology, has learned about mike webster's passing and his descent into madness, if you will, and he decides to study webster's brain andñi it's this decision back in 2002 after webster dies that really sets off the n.f.l.'s concussion crisis because what he discovers in webster's brain is thatñi hes been suffering from a neurodegenerative disease that comes to be known as c.t.e., a disease known in boxers but never identified in a footballç- >> suarez: well, there have been many cases since mark webster. has it been medically established beyond a doubt that playing pro-football exposes the body to injury that ends in
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neurological damage and often death? >> it's a very good question and one that the scientists continue to debate, althougúi i think, yu know, it's fairly well established at this point that you have a number of independent scientists separate from n.f.l. doctors who have been saying for years that there are connections between repetitive brain trauma, repetitive trauma from football and get it is -- the possibility of getting long-term brain damage and for two decades this is what we lay out in the book and the film. the n.f.l. seemed to blanch at that science and fight back against it and attack those neuroscientists who were telling them that this was an issue they needed to be dealing with. >> brown:. >> suarez: you ask yourself in the documentary "what did the n.f.l. know and when did it know it?" how do you answer that? >> well, i think as i was saying you know, it becomes clear that over a period of time beginning in the mid-'90s and prudent person until 2009 you have a heavy layer league begins to hear from at
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least a dozen, as many as a dozen neuroscientist us there surveys, through the study of brains throughñi commentary this idea that repetitive trauma is connected to long-term brain damage in football players and what the league hears this and it has a two-prong attack. it attacks the scientists who suggest this is a growing problem, it tries to discourage them effectively or rip into them in various wayss and at thd same time they create their own research body which mutts out a series of papers in a neurosurgery journal ed ted by a consultant to the new york giants and that -- those papers basically send a message that concussions are not a problem in the n.f.l. and that almost n.f.l. players are impervious to these kind of issues. >> suarez: in the years since, the n.f.l. has made a massive payment to a class of injured players, changed the rules in practice, taken a look at the equipment and says it's trying to dealle with this problem.
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has it done enough? >> well, i think that's the lingering question, clearly. i mean, one of the things that the experts at boston university who are the leading scientists in this are saying is that the issue with football is not necessarily these big hit wes see all the time shown on highlight bus rather the repetitive nature of playing the game. the blows that has been, the subconcussive blows that happen everyday at the line of scrimmage and whether you can mitigate those out of the game remains to be seen and whether you want to frankly remains to be seen. it's a brutal, violent sport but very popular, obviously. i love it, my brother who co-authored theñr book with me, with we both love the sport and millions of people love it. the question is how informed people are in being able to make the decisions moving forward about what they want football to be. if. >> suarez: "league of denial." mark fainaru-wadan wad, thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. thank you for having me. >> woodruff: "frontline's" "league of denial" airs tonight on most pbs stations.
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again, the major developments of the day. president obama declared he's willing to negotiate on changes in the health care law and federal spending after republicans agree to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. house speaker john boehner shot back that the president is demanding "unconditional surrender." and the supreme court took up a major case on how much individuals may give to political campaigns. online, they're under threat by war, the environment, and economic development, 67 sites on the 2014 world monument watch, just released today. jeffrey brown spoke to bonnie burnham, president of the world monuments fund, the nonprofit that issues the annual list. watch that interview on our homepage. all that and more is on our web site, and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, ray suarez reports on recent setbacks to
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immigration reform. i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> my customers can shop around; see who does good work and compare costs. it can also work that way with healthcare. with united healthcare, i get information on quality ratings of doctors, treatment options and estimates for how much i'll pay. that helps me and my guys make informed decisions. i don't like guesses with my business and definitely not with our health. that's health in numbers. united healthcare. >> bnsf railway.
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>> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> 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 macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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new ventures. we offer expertise and tailored solutions and a wide range of industries. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news america." >> this is "bbc world news america." the u.s. government enters its .econd week of shutdown neither side shows signs of blinking in the budget fight. >> we must stop the excuses. let's take a vote in the house but end the shutdown right now. let's put people back to work. >> have to say i'm disappointed that the president refuses to negotiate. >> they were behind the discovery of the so-called god particle. now these two men are rewarded with the nobel prize for physics. and the movie drawing both acclaim and controversy


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