tv PBS News Hour PBS May 22, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: senators scramble to save expiring parts of the patriot act, at the center of the debate is whether to change the scope of the government's surveillance powers. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. also ahead, why more seniors are going hungry. once-prosperous americans now struggle to put food on the table >> we were on our hands and knees, practically, let's put it that way, and you open up the closet and all we had was coffee. so, we made it. and that's what we had. >> woodruff: it's friday, mark shields and michael gerson are here, to analyze the week's news. and:
and creating a safe haven for homeless transgendered youth who have nowhere else to go. >> if someone tries to go to a female shelter as a trans woman they literally tell you you can't sleep there because you're not female. >> woodruff: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer.
>> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the worlds most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions 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. >> woodruff: the senate labored against the clock this evening to push through president obama's "fast-track" legislation. it would let congress approve or reject trade agreements, but not amend them. supporters, and president obama worked through the day to round up votes before the memorial day
recess. the state department today released nearly 300 e-mails from then-secretary hillary clinton on the 2012 attack in benghazi libya. the f.b.i. asked that parts of one be labeled "secret" and withheld. it was unclassified when clinton received it in november of that year, on her private e-mail server. at a presidential campaign event in new hampshire today, she said there was no security breach. >> i'm aware that the fbi has asked that a portion of one email be held back. that happens in process of freedom of information act responses. but that doesn't change the fact that all of the information in the emails was handled appropriately. >> woodruff: the u.s. ambassador and three other americans were killed in the benghazi attack in september of 2012. a gun battle erupted in western
mexico today between police and drug gang members, and when it was over, at least 40 people were dead. the shooting broke out near the border with jalisco state. the area is the base for the new generation drug cartel. the gang has killed at least 20 police since march. in syria, there's word that islamic state fighters have launched a bloody purge in palmyra. the militants seized the ancient city this week, and human rights activists report they've killed up to 280 soldiers and government supporters since then. jonathan rugman of independent television news, reports. >> reporter: the lions are advancing the pigs are retreating says this jihadist fighter near the ruins of palmira. inside this gas pumping station the men of so called islamic state have found abandoned weapons, and a poster of syria's president whose army was routed and overrun.
these are the group's pictures of the city next to the ruins. the un says some 70 000 syrians have fled. but in the city center is fighters have filmed themselves trying to whip up a clearly frightened crowd. despite this display of ffection i.s. has beaten executed and decapitated prisoners here. but these pictures are too graphic to show. yet the fate of the ruins at the hands of these men could benefit president assad. because the barbarians are quite literally at the gates now and syria's leader has always argued he is a far better alternative. >> woodruff: isis also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing today at a shiite mosque in saudi arabia. at least 20 people were killed
and 50 others wounded. it happened in the eastern province of al-qatif. officials said the mosque was packed with worshippers. >> woodruff: back in this country, the california state water board agreed to voluntary 25% cuts in water use by major farmers, in the face of severe drought. farmers in the sacramento and san joaquin river delta made the offer to avert mandatory cuts. they are among the most senior water rights holders in the state. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average lost more than 50 points to close near 18,230. the nasdaq was down one point, and the s-and-p 500 slipped nearly five. for the week, the dow lost a fraction of a percent, the s- and-p gained a fraction, and the nasdaq rose nearly a full percent. and in paris, the eiffel tower was shut down for most of the day, because of a strike over pickpockets. no tickets were sold, and police patrolled the area, while tourists remained on the outskirts.
tower workers said they need more guards to scare off aggressive gangs of thieves. still to come on the newshour: the senate debates the scope of surveillance and the future of the patriot act; ireland holds a referendum vote to legalize same-sex marriage; older americans increasingly struggle to put food on the table; mark shields and michael gerson on the week's news; safe spaces for homeless transgender youth; and some comedic wisdom for this year's college graduates. >> woodruff: we now turn to the heated debate over government security and individual privacy. three key provisions of the patriot act that allow for government surveillance are set to expire soon, but the u.s. senate is planning to be out of washington next week, leaving lawmakers scrambling to find agreement on the controversial issue.
>> woodruff: senators came to work this morning, confronting an impasse on surveillance, and a looming deadline: >> unfortunately, the clock's been run out. >> woodruff: on june first, the national security agency loses legal authority to collect bulk phone records, as key provisions of the "patriot act" expire. but the senate is leaving for the memorial day recess and won't return until june first leaving vermont democrat patrick leahy to point across the capitol. >> the house worked very hard on this. they completed their work and they left. they're not coming back until after the surveillance authorities are set to expire. and theçóçóñ they willmy not pass the extension even if they're in. >> the yeas are 338 and the nays are 88. the bill isúpzssed.u >> woodruff: the bill that
passed the house is u.s.a. freedom act. it replaces bulk collection of phone records, with case-by-case searches. but senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is firmly opposed to that measure. >> the untried and as of yet non-existent bulk collection system envisioned under that bill would be slower and more cumbersome than the one that currently helps keep us safe. at worst, it might not work at all. >> woodruff: mcconnell favors a two-month extension of the patriot act, to buy time for a compromise. another proposal calls for a shorter extension. other republicans strongly disagree. kentucky's rand paul held the floor for 11 hours wednesday. >> i will not let the patriot
act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged. >> woodruff: many democrats, including minority leader harry reid, are also dug in against keeping the patriot act alive. >> there's efforts made to extend a program that's already been declared by the second
circuit court of appeals of the united states, already declared is illegal. how can we extend an illegal act? but that's what some of the talk is from the other side of the aisle. >> woodruff: this afternoon republican richard burr of north carolina, chairing the intelligence committee, offered yet another option: extend the patriot act, but end bulk data collection after two years. in the meantime, the justice department has
announced the n.s.a. will have to start winding down phone surveillance this weekend, to meet the june 1 deadline. for more about this, i am joined by mike debonis who is a national security reporter for the washington post. mike, welcome again to the "newshour". you know it's unusual to see not only both houses divided but one party so divided on this. why is this so controversial? >> thanks, judy. you're right. it's very odd to have leader mcconnell and speaker boehner so far apart on these things.
you really have a very basic philosophical difference of opinion where leader mcconnell believes that the reform bill that was passed by the house last week simply doesn't do enough to preserve the nation's counterterrorism capabilities and speaker boehner says, you know, this is the right balance, it strikes the right balance, this is what was negotiated with the administration, with the intelligence community with civil libertarians of both parties and with folks on the various national security committees and this is what the senate should pass, and they have now left town and whatever the senate does from this point, if anything other than pass the house bill, there's the very real possibility that the authority for the surveillance program could expire. >> woodruff: just to be clear it's not the entire patriot act, it's just one particular part of it that has them so divided. >> that's right. and this is the authority that
has underpinned this bulk surveillance, bulk collection of phone records which is awfully controversial and also contains language that establishes other surveillance authorities including, in particular, the so-called roving wiretap which is used against criminal suspects who use multiple phones and routinely change up the way that they communicate and the f.b.i. director james coney said this week that that also is a very crucial piece of their investigative toolbox that they don't want to lose. >> woodruff: we know there was a court order handed down a few days ago that had to do with all of this. what effect has that had on the debate that's going on? >> it really hasn't had a particularly -- it hasn't moved -- it hasn't changed a lot of minds or moved a lot of opinions. it has caused people on both
sides to sort of dig in a little deeper into where they were previously. there is, how however, a practical concern which is the court that struck down the bulk surveillance program based on this statutory argument said well, we're not going to do anything right now because congress is in the middle of deciding this within a matter of days and congress will decide this and we can stay out of it. well, if this can gets kicked down the road, whether a week or two months the court could come back and say well, we have no clarity here, we still believe this program is illegal and will issue an injunction to stop it. that is salary possibility, and that's something that, you know that is not being really discussed particularly openly right now but is something that is being pointed out by the administration. >> woodruff: at this point it's not looking as it it will be resolved quickly.
the justice department is saying it needs to start winding down this bulk collection of data as early as this weekend. what are the practical effects of that? >> well, you likely have right now the justice department has warrants that they've secured against -- in various investigations that have to be renewed on a regular basis. basically, what the justice department has said is that if we don't know that this short is going to be there june 1, we can't go to a judge and get a carpet to extend past that. we can't go now starting today, tomorrow, next week and tell a judge we want a warrant, whether for the bulk phone collection or roving wiretaps with other surveillance authorities in this section, they can't go to a judge and say please extent the warrant. so the effect is they're saying if nothing happens today you can start seeing practical effects for the lack of action from
congress. >> woodruff: meaning the surveillance will start to change. we're going to certainly follow this as it goes on tonight and i know you will, mike debonis, thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: in ireland, voters went to the polls today to decide whether to legalize gay marriage. if the referendum passes, the predominately catholic country would become the first nation ever to accept same-sex marriage by a popular vote. irish news sites are reporting higher than average turnout both in cities and rural areas. >> for the first time, if this passes, it will mean an ireland where people who have felt discriminated in the past, will feel included and equal in our society, so it will be a big thing. >> woodruff: the vote may mark a sea change in attitudes on the island. homosexuality was only decriminalized in the early 1990's, and many in ireland
oppose legalizing same-sex marriage. >> it means that forever, a man and man are exactly the same in law as a woman and a man for family purposes. so it creates a fiction. it creates this fiction that men have children together. that's not sensical. >> woodruff: hari sreenivasan has more on this historic referendum. >> sreenivasan: joining me now to talk about who voted and why, is padraic halpin, chief ireland correspondent for the reuters news service. the first question i think on a lot of americans' mind is that the catholic church plays a powerful role in irish society and politics. how did this get to a referendum in ireland? >> well, the catholic church doesn't play as powerful role as it used to. i think its influenced has diminished in the last two decades, in ireland particular. there were a lot of scandals that played a big role in the
church's position in society changing and even in the referendum campaign itself whereas 20, 30 years ago on issues like divorce or contraception, the church would have been speaking out quite publicly and they're playing a low key role against the referendum but they have been notable by how quiet they have been. >> sreenivasan: how do the demographics shape up for the vote? rural vs. urban, young vs. old? what kind of demographic breakdown on those supporting vs. opposing it. >> supporting the referendum, all political parties with behind the referendum which i think is maybe quite unique among other countries. in terms of divide urban-rural, on social issues, we've seen this. there's a referendum to make divorce legal in ireland 20 years ago and only five or 30 constituencies in ireland
supported the referendum so we've seen that in the past and tomorrow we'll see how big a divide, will be an interesting note. one big thing is divide between young and old. certainly how energized young people are getting out to vote. >> there's a campaign to get irish expats from around the world to vote. explain that a little bit. >> sure. in ireland there's no post vote around the country where immigrants with vote if they don't live in the country. ireland has a big expat community, bigger in the last few years with the economic crisis here. a lot of people have had to immigrate to australia and united states to get jobs. it's different where a lot of young people have to come back to their local constituency to vote. we've had people fly in from britain new york canada. i spoke to someone this week who
bought a return ticket to australia. he spent $1,400 just to get home to vote. social media picked up on it today. the things that have been of most note in the campaign in recent days. >> have you seen any other referendum or social issue galvanize people like this in ireland? >> i don't think we've seen it for quite some time. as it stands the polls will close shortly and the indication is the turnout could be around 60% or both. the last time we saw that was 20 years ago in the divorce referendum. any referendum since hasn't been as antive a turnout. that might be one indication. also it's dominated the media for weeks. the debate has been quite serious and has been quite vocal and i think on the street of dublin that's all the people with talking about. there is been anticipation, i think, is there to say and doing more will be a big day whichever
way it goes. >> sreenivasan: ireland covenant for the reuters news service, thanks for joining us padraic halpin. >> thank you. >> woodruff: it's been called one of the longest-lasting and cruelest effects of the great recession. millions of senior citizens who were caught up in the economic collapse, now struggle to put food on the table. sarah varney has our report from naples florida. the story was produced in collaboration with our partner kaiser health news. it's not easy to spot in the sparkling waters luxurious condos and high-end rec recreation but in recent years daily life for many seniors in this sun lit paradise turned weak. >> this is my biggest gripe. wall my life i struggled and now in my '70s i had to struggle all over again.
it bothered me a lot. >> i was in control but the recession has done terrible things. >> i never had to receive charity. >> reporter: less than two miles away from the beaches is the naples senior center. jackie established the lunchians to give older floridians a place to socialize. it became apparent how desperately people need the food served here. >> i did not think that i would find the depth of the challenges that are faced by people and specifically the seniors. we have over 676 members, about 60% are at near or below the poverty line. >> reporter: many are like angelo maffucci. after raising their children, they sold their suburban new jersey home and moved to southwest florida to enjoy semi-retirement. but angelo could no longer work to supplement their social security income after injuring
his back followed by prostate cancer. like others in their generation who built comfortable lives during the height of american prosperity, the maffuccis found themselves entering uncertainty retirement. bad luck and bad health, they lost their home and had to move into a condo owned by their son where they continued to struggle paying for medication and basic expenses. >> at the time when we were on our hands and knees, practically let's put it that way, and with we opened our closet and all we had was coffee so we made it and that's what we had. if we found a slice of toast or something, we had that too. cereal, once in a blue moon. >> we didn't know where to go because we never had a problem like this before. we hated to ask people for help or this or that, you know. >> reporter: a plaque on their home is the harsh daily reminder of their grim fortunes. there are more than 9.5 million
americans over age 60 who struggle to pay for food. the problem worsened since the end of the great recession and collapse of the housing market, even in the most unexpected places, the most recent data show one in six seniors face the threat of hunger. from 2001 to 2013 the number of seniors experiencing uncertainty over where their food would come from more than doubled. in 2013, an additional 300,000 300,000 people over 60 had difficulty buying or accessing food. the need for good nutrition is vital for seniors. without it, they can be frail and weak. seniors face depression die bets congestive heart failure and heart atook. enid is president of national foundation to end senior hunger in the washington, d.c. area. >> we're doing a worst job of trying to end senior hunger in america. so much money is poured into it you would think the numbers would be better but they're not.
we continue to beat our heads against the wall and expect a different outcome shame on us. >> meals-on-wheels -- >> reporter: meals-on-wheels serve an important role in many communities like this one in naples, but while charities provide temporary help to hungry seniors, they often have waiting lists that in some places stresm on for years and charities and church groups can't always address the underlying poverty that affects food and security. there are success stories. by most estimates, there are many more older americans who remain out of sight. >> there's a hidden problem. it's a little invisible. >> reporter: professor tom worked on poverty rates among seniors. he found many poor retirees are living in gated communities but bubba it's hampering efforts to
help seniors struggling with hunger. >> we don't know the depth. we need to access them. getting inside the communities and letting people know these are programs that are available to you. >> reporter: he says that will require stepped-up efforts by groups like the harry chaffin food banks to sign themepeople up for food stamps andout nur triggs programs. only one-third of eligible seniors are enrolled in food stamps, compared to three-quarters of the eligible general population. >> in some ways seniors are the hardest people to reach because part of it's the pride, part of it's that they don't have the knowledge of the social service system, and part of it is their isolation. >> reporter: al is president of the local food bank. >> if you're a single senior sitting in an apartment, you don't know what to do or where to go. so getting out to them or getting the word out is half the battle. also reassuring them that it deserve this help, that it's
makes helping neighbors, that it's the government supporting you in your time of need. >> reporter: the couple get deliveries from a local food pantry and receive $34 a week in food stamps. they're grateful for the help but also know their circumstances are unlikely to change. >> we can't work anymore and i don't want to put a burden on my children that you have to give us each $100 a month or something like that. i wouldn't ask them for anything like that. all we could pray for is we'll live together. >> reporter: with millions of the baby boomers headed toward sunset years they expect the number of seniors facing hunger will rise by 50% over the next decade. for the pbs "newshour" i'm sarah varney in naples, florida. >> >> woodruff: our reporting team spent more time with seniors who are struggling to make ends
meet. we have their stories, along with a photo essay, which you can find on our home page pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: and now to our look at a full week of news, culminating with the 2016 gop presidential contenders. most of them flocked to the southern republican leadership conference, meeting in oklahoma, and among the most prominent themes: national security. it's time for us to have a president who admits what the american people already know. we face a global struggle against radical islamic terrorists and we are in the early stages of this struggle. the great lesson of history for us is that strength and resolve bring peace and order, and weakness and vacillation invite chaos and conflict. no wonder nobody around the
world is nervous about america anymore, no wonder we're not intimidating our adversaries and they're running around wild in the world because they know we're not investing in our defense anymore. we need to make or military strong not to wage war but to avoid war and bring peace and stability in the world. >> ladies and gentlemen, we can't have a nominee against hillary clinton who sees commandercommander-in-chief as an entry-level position or on the job training. going into a debate, you don't want to be able to have a candidate that represents the republican party whose national security experience is a briefing book. >> woodruff: to talk about that and the other events of the week, we turn to the analysis of shields and gerson. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and washington post columnist michael gerson. david brooks is away. welcome to you both. so with that conversation coming from the republican contenders mark, this is a week where ikdz
is making big -- islamic state is making big gains. they took over a key city in iraq, ramadi, you're hearing criticism of the administration policy toward i.s.i.s., towards what's going on in iraq. the president came out this week and said i've got a strategy, it's working. what do you think? >> i think judy, that, politically, speaking politically right now, from ten years from 2006, basically up to today, nine years, iraq has been a positive issue for democrats. they won the congress in 2006, they nominated the one candidate in the party who had opposed the iraq war, and in opposition to that iraq war and to president bush's policy became central in the 2008 campaign. romney had to walk away from his support of it in 2012 and said he would not have supported it, now 2015 five years after president obama announced all
withdrawal of troops in iraq keeping his promise in the 2008 campaign we see ramadi fall, we see iraqi army in full flight after all the billions of dollars and training, and dempsey said the iraqi army drove out of ramadi they weren't driven out. they're not a paper tiger, they're a paper cabbie cat. that is the reality, i.s.i.s. is on the move. i.s.i.s. is on the offensive. politically speaking, beyond ethics and morals democrats are starting to feel on the defensive on this issue and republicans are starting to feel free of what had been an enormous burden. >> woodruff: sounds like he thinks it's not working. >> well, this was a serious enemy victor in this war. the capital of anbar, they control 60% of the province, advances in syria at the same time. this is good for terrorist
propaganda and reviewedment. an unmaimed member of the administration said they were shocked by what happened here. it was shocking to hear president obama's former secretary of defense robert gates, say we don't have a strategy at all. now, i'm not sure of that. the president did announce a strategy in september which involved arming and preparing our proxies including sunni proxies, involved aggressive negotiation force a national unit government, that involved, you know bombing the heck out of i.s.i.s. the first two of those were not done effectively, not done aggressively. so we could actually start this policy discussion by saying the president could go and enforce his own policy more aggressively in this battle. >> woodruff: and what about the critiques you're hearing from the republicans as mark,
you say you're hearing it from democrats, too. who has the right answer here? >> i don't think anybody has the right answer. i listened to rick perry and rick santorum who is basically contrasting himself with the governors. it was not convincing. chris christie, who has his own problems in new jersey -- i mean, it comes down to what is the action statement? rick perry once said boots on the ground, other republicans said they want boots on the ground but they should be arab boots, not necessarily american. i haven't seen people lining up to join this fight. i mean, in a proxy war, you are dependent upon your proxies and the iraqis turn out to be not particularly engaged, divided not unified not committed the same way.
judy, when one to have -- when one of the defenses all the equipment and money we've given to the enemy, one of the expressions don't worry about it too much because they were in such ill repair, the iraqis have taken such bad care that they would be of use. there's no action statement with somebody saying i have the answer. >> woodruff: get tough. get tough swagger. 10,000 troops senator lindsey graham wants to put in. george pa tacky said put in as many as you need kill everybody you can and get out. now, get out was the question and remains the dilemma to this moment. >> woodruff: you said the administration hasn't followed through on what it said its policy is, but who does the administration turn to at this point? >> well, i think there's a lot
of questions about theiru3 intention in this. a lot of problem is the president said a series of statements. he said assad must go. he said there is a chemical weapons red line. he said we're going to degrade and destroy i.s.i.s. and now a debate within the administration, well, maybe they should be contained, maybe we can live with the caliphate. so i think there is a real question, what's the president's goal, is he willing to masm means with ends, some involving embedding of u.s. forces in our proxies down to brigade level which is not true now. i don't know if that will be decisive but i think there are measures to take in a proxy war where you can be more aggressive and i think the president will need to be. >> i might argue with general gerson on this, but i will say there are 250,000 iraqi troops.
there are up to 31,000 i.s.i.s. troops. you have full flight. i mean they won't and haven't been engaged. the idea of embedding or training, whatever else -- i think we have to confront the fact this is a disaster. we can go back to whom hit whom first, but the reality was the president of the united states, 12 years ago, announced the mission was accomplished, the united states and allies prevailed, that the war in iraq was over. you know, that was not the case. judy, anybody who walks around with a flag pin in his lapel now running for president and congress and says let's go in and kick some tail and take some numbers and bomb some people, that takes no courage at all because it's not their blood or their children's blood they're talking about. quite frankly talk is cheap and
we'll hear a lot in the forthcoming weeks. >> woodruff: you're hearing this is connected in a way with the patriot act. mike debonis with the "washington post" was on the program and you heard it earlier. you have a situation where the republicans are divided, the house and senate is divided. do you see a way through this? is there a clear answer that is going to satisfy both sides? >> i doubt that and i think it's important to state rand paul is substantively long on this issue. the n.s.a. is not looking through people's address books and visa bills and violating the rights of average citizens. that's not what the n.s.a. does. i think that you have to start by saying, look, that's not a risk. there are a lot of guarantees built in, courts and others that
are looking over the shoulder of the n.s.a. on this. i think paul has learned some contempt from his fellow senators by using a national security debate as a fundraising tool related to his broader efforts. so i don't know how you split the difference on a debate where there's a substantive difference in what's happening. >> we talk about the lack of consensus compromise as the house came up with the u.s.a. freedom act they passed with only 88 votes against it, coalition of democrats and republicans, and this is as mike debonis said in his interview with you judy it's a fight between speaker boehner and senator mcconnell. it really is, as far as senator paul feingold was the only vote against in 2001. the courts have just been a
stamp -- (talking at the same time) >> theories real questions and real bouts and you think the u.s.a. freedom act went a long way toward resolving those with people in good faith on both sides. rand paul is not the first person in the history of the united states to raise money on a national security issue. i mean that has been a fairly common practice among presidential candidates. >> woodruff: one other thing that came up this week, at the intersection of politics and national security, is hillary clinton and the e-mails. we have been hearing about it for some time. court said they have to be released. the state department said we
can't get it done till january. she came out and talked to the press and said, no, they've got to come out and are now starting to come out. we're seeing she was getting advice on what to do about benghazi. is she hurt by this? >> this attempt at transparency comes after the destruction of 30000 e-mails on a private server that she kept and, so, i think the effort at transparency itself is transparent. so you know -- and also the ties to sidney blumenthal in this case raise questions about judgment. so i think there are a bunch of questions raised here. >> the e-mails of secretary clinton, judy are -- not in a moral sense but a journalistic sense -- like the nixon case. the gift that keeps on giving. a new story and new story.
to some degree to use the proxy answer, the press has become the proxy for the opposition to hillary clinton. >> woodruff: because they're asking so many questions. >> with all but respect to senator sanders and governor o'malley the most formidable adversary she has is the press and the clintons secretness is part of the narrative. i would be interested to see everybody's e-mails on the table before this is over. i would like to see governor christie's bush's, eshed's emails. i hope we'll hold everybody to the same standard. >> woodruff: we're going to leave it there. mark shields, michael gerson thank you both. have a good memorial day weekend. >> thank you. >> woodruff: hari sreenivasan is back with a report on one of a handful of programs in the country that's helping homeless transgender youth get their footing in society.
it's another in our "transgender in america" series. >> sreenivasan: it looks like any other row house in washington d.c. but ruby corado's house is different. it's a safe haven for lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender youth who have nowhere else to go. >> sreenivasan: 15, 20 years ago, if you were trans, you were living in a house, you walked out on a stoop like this and some kids were walking by, what's the likely reaction then versus now? >> 15 years ago, it was impossible to be me during the day. we were segregated to the underground world. today, we can be trans in the entire city. it's still hard, but we can still be ourselves. and we take those risks, because deep inside ourselves, we are happy. >> sreenivasan: creating happiness is all-important to
corado, as she showed us on the grand tour. >> the first thing that welcomes you is the rainbow. we have chandeliers, so that means there's plenty of light. and when you go up, you will see a lot of glitter. >> sreenivasan: so, you've got to have a gay flag, a chandelier, and lots of glitter? >> yes. and you have to have lots of colors. >> sreenivasan: got it. she's opening this group home up to ten people, with the help of a $350,000 grant from a d.c. non-profit-- and trying to make it safe, inviting and infused with fun. >> sreenivasan: we've got a chair shaped like a high heel shoe? >> diva. divas can live in this house. >> sreenivasan: so, you'd have a roommate when you live here? >> yes. so in each room, in some rooms there's space for three. >> sreenivasan: the young people who qualify to live here range from 18 to 24 years old, and can stay for up to a year and a half. many have been kicked out by their families for being different. ruby corado, who is transgender herself, knows firsthand.
>> we grow up in homes where there is no understanding of what transgender is. and the only information that is out there is that it's not good. so therefore that information basically paints a picture that we're not good, that there's something wrong, and many parents don't want something wrong in their homes so they just get rid of that. >> sreenivasan: corado is trying to build them a new family. for some people, this mattress is the most comfortable thing they've had since their life on the streets. >> and like i told them, this is gonna be theirs. if they do good, obviously they can take it with them, because it's theirs. it's there when they build their dreams. because i want them to dream. and if this is the place where they dream, there were times when i was living in a shelter where i have so many dreams, and i couldn't take the mattress. so i want them to know this is theirs. i'll buy another one.
i don't want this to just be a shelter. i want this to be a home where pink is okay, where red is okay where light, i don't want them to live in the dark. >> sreenivasan: life in the streets is reality for the 1.6 million homeless youth in the united states-- and of that number an estimated 20 to 40 percent are l.g.b.t. and the national center for transgender equality says one in five transgender people has been homeless at some point in their life. >> people are going to say there are shelters around if you're homeless, what's the difference if you're transgender and you go to a homeless shelter? >> for the most part we're told from the get go we do not qualify. for example, if someone tries to go to a female shelter as a trans woman they literally tell you you can't sleep there because you're not female and then when you go to the male shelter they do take you but again they put you in dangerous
conditions where you don't want to go to the shelter. that is why you end up on the streets. >> sreenivasan: what kinds of people are coming to need your services? >> very often if they are really young, they come in because their parents are kicking them out of the homes. if they're a little older they're like 16 through 21, 22 they get referred to me by the criminal justice system where they tell them all don't come back with issues. if you come back to court you know i'll put you in jail but go to ruby and she will take care of you. and you know, it's kind of weird because i know their families society is turning their back on them but to me it's my treasure. i see them walking in the door i
have a great opportunity to help someone like me so they don't have to go through what i went through. >> sreenivasan: giselle hartzog is one of the first transgender residents to live here-- after leaving her home in gulfport, mississippi and turning to prostitution. you'd sleep at the train station? >> m-hm. at union station so they wake us up and tell us you can't sleep here. or something and then sometimes you'd be just so lucky to catch a bus that pick up the people at go to a shelter for a night.
>> sreenivasan: these are pretty nice mattresses compared to the bench at union station. how does that change things? >> it changes a lot of things because you can just, i mean, i have something to look forward to. >> sreenivasan: do you feel safe here? >> m-hm. >> sreenivasan: compared to where you've been staying? >> a lot safer. >> sreenivasan: how so? >> just in the simple fact, i mean, i have somewhere to call my own. just that security. >> i wish i had more to give them, i wish i had 20 houses to put everyone in and i wish i could build my own little world my own little neighborhood where it would be okay to be and as i work on that i do know that for those that make it here i can love them and in the process i can make it easier for them. >> sreenivasan: you mentioned you'd love to create your own little world, but the reality is there's this other one already here so while they might have that nurturing and support in these walls they walk out in the street. >> i see a different world today. there are people in this neighborhood who know who we are and they look at us and they respect us. we're not being dehumanized. so i think that stability is important.
being able to show the world what is wrong. because if they don't know they're doing something wrong they can't change what they don't know. >> sreenivasan: corado says she has more applicants than beds and the house is already full. in washington, for the pbs newshour, i'm hari sreenivasan. >> brown: finally tonight, it's commencement season and that means graduates, their families and friends are hearing a lot of speeches. many universities book high profile alumni or big names to mark the occasion. here are a few funny moments from some of 2015's graduations. well, well, well... here we are. look at all these beautiful faces and iphones. >> before i begin today, they asked me to make a standard announcement. you've heard this before, about silencing your phones. so those of you with an iphone, just place it in
silent mode. if you don't have an iphone, please pass it to the center aisle. apple has a world-class recycling program. (laughter) >> it's a pleasure to be addressing the wake forest graduating class of 2015. i want to start by thanking the administration and the trustees for inviting me to speak. i want to thank them for giving me an honorary doctorate of humanities. i'm a huge fan of humans. (laughter) of course, for you grads the future is a dark chasm of yawning uncertainty. (laughter) but don't worry -- you don't have to face the future for, like, two hours. first brunch, then yawning uncertainty. (laughter) in the late 19th century, this was among the first southern schools to teach blolg in a lab. before then, you weren't supposed to learn biology until marriage. (laughter)
in 1962, wake forest had the proud distinction of being the south's first major private school to integrate -- and yes, they've kept it up. all right. (laughter) >> it had been my intention this morning to parcel out some good at vice at the end of these -- good advice at the end of these remarks, the goodness of that being subjective in the extreme. but then i realized this is the land of mark twain and came to the conclusion any commentary today ought to be framed in the sue blieb shadow of this quote of his -- "it's not that the world is filled with fools, it's just that lightning isn't distributed right ." (laughter) >> those of you graduating with high honors awards and distinctions, i say well done. and as i like to tell the c
students, you too, can be president. (cheers and applause) >> woodruff: now, to our newshour shares of the day. something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you. the new shimmering world trade center scrapes the sky from its commanding position in lower manhattan and near its top, high over new york, is the three- story observatory, with awesome and serene views, that somehow quiet the roaring city a quarter-mile below. but it is the journey to that high perch that we thought you should see. five special elevators make the 102-floor journey in 47 seconds and it is, in part, a journey five centuries in the making. nine high-definition monitors each six-and-a-half feet across, display the history of new york from the year 1500 on. tart below ground, in bedrock
marshy lowlands appear just above ground. then, the first european settlement, new amsterdam, in the 1600's. soon the spire of st. paul's chapel, that still sits to the east of the tower, appears from the late 1760s you are now 250 feet above ground on the ride and then for a breath taking four seconds, the world trade center towers erected in the early '70s and destroyed september 11, 2001. the old towers had to appear but their depiction sparked much heartfelt debate. >> we thought the most respectful way to treat the old twin towers was to december play them in the appropriate time when they existed. so as you saw when you came up they appear suddenly and
disappears quickly as well. >> then the new tower appears as the elevator rises and stops. >> breath taking. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. the senate struggled to end an impasse on renewing key surveillance provisions in the patriot act. major trade legislation was also awaiting action, with the memorial day recess bearing down. the state department released 300 e-mails from then secretary hillary clinton. on the 2012 attack in benghazi, libya. the f.b.i. asked parts of one be labeled secret and withheld. on the "newshour" online, pac-man turns 35 today. we compiled eight facts you probably didn't know about the totally '80s video game. and its feminine version, ms. pac-man. find those, on our home page,
pbs.org/newshour. and a reminder about some upcoming programs from our pbs colleagues. gwen ifill is preparing for "washington week," which airs later this evening, here's a preview. >> ifill: reaping the whirlwind: on capitol hill, on the campaign, and in the middle east. everything's off balance. we explore how we got here, and the next steps, tonight on washington week. judy? >> woodruff: on pbs newshour weekend saturday, a look at the safety concerns surrounding the transport of oil across the country by rail. >> it was just after 2:00 p.m. on december 30th 2013, when the calls began streaming in. >> what's going on? there was a train that derailed. >> two trains collided just half a mile outside cassillton, north dakota. one loaded with grain, the other with crude oil. >> what did it tell you about what's going on on the rails here in north dakota? >> well, you know, it tells me
and i think everybody the same -- what if that happened in a city or even in the middle of a town? you know it could be really catastrophic. >> woodruff: that's tomorrow night on pbs newshour weekend. and we'll be back, right here, on monday, memorial day. with a look at america's longest war, the fight against the taliban in afghanistan. that's the newshour for tonight, i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic
engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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