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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  August 10, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> north korea better get their act together or be in trouble like few nations ever been in trouble in this world. >> woodruff: ...ratcheting up a war of words with north korea, president trump says his threat of "fire and fury" was not tough enough, while north korea's military threatens to target the u.s. territory of guam. and, coming home to roost: our stopping superbugs series concludes with a look at why giving antibiotics to chickens might harm human health. >> using antibiotics will induce resistance in any organism. the question is, what does food animal medicine in particular, have to do with contributing to that.
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>> woodruff: then, where past meets present-- what learning about the slaves on the plantation of a founding father can teach us about issues of race before the united states today. >> it's really easy to talk about things 200 years ago, it's a lot more difficult when you bring it all the way up today, and you go no, the legacy of slavery is still with us. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century.
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>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the president continued the war of words between north korea and the u.s. today, as guam, the small u.s. territory island in the pacific, became the center of global attention. special correspondent nick schifrin begins our coverage. >> things will happen to them
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like they never thought possible. >> reporter: today president trump doubled down on his threats against north korea. >> i will tell you this north korea better get their act together or they're gonna be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world. >> reporter: he met with his national security team in new jersey and disparaged a quarter century of what he called failed north korea negotiations. >> look at clinton. he folded on the negotiations. he was weak and ineffective. you look at what happened with bush, you look what happened with obama. obama-- he didn't even want to talk about it. >> reporter: meanwhile, on the streets of pyongyang, this is the season of steadfast support. tens of thousands of north koreans, scripted and staged, pledge allegiance to leader kim jong un as he faces off against what they call imperialist america. and the regime's mouthpiece, state tv, declared the president of the united states, reckless. >> ( translated ): sound dialogue is not possible with
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such a guy, bereft of reason, who is going senile. >> reporter: the tv announcer said kim was considering an unusually specific plan, to launch four hwasong 12, intermediate-range missiles over three districts of japan, flying for 17 minutes and exactly 2,086 miles, landing 19 to 25 miles off the coast of u.s. territory guam. guam is about the size of chicago, and today, the 160,000 residents wavered between fear and faith. >> it's actually been scary since yesterday. >> with the military presence here, i am pretty sure we are safe. >> reporter: the u.s. military has been here for 120 years and takes up a third of the island. 7,000 u.s. service members are stationed on an air force base with the u.s.' most modern bombers, and a naval base that's home to fast-attack, nuclear submarines. the island is protected by a high altitude missile defense system, and it has been threatened by north korea many times before. >> it is destabilizing, it is threatening, but it is not
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anything new. >> reporter: david cohen was the deputy director of the c.i.a. until last year, and an he says president trump's 6rhetoric-- >> fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> reporter: music to kim jong un's ears. >> the more that the president of the united states engages directly in a war of words with kim jong un, and with the north korean regime, the more that they are able to use that to solidify and to justify their totalitarian regime. >> reporter: u.s. officials defend their strategy, saying secretary of state rex tillerson is committed to diplomacy, allowing the president to be more aggressive as an attempt to finally convince north korea, as well as china, to change policy. >> the difficulty in not having coherent strategy is that the object of that strategy, whether it's north korea or china for that matter, doesn't understand what you're trying to accomplish.
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>> reporter: and that means the rhetorical, and the real tension, continues to rise. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin. >> woodruff: later in the program we'll talk to the top democrat on the foreign relations committee, senator ben cardin, about the growing north korean crisis. president trump came back to cameras at his new jersey golf club today for a series of remarkable exchanges. i'm joined now by our own john yang to take us through some of it. he came back and kept on talking? >> yang: he kept on talking. sarah huckabee sanders tried to cut it off. he ignored her, went on for 20 minutes. at one point, he was asked about vladimir putin, russian president vladimir putin's decision to expel u.s. demromats from -- diplomats from russia. he says the united states should be grateful. >> i want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll. as i'm concerned, i'm very thankful he let go of a large
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number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll. there's no real reason for them to go back. so i greatly appreciate the fact they've been able to cut our payroll to the united states. we'll save a lot of money. >> yang: it was remarkable. foreign policy experts say it was remarkable for the u.s. president to go on like that even if he was trying to make a joke. >> woodruff: we've been hearing republicans in congress saying it's a bad thing to lose the u.s. diplomats stationed in moscow. it was interesting he had nicer things to say about vladamir putin than about the senate majority leader in his own party? >> yang: mitch mcconnell has become the whipping boy for the failure of the obamacare repeal and replace. he had asked his cabinet secretary elaine chow to help him. he's married to mitch mcconnell. >> elaine is doing a very good job. we're very proud of elaine as secretary of transportation, as you know as you said, mitch's
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wife. still a very, very good job. i'm very disappointed in mitch. if he gets these bills passed, i'll be happy with him. i'll be the first to admit it. honestly, repeal and replace of obamacare should have taken place and should have been on my desk the first day i was there. i've been hearing about it for seven years. >> yang: some are saying the president's saying he should have had that bill on his desk on the first day underscores mitch mcconnell's point he's got unreasonable expectations. >> woodruff: john, another thing the president was asked about is the russia investigation and i guess the leaks that he and others in the administration have been saying they're so concerned about. >> yang: he said he's given no thought at all to firing special council robert mueller. he says the white house is cooperating and mueller is looking into something that never happened, and he also said there are two kinds of leaks in washington. one he doesn't mind. >> you have the leaks where people want to love me and
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they're all fighting for love. those are not very important, because certainly we don't like them. those are little interwhite house leaks. they're not very important, but actually i'm somewhat honored by them. but the important leaks to me, and the leaks the attorney general's looking at very strongly are the leaks coming out of intelligence and we have to stop them for the security and the national security of our country. >> yang: so this ends a long period, judy, where the president has been isolated, not seen in the public eye, but clearly he had a lot he wanted to get off his chest. >> woodruff: i noticed just quickly he was also asked about paul manafort, former chairman of his campaign, whose home was raided by the f.b.i. a few weeks ago. >> yang: he said he thought that raid was to send a strong signal it was sort of going into his house before dawn. he also said that he really hadn't talked to paul manafort in a long time and repeated that he had been with the campaign only a brief time, even though he was the campaign chairman.
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>> woodruff: and he made a reference to manafort being a consultant and earning fees here and there so a lot of interesting material here. remarkable. john yang, thank you very much. >> yang: thank you. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, the dispute over kenya's presidential election is intensifying. supporters of opposition leader raila odinga declared victory over incumbent uhuru kenyatta, a claim rejected by the election commission. still, odinga backers celebrated today. some clashed with police in nairobi, as electoral officials called for calm from all sides as the votes are counted. >> i commend all kenyans for the patience they have shown so far as we finalize the process of tallying and collection of results. we urge all parties to continue to exercise restraint especially at this critical moment. >> woodruff: election officials have disputed odinga's claim that hackers infiltrated a
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database and manipulated results. their preliminary tallies showed kenyatta with a strong lead. there's been yet another migrant disaster off the coast of yemen. the u.n. says five people are dead and more than 50 are missing after smugglers forced them off a boat. it comes less than a day after 50 ethiopian and somalian migrants were deliberately drowned in the same area. the u.n.'s migration agency says about 55,000 migrants have left the horn of africa for yemen this year. >> migrant smuggling to yemen is not new, it happens every day, a few hundred migrants, primarily from ethiopia as well as somalia come into yemen. and they often are intent on passing through yemen to go to other locations in the arabian peninsula. some people stay in yemen. >> woodruff: the agency said migrants continue to arrive because there's no central authority to prevent their travel. hurricane franklin soaked
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central mexico today. it made landfall on the country's gulf coast overnight, as the first hurricane of the atlantic season. franklin brought heavy rains and winds of up to 85 miles per hour. the storm weakened as it went over mexico's mountains, but forecasters said it could drop up to eight inches of rain in parts. back in this country, the mayor of new orleans has declared a state of emergency, over flooding concerns. the city is scrambling to repair damaged equipment as the threat of more rain looms in the area. heavy downpours last weekend overwhelmed pumping systems and inundated neighborhoods. mayor mitch landrieu took aim at city officials. >> but i can't even begin to tell you how extremely frustrated and angry i am at the inability of the sewerage and water board to communicate clearly and to give accurate information to the public even and i'm not sure even at this moment that we have the complete
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and accurate information. >> woodruff: 2016 was the hottest year on record, the third straight year of record global warmth. that's according to a new report, led by the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. among the findings: the global temperature increase was helped by a strong "el niño" effect. nd concentrations of major greenhouse gases also reached a new high. the brewing tensions between the u.s. and north korea dragged stocks down again on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average lost 204 points to close at 21,844. the nasdaq fell 135, the s&p 500 dropped 35. still to come on the newshour: the ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee weighs in on the north korean threat. a new exhibit gives voice to those enslaved at a presidential
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estate. making sense of how the livestock industry uses antibiotics, and much more. >> woodruff: president trump's latest warnings to north korea come as congress is away on recess, but it hasn't stopped lawmakers from weighing in. we turn to one of them now, the top democrat on the senate foreign relations committee, ben cardin of maryland. i spoke to him a short time ago and began by asking if president trump's latest threats are helpful. >> judy, i think not. i think it's going to be very counterproductive. their national community looks to the united states for leadership to find a way that we can avoid a military conflict with north korea that could involve nuclear weapons, and the
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president's statement gives little hope that could be accomplished. it questions whether or not the united states really has the strategy to bring north korea a change their way. so it is, i think, extremely unhelpful for the comments that the president made and continues to make in regards to the use of force. what we need to do is work with china changing the equation so that china enforces the sanctions that were just recently re-enforced by the u.n. security council against north korea so that we can get north korea to come to the bargaining table and give up their nuclear weapons. >> woodruff: senator, i'm sure you heard the president makes the argument the united states let north korea get away with its tough rhetoric for years, let it get away with this nuclear build-up. we see what the result is and the president saying it's time for someone to stand up for the american people in his words. >> well with, it is time to enforce sanctions and that means for china -- china doesn't want north korea to become a nuclear
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weapons' state. what china wants to do is potect the communist regime on its border, so the united states needs to work with china to indicate this is not about regime change for north korea. it's about changing their course on nuclear warfare and that's an area with china that would agree with the united states. china could guarantee north korea its regime but it must change its course on its nuclear policies. that's what we need to negotiate. there's a way forward -- if we rely on military, the risk factors are so great, the casualties could be so high and the outcome uncertain. so we should give diplomacy the best chance possible and the president's comments yesterday and today have made that more difficult. >> woodruff: what do you think about the idea of the united states accepting north korea's current posture as a nuclear power and then negotiating? >> no, i don't think we accept north korea having a nuclear weapon capacity that vyelate
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vyelates -- violates international protocols. that's an acceptable option. it's not acceptable for the united states. it's not acceptable for south korea. it's not acceptable for japan. all that's going to do is accelerate all the countries in the region wanting to have nuclear weapons. that's not a way in which we want to move forward with stability in that region. so what we need to do is turn the pressure up on north korea. that means really enforcing sanctions. if you do that, north korea's going to have to come and negotiate. what north korea is mostly concerned about is the regime security. that's an area that we can talk about, and that's an area in which diplomacy could work in bringing about an acceptable solution for the nuclear weapons program. >> woodruff: well, do you have an understanding that this administration is working on enforcing those sanctions? whether it's the secretary of state or the president's national security advisers or others in the administration?
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>> judy, i don't think we have confidence that the president has a well thought-out policy for north korea. if he did, i don't think he would have made the statements he did, which i understand were not thought out. were not -- after consultation with his advisers, he made these comments, because he thought it was the right thing to say at the moment. that's not having a policy. a policy is a well thought-out game plan that gives us the very best chance that diplomacy will work and get north korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. in exchange to which there'll be rewards for north korea, that their economy will be able to grow, that their people will be more prosperous, and yes their security could be guaranteed particularly by china. so there's a way of a pay-it-forward but it involves the president showing leadership in the international community. wood but are you and other others -- . >> woodruff: but are you and others on the foreign relations committee? the chairman, republican bob corker, trying to talk to the administration about this to get your point of view across?
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what's senator corker saying to you about this? >> well, we have talked with the administration on several occasions. we've received free things on several occasions but i've not yet seen a coordinated strategy from this administration. and north korea, by the way in some of the other hot spots in the same areas of the world, we've not seen that. i think the senate foreign relations committee is very concerned about the president working with congress so we have a coordinated strategy. we all agree a nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles of north korea must end. that's not an acceptable course. they can't threaten the united states. can't threaten south korea, japan or other countries in that region. there's a pay it forward. we all agree on that. we also agree we have to be very tough on sanctions and that china is a key player. and we're prepared to work this administration to make it easier for china to be tougher on north korea. >> woodruff: but in the meantime until this happens, how worried are you? how worried should the american people be about, oh, something
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happening? whether it's an attack by the north koreans or some other step that would result in something catastrophic? >> well, i must tell you, i think it's a very dangerous situation. i think this is probably -- it is the worst we've seen between the north korea and the rest of the world as far as their weapons programs -- program's concerned. this is a serious matter. i've got a lot of confidence in our ability to maintain the safety of our people. the department of defense does their mission best, i think, the best country in the world. we'll take care of ourselves, but i think we've let this situation get too dangerous and now is the time for the international community through u.s. leadership to find a way so that we can have diplomacy work in north korea. >> woodruff: senator ben cardin, the senate foreign relations committee, we thank you very much. >> thank you, judy.
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>> woodruff: next, the final installment of our special series, "stopping superbugs," which this week focused on the potential dangers of antibiotic use in industrial-scale farming. last night, science correspondent miles o'brien paid a visit to a pig farm. tonight, economics corresponent paul solmon picks up our reporting by checking in on how things are done on a commercial chicken farm. it's part of our weekly economics feature, "making sense." >> reporter: why are you knocking? >> i'm letting the chickens know we're coming. >> reporter: a chicken house in salisbury maryland. holy smokes, how many chickens are in here? >> so, there's about 49,000. >> reporter: 49,000? >> but you can see there's plenty of space for them to move to open areas if they'd like to. >> reporter: veterinarian bruce stewart-brown oversees poultry
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production for a brand some of you may have grown up with. >> every perdue chicken has one of these tags on it. >> reporter: frank perdue became famous as the tough man to make a tender chicken. >> you might wonder what drives a man like this. >> reporter: but an even tougher man raised him. >> me. >> reporter: back in the 1920s, arthur perdue founded not just a hugely successful business but, some would say, an entire industry. >> this is ground zero to the chicken industry and in fact to all of intensive agriculture. it all began here. >> reporter: johns hopkins university environmental scientist ellen silbergeld is author of "chickenizing farms and food," which chronicles the rise of factory farming. we need it to feed the world, she says, but not by feeding low-doses of antibiotics to livestock, supposedly to promote growth or prevent disease before it happens. >> between 70 and 80% of total antibiotic production is used in agriculture.
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>> reporter: and is the use in agriculture creating as much resistance in the bacteria as the use with humans? >> i think it's arguably creating more when bacteria are exposed to low doses of antibiotics, bacteria are stressed but not killed and the community sends out signals whereby they share resistance genes. >> reporter: really? >> yes. so actually low dose antibiotics over a long period of time are much worse than high dose. >> reporter: much worse, says silbergeld, in that they expose workers and consumers to rapidly evolving antibiotic-resistant microbes. perhaps in the very air we were breathing near this chicken house in sussex county, delaware. >> we and others have done studies where we've tracked the outflow from these ventilation fans and we can find antibiotic resistant bacteria that are genetically identical to the
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bacteria inside the house as far away as essentially three football fields. and furthermore there are flies and other things that come in and out of the house and they can move as far as three miles away. >> reporter: flies and fans spreading microbes that, under the right conditions, can cause serious illness, even death. >> we are coming up against the end of the age of antibiotics. exhausting what many have called the crown jewels of medicine, and if i may say, we're throwing them like pearls before swine. >> reporter: and you mean that-- >> literally. >> reporter: as my colleague miles o'brien reported last night, antibiotics are routinely fed to pigs and cattle, which live a lot longer than chickens, a practice microbiologist lance price understands, even if he doesn't condone it. >> pigs spend their entire lives in these concentrated animal feeding operations, crowded, stressed, standing around on
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their own feces, and they live a they're, they're just more likely to get sick. >> reporter: for chickens, it all started in the 1940s, with some pharmaceutical industry studies purporting to show that antibiotics promoted growth. >> these are studies that were all conducted within laboratories. they were not in the real world situation of a chicken houses. they were for very short periods of time-- two to seven weeks. >> reporter: how many in a study? >> 30 would be a big study. >> reporter: 30 chickens. >> most of them were four or five. >> reporter: on this flimsy foundation, argues silbergeld, was a match formed between big pharma and big farm. >> i think the industry used antibiotics because they just always did. >> reporter: jim perdue is the third generation to run the family business. for decades, perdue's poultry, like almost all chickens, were raised on antibiotics. >> there was a perception that they would grow better if you gave them antibiotics because it would, for lack of a better
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word, clean up the gut and absorb nutrients more efficiently. >> reporter: but the evidence really wasn't there. >> but you do a lot of things that you've been doing forever and you just assume that's the way you do it until you actually look at it and test it. >> reporter: in 2002, perdue farms did just that, publishing the results of a three-year experiment involving millions of birds. half were raised on antibiotics, the other half not. >> the data basically showed there was little or no difference. >> reporter: silbergeld then asked economists to calculate how much bang perdue was getting for its antibiotics buck. the standard cost benefit analysis at the heart of economics. >> a return on investment, yes. and the results showed that they were actually losing money by purchasing antibiotics. >> reporter: but their own study wasn't what turned perdue against maintenance antibiotics, the latest scion says. >> we did it because the consumer was asking for it. >> reporter: 15 years later, all
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chicken sold under the perdue brand has been raised with "no antibiotics ever." >> if you say no antibiotics that are important to humans, there is a but. or no antibiotics except sub therapeutic. that's a but... >> reporter: wasn't easy. nor was it, as they say in chicken, "cheep." step one, says perdue's chief vet bruce stewart-brown, was to ramp up their hatchery hygiene. >> if there's a piece of organic material, just wipe it off, and use a different spot and then turn it over, use another spot and then get rid of it, get a new one. >> reporter: a new baby wipe, that is. they use a lot of baby wipes. >> we process four days a week. >> reporter: david bailey is hatchery manager. >> for one week, i need 1,451,520 eggs. >> reporter: step two, make sure the vaccine that goes into every egg is uncontaminated. previously, a vaccine to prevent a chicken viral disease was
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mixed in the middle of the hatchery, with antibiotics added to kill common bacteria. >> and so this is the vaccine mixing room and we actually put laminar flow hoods, special airflow that keeps the vaccine from getting any contamination even in this controlled environment. >> reporter: step three: a vegetarian diet, to replace the antibiotic laced feed. >> we got rid of meat and bone meal because that introduced salmonella and other things into the diet. >> reporter: and now they're experimenting with lifestyle changes, including increased playtime in a handful of hen houses, on the theory that it takes a happier home to grow a healthier chicken. >> play is a little bit down right now, they're resting quite a bit. >> reporter: can't we just go," hey chickens! be active." turns out to my embarrassment that this isn't how chickens like to kid around. >> that's scaring them. >> reporter: okay, guys, sorry. i apologize. i thought i was playing. perdue is succeeding antibiotic- free.
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but with all the concern and dire warnings, how is it that an estimated 70% of the industry is still raising birds on antibiotics? >> some chicken brands use labels to trick people and charge higher prices. >> raised without antibiotics. >> that's just marketing speak. >> reporter: mississippi-based sanderson is the nation's third largest chicken producer, just ahead of #4 perdue. they say most of their customers don't much care if they eat chicken raised on antibiotics. >> across the southeast where most of our branded product is sold is simply not that big of an issue. >> reporter: and says chief financial officer mike cockrell, while it's nice to sell antibiotics-raised chicken at a lower price, that's not why they use the drugs. they want to be fair to the fowl. >> if i can prevent illness in the flock we're going to do that. >> we sat down with our vets and asked our vets to do their homework. >> reporter: company president lampkin butts.
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>> and tell us whether anything we're doing with antibiotics in our flocks causes antibiotic resistance in humans. and they did the research and they came back and said, absolutely not. >> reporter: so we asked chief veterinarian phil stayer... doesn't the use of antibacterial drugs in animals raise the possibility that there will be resistance in bacteria and other organisms that will come back to haunt human beings? >> using antibiotics will induce resistance in any organism. the question is, what does food animal medicine in particular, have to do with contributing to that. and i think that risk is so small we can't measure it. >> reporter: the scientists we've talked to say there's a real danger in using antibacterial drugs in animals like chickens. >> we have talked to scientists as well. >> reporter: veterinarian martha ewing. >> but we have our own scientists who say that if we
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get a bacterial infection in chickens that's serious enough to warrant another antibacterial, it's very possible it may actually induce more resistance. >> reporter: it sounded like the red state-blue state divide. >> university of minnesota, kansas state university, they can't find a link in terms of human resistance based upon food animal use. >> reporter: while the elite east coast schools have. so we asked ellen silbergeld of johns hopkins is it your word against their word? >> no. it is not. and if i may say so, i'm very tired of the press who says on the one hand and on the other hand. >> reporter: but you do understand that somebody in my position who can't possibly assess one study from the next, or one journal from the next, you can understand why i would be trying to be on the one hand, on the other hand. >> you know, at a certain point, this is rocket science. >> reporter: okay, so what am i supposed to do if it is rocket science? fortunately, i had someone else to turn do. you're the guy who covers rocket
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science! so am i just out of my depth here? >> i'm afraid it is rocket science. and the scientists i speak with are practically apocalyptic about a post antibiotic era. think of the procedures that could not happen: chemotherapy, cesarean sections, hip replacements, all of them absolutely rely on antibiotics. so imagine a world where we can't have those procedures and where people die of simple blisters, as occurred, not uncommonly, in the pre- antibiotic era. >> reporter: but we don't want to scare people. this isn't happening right now. most antibiotics still work for most problems that people have. >> but the numbers are grim. it is time to do something right now. the alarm bells are ringing. >> reporter: and from my point of view the problem is that the market hasn't been able to solve this problem, maybe it cannot solve this problem, and therefore we need alternative solutions. for the pbs newshour this is
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economics correspondent paul solman. >> and i'm science correspondent miles o'brien. >> woodruff: you can watch all of miles o'brien and paul solman's reports on antibiotics and superbugs online at >> woodruff: as part of our ongoing ¡race matters solutions' series, special correspondent charlayne hunter-gault recently visited montpelier, the home of the fourth u.s. president, james madison. a new permanent exhibit is opening the door on a rarely told side of madison involving his slaves and how they lived. >> reporter: this sprawling bucolic virginia countryside is the plantation where james madison, the so-called "father of the constitution" puzzled over liberties as he helped frame america's democracy.
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it's also here over time that he and his wife dolley held over 300 slaves. now, with a new interactive exhibit "the mere distinction of colour," there is a new way of looking at that story. >> reporter: visitors hear stories of montpelier's slaves told by their living descendants. there's insight into economic, ideological and political factors that cemented slavery in the constitution, without ever using the word slavery. >> don't shoot him! he has no weapon. >> reporter: and films connect the past to the present, looking at the legacy of slavery to issues of race and identity today. in addition to the new exhibit in the madison home itself, there are new ways of talking about the rich and complicated history of montpelier.
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>> reporter: visitors can tour slave cabins, tour a slave cemetery which bears no headstones, watch archeologists dig up more evidence that pieces together the inter connectedness of everybody on the plantation. to talk about those issues, i spent time with leontyne peck, a genealogist and participant in montpelier's public archeology program. she took me inside one of the cramped slave quarters where eight people lived. so this was all dirt? >> it was all dirt and we found our artifacts, we found a lot of different things, we found a pipe which was extraordinarily exciting. my grandfather, he smoked a pipe and when i touched the pipe i felt connected to him. >> reporter: i also visited
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madison's bedroom with mary alexander, a great-great granddaughter of paul jennings. he served madison at the white house and also at montpelier. he wrote the first white house memoir: "a colored man's reminiscences of james madison"" she told me of her reaction when she saw the bedroom for the first time: >> i had just finished caretaking for my father who died of parkinson's disease and to think that paul jennings was doing the same exact things for james madison as i had done for my father, it just overwhelmed me. i knew the intimacy and the love and the care that had to go on between the two of them because you can't take care of someone and not love them. >> reporter: i talked further with mary alexander and montpelier president and c.e.o. kat imhoff inside the madison mansion. kat, first tell me how you arrived at the title for this exhibition? >> the title the mere distinction of colour is sort of
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a mouthful, but it comes from a quote that madison writes in his notes when he's working in 1787 on the constitutional convention, and the quote, let's see if i can get this right, but he says we have never seen the mere distinction of colour in a most enlightened period of time, a ground for the most oppressive, demeaning ever exercised by man over man. now, madison is saying this as a young man, he's in the debates about the rights and the freedoms that are going to be set forth in what becomes the u.s. constitution. >> reporter: when he uttered those words, he didn't have slavery in mind. >> he did, he was saying that mere distinction of colour, what an incredible missed opportunity that we're using that distinction of color to make one man oppress the other, and this is as a young, idealistic 35, 36 year old in the hot rooms in philadelphia as they're duking out writing the u.s. constitution. >> reporter: but who had slavery. >> and he is a slave owner, and he's grown up now a third generation slave owner here at montpelier. >> reporter: so what happened, he just didn't make that
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distinction? >> what the debate ends up being is can you get enough votes to get the u.s. constitution ratified if you said that you were not going to allow, or enable in some way, or codify slavery without ever mentioning it, you were never going to get enough votes to ratify the u.s. constitution. so james madison, in those early days, chooses the union over really what he knows in his heart is the right thing to do. but the other part that got me so intrigued was the descendant community was involved with montpelier early on, but no one had really been able to pick up that thread and bring those 300 voices into this story. >> reporter: the descendant community is sitting next to you. so what drew you here? >> my mother, she never told the family history to anyone outside of our family. but ,paul jennings was enslaved here with james madison, he said that he shaved him every day for
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42 years. my understanding is that he and james madison had a relationship where they were almost like brothers with each other, the way that they interacted. >> i think if you put it in the context of slaves being assets, and property, and that when james madison died his estate, being in such debt, and them having to sell off every asset they had, and unfortunately the human beings who were here were assets also. he didn't get the chance to be distinguished outside of those people. >> reporter: kat, how do you see that? >> well they had trouble explaining their double standard even to themselves during their time period, and i think it's quite intriguing to look at their own writing on this, but i mean i think that's the challenge of american history is not only can you be inspired, yes, james madison, father of the constitution, great thinking, defines rights, but we've always had this love-hate
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affair with really understanding how complex our history is. not only can i be inspired by james madison, but i can be inspired by people like paul jennings. i can now understand that african american history is indeed american history. >> reporter: how do you think it's working, kat? i mean, who is coming here? >> i'm hearing from people when they're visiting, they're both saying we're so happy because now we really understand more the humanity of the people who lived here. black and white. it's really easy to talk about things 200 years ago, it's a lot more difficult when you bring it all the way up today, and you go no, the legacy of slavery is still with us, it's part of our democratic dna, it is hard baked into how we are as a people. >> there's a morality question that all of us have to grapple with. this was a business to these people.
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unfortunately, the business was other human beings. james madison would have never been able to do, or any of the founding fathers, would have never had the liberty to have the time to think, to philosophy, to study, to go into this whole discussion about what government, and humanity, and how people should conduct themselves, they would have never been able to do that without these people who were in the background working for them. >> reporter: so this will help set that record straight, you think? >> i'm praying. >> you know, mary has often commented on how she wants people to think, and understand, and have that strong intellectual connection, so i love that fact that we're both the heart and the head in thinking about how people should connect with montpelier. >> and i also recognize you can't get the head without getting to the heart, first. >> reporter: well, kat imhoff and mary alexander, thank you very much. >> thank you.
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>> woodruff: now to another in our brief but spectacular series where we ask people to describe their passions. tonight, we hear from poet and rapper g yamazawa, his latest album is called "shouts to durham." >> i had a pretty tumultuous childhood. my dad had very heavy hands, one day i ended up having to go to a foster home. i got kicked out of high school when i was 17. when i was 17 or 18 i think is when i really sort of stood up and decided that i wasn't going to, you know, be a victim to my circumstances. i knew i would never get anywhere unless i sort of broke through my own, you know, karma. i grew up in a restaurant where my parents in durham, north carolina were serving traditional japanese food to this north carolinian community,
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asian in the south and buddhist in the bible belt and, you know, these are things i talk about a lot in my art. ♪ ♪ you just don't feel like you belong here. anywhere i am, they're like, oh we're diverse now because the asian guy's with us, and i think my drive came from just a very deep place of insecurity, and needing validation from strangers, and i think that's where my love for the stage really began. working with youth and doing workshops and facilitating performance workshops and sort of safe spaces for young people to cultivate their voice is like the greatest gift in the world. there's always a student that reads and the teacher is like, you know, i've never heard him say anything, i've never gotten that student to speak about anything. it changes the dynamic of the classroom, it changes the culture of vulnerability in young spaces. i wanted to acknowledge this
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place in my life that i've felt like, i was proud of myself and all of the things that i've done up to this point. i think i'm starting to rhyme more because i want my life to start connecting. because, see i've learned how to learn. so now i'm learning how to teach because i done learned how to practice whatever i preach but i grew from a grain into a beach and i knew for the game i'm playing for keeps so whatever i say, i say what i mean so whenever i speak, i'm able to reach a place that bleeds and a place that burns and a place that knows i got a lot more to learn. my name is g yamazawa. my name is g yamazawa and this is my brief but spectacular take on art and transforming your karma. >> woodruff: you can watch additional brief but spectacular episodes on our website at and we'll be back shortly with a profile of a postal worker living in an alaskan oil field. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station.
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>> woodruff: now to a newshour shares, something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too. oil started flowing down the trans-alaska pipeline 40 years ago. every summer, thousands of workers file through deadhorse, alaska, an operations center for the oil field, including postal worker les dunbar. from alaska public media, eric keto has this profile.
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>> it's just, ah-- the arctic is awesome. it's a very, very awesome place. look at the size of his paws. yeah, he was probably like, not even two miles from here. figured he was like, 800 pounds. my name is les dunbar, and i am the postal clerk for the prudhoe bay post office. i've been doing this about 18 and a half years. >> reporter: the prudhoe bay post office is located in deadhorse, alaska, a collection of industrial buildings clustered at the far northern edge of the state. people get confused when les tells them about the place she works. >> they all think it's a town, with stores and churches and hospitals and it's not, it's actually a work site. >> reporter: just like the thousands of oil workers who staff prudhoe bay, les lives in modular housing that's trucked in and stacked up, she eats meals prepared in a company
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cafeteria, and she works long days. >> it's 10, 12 hours of work a day. we do two week hitches. so we work 14 days, then we get 14 days off. so i meet a lot of really neat people that work up here, but the really interesting ones are the travelers, the adventure people. >> reporter: les¡s bulletin board, right outside the post office window, features a handful of the people she's encountered over the years. >> there was a lady that flew her horse up here on a freight plane and then rode the whole pipeline from here to valdez. >> reporter: for les, working at prudhoe bay is one way to connect with the wildness of alaska. >> you got to make your own i enjoy to hike. and i'm a real advocate for keeping the wilderness the wilderness, which is funny for me to be saying because i'm working up here in the oil field. some alaskans have never been up here, and it's getting more and more popular to drive up, do
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some camping along the way, and you know you've got to buy a postcard or a hoodie and mail it home. >> reporter: and if you're lucky, les might just add your photo to the bulletin board. from alaska's energy desk, i'm eric keto in deadhorse. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, it's been three years since a teenager named michael brown was killed by a police officer in ferguson, missouri, prompting protests, unrest and national attention. how were lives changed by those events? we take an in-depth look on our web site, and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening with david brooks and ruth marcus. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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this season of "martha stewart's cooking school" explores treasured recipes from an extraordinary part of the world -- the arabian gulf. join me in my kitchen as i celebrate its regional ingredients. we'll make rustic breads, mouthwatering desserts, and hearty stews with spices made famous by historic trade routes, learn new culinary techniques and creative tips for serving arabian gulf classics, from preparing small bites to showstopping dishes fit for any festive occasion. with its bold flavors and strong traditions, i've been inspired to get into the kitchen and add what i like to call a good thing to an already delicious cuisine. enjoy. "martha stewart's cooking school" is made possible by... ♪ announcer: al jazeera.