tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS January 5, 2019 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
captning sponsored by wnet y sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, janu an impasse continues as the partial government shutdown enters day 15; in our signature segment paying flood-prone homeowners to move to higher ground; andin seeing is beli or is it? the works of m.c. escher. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. seton melvin. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided
by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has beened provy: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan >> sreenivasan: good evening, and thanks for joining us. talks but no change as the s rtial shutdown of the federal government enters third week.ce viresident mike pence, senior advisor tthe president jared kushner, homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsus, and white acting chief of staff mick mulvaney met with democratic congressional staff members today. after the meeting, the vice president tweeted a photo and said there was a "productive discussion" and that talks are set to continue tomorrow. for more on the stalemate and what's next for the new congress, we turn now to newshour weekend special
correspoent jeff greenfield, jeff, we've had divided governments before and gotten things done. >> certainly. for the last 50 years, we've had 34 years of divided gernment from nixon on, every president but carter faced this. and we have environmental protections. we had fixes of the tax system. had social security fixs. what's different now is the intense polarization of both parties. i mean, even when clinton was being impeached we hadfa wel reform and other progress. but during the obama years thes republicite openly said we don't want anything of accomplishment to happen because it will help the presient politically. you may remember senatorng mcconnell sais number one goal was to make obama a one-term president. well, w you've got membersave new house democratic majority who are openly saying one ofoa their key is impeachment, if not ongoing investigations of all manner of accusations about donald trump and his business. so the climate this time for usvided government ist very different from what we've seen
in the past. >> sreenivasan: we've had rpeople who hached across the aisle to try to find common ground, to try to get legislation going. why not now? >> well, for one thing, the parties back then were much more diffuse ideologically. you had moderate and conservative democrats. you had moderate and even heberal republicans. at this point now the parties are so clearly divided ideologically, the idea ofre hing across the aisle is almost considered heresy. there wasli one repn in the house the other day who said he rs going to vote for the democratic partyes changes. these are not ideological. s.ey're just how the house wo he thought they were good ideas. and then he said but i'm going to get into a lot of trouble for this. and so the impulse to reach across to somebody of the other party is limited both because there's very little agreement across those party lines, and becae the political cost of doing it in your own party are very high. >> sreenivasan: howe does 2020 campaign, which is beginning on the democratic si, factor into all this?
>> oh, big time. you've got somewhe between four and eight democratic senators who say they want to run for president. now, the one thing we know about the ra and file of the democratic party now is that they really, really, really dislike president trump. and i am putting it mildl'r so if youlooking to build support in a democratic primary, the very idea of raising outreach to president trump seems to me to be an nostarter. and then you look at the president who over and over again has brought democrats into the oval office and said, "we t can woether on infrastructure, health care,ax immigration,s," and then as soon as his more militant supporters start lobbing grenades at him, he says, "no, no, i didn't mean that." which is one of e reasons now we're in a situation where the ntesident is threatening a if not years-long shutdown, and the possiblf invocationstate of national emergency. >> sreenivasan: let's talk about this in the context of the economy. in the past few weeks and months, we've seen incredible
volatility in the stock markets. we've seen concerns about heether or not the president will fire the of the fed and at this point, the head of the fed says, n i'm not going to leave. >> well, we can't fire the president oft he fed. 's interesting you raise that because just friday, we had very good ecomic news. the jobs, 300,000-plus increase, markets soared 750 points, reala s are up. but there are these blinking yellow lights down the road having to do with the size of the deficit, the weakening of china's economy, the impact of a possible trade war. and the reason why i think it's so fortunate raise this is if the political atmosphere is so ncorous now when economic times are good, just imagine what happens if the economy turns and on top of all of political bitterness, we get really bad economic news. that is a very unsettling prospect. >> sreenivasan: all right, jeff greenfield, thanks so much. >> okay, thank you. >> sreenivasan: in houston today, community and familyer
members gath to express outrage over last sunday's shooting death of seven year old jazmine barnes. police officers join organizers of today's rally and promised to continue the search for a man believed to have shot the girl as she was riding with her mother and siblings in the family car near the walmart where today's rally was held. the suspect,escribed as a white man driving a pickup f truck,ired several shots into the car, killing the girl and wounding her mother. the harris county eriff's department is conducting door- to-door searches and set up a mobile command center nearby. ford is recalling more than 953,000 vehicles worldwide to replace potentially faultyse takata per airbag inflators. this is part of the largest of auto recalls in u.s. history. the inflators can reportedly explode and hurl shrapnel, and are linked to at least 23 deaths and hundreds of injuries. w ford says l begin notifying owners in mid- february, and dealers willth replactakata inflators. for more on the impact of theme gove shutdown, visit our
web site at pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: sea levels will rise betweenne and four feet the end of the century. that's according to the national climate assessnt released last ar. that rise, along with damage caused by an increased number of storms and hurricanes, could be catastrophic for people livingro in flood areas-- nearly 41 million americans, by one estimate. in new jersey, close to 700,000 people live in a flood zone.te now, the sas newshour weekend's ivette feliciano reports, is involved in trying to move some of those people out of harm's way this segment airs as part of our ongoing series on climate change, "peril and promise." >> this is the big woodbridge river here. this is my propert >> reporter: before she moved four years ago, 72-year-ol evelyn york spent nearly her entire life in woodbridgesh to, a working-class community of about 100,000
people in northern new jersey. a single mother to two children, she owned her home in woodbridge for nearly 40 years. what did that mean to you, to own that home? >> as a single parent since i was 33, you have money to pay your bills, but you really don's haveings account. so, the only thing i had to k leave , so i thought, would be my house.ut >> reporter:ver the years, what started as a minor nuisance in her neighborhood a regular hazard: flooding. >> would always have a bag packed-- always-- because i never knew if i had to leave at a moment's notice to move my car to higher ground. and i did that for years and yearand years. >> reporter: several rivers run through woodbridge. two large ones border thend townshipmpty into the atlantic ocean. climate change has contributed to more frequent and severe storms and subsequent flooding here. about 19% of woodbridge lies within a fema special fld
hazard are john mccormac is the mayor of woodbridge.ub >> we werect to a lot of tidal flooding. that's a problem without even any rain. you throw rain, you throw hurricanes, you throw these, you know, 100-year storms on top of that. i've been mayor for 12 years, and i think i've had five 100- year storms. >> reporter: mayor mccormac says that the township asked the federal government for funds to build flood walls but was ultimately turned down. the army corps of engineers said that new infrastructure was "not practical due to limited cost- effectiveness." the height of woodbridge's flood damage occurred in 2012, when superstorm sandy inundated the area with up to 12.5 feet of water. monique coleman, a former neighbor of evelyn york's,er remesandy's devastation. >> it was the same thing over again. you know, we were repeating the cycle of, you knowr just s gulfing the whole area and then leaving in ke just devastation out... outside and within. you can see how the water just
inundates the street. >>eporter: coleman and her neighbors found their home emlues plummeting while their flood insurance prms skyrocketed. as they assessed their options, they heard about a state-runm proglled blue acres. >> and we found out about thatth program anfact that they were making it available forke communities liurs. immediately, i was like, "this is something we need to pursue." >> reporter: blue acres' mission is to buy up houses from homeowners in flood zones, demolish them, and then rezone the land so that nothing else can be blt there. it's run by new jersey's department of environmental protection. fawn mcgee is the program's director. >> we buy the homes at pre-storm value. it allows folks to sell us their home, take the proceeds of that sale, move to higher ground. we demolish the homes and then open up that area open space, conservation land, as floo absorption. >> reporter: that new open spaco will help flood waters, which means areas further in
water levels.bled from rising thue acres program alsoes ensures ths state and federal funds will be spent on rescue, clean-up, and rebuilding from future floods. blue acres originally began in 1995 with a $30 million voter- approved bon that money was initially used to buy 126 homes in sevowns along the passaic river, about . miles north of woodbrid but after superstorm sandy, the prograexpanded. it's received over $300 million in federal fds from the department of housing and urban development and the federal emergency management agency. with this funding, the blue acres staff has bought 683 properties in towns and cities all over the state. they're hoping to bumore soon. mcgee says that even if they do buy those houses, there are still thousands of nsey homes that are repeatedly flooded.
>> we've gothousands and thousands of people that are on the national flood insurance programs' repetitive loss list and severe repetitive loss list. so, there's... there's more people that we can get to that are out there in these affected areas. reporter: mcgee says that in order to get the most out of their funding, blue acres only does buyouts in areas where multiple homeowners agree to take part. if enough households apply for a buyout, mcgee and her staff ask the municipal government's permission to begin working in the community. monique colen and others in odbridge lobbied their neighbors and the local government to bring the programt to tnship. >> we knew that the buyout wasy really our oy to get out and also prevent others from having to go through the cycle again. >> reporter: coleman also began a grassroots movement to educate yor neighbors about the bu process, but convincing many of th was an uphill struggle. >> they ren't as in tune with, you know, climate change and sea level rise.
the state really wanted to see communities buin, not just one home here and another home there.nt and that mhat we needed everyone else to sort of... at least most of our neighbors to... to buy in to the buyout. >> i was complaining, and in the paper... >> reporter: evelyn york didn't want to sell. >> i was totally, totallyt agai. that's my home. 38 years. where i raed my kids. i was not going anywhere. nowhere. b >> reporte her thinking changed when she learned that her home's value had nose-dived because of the flooding. >> i called a real estate agent in to get the value of my me. he said, "you better take whatever you can and run." >> reporter: over the past six years, 160 woodbridge homeowners have sold their houses to blue acres, the largest concentration of buyouts in the program'shi ory. most of these homes have been demolished, leaving empttc pahes around the structuresat thtill remain.
but even houses outside ofid woodbr's current flood zones are in danger as flood watersin rise due teased storm activity. so, the township has decided oo turn the nn space into a natural floodplain, which will absorb future flood wa before they can reach any more ho >> it's a very coordinated, ghructured approach to restore everything to the look and the right ecological system. you have to plan it, and you have to have the experts who know what they're doing to set the whole thing up. >> reporter: woodbridge has partnered with rutgers, the state university of new jeey, to make the land ecoloorcally suitedlood water storage. dr. brooke maslo is a rutgers ecologist and is heading up the restoration efforts in woodbridge. >> we've removed about three acres of roads in this neighborhood. we've planted about 1,000 native trees and shrubs, whicwe've also protected from deer. we have installeabout three acres of warm season meadow.
and we've done quite a bva of ve species management. >> reporter: maslo says that new plantings will help soften the soil so that it can absorb more water. the new trees will also help to physically slow down flood waters, which will help protect not just the remaining homes in woodbridge, but surroundingto s and cities, as well. not everyone in woodbridge's ood zones has taken a buyout. one homeowner we spokeh who refused to sell said that blue acres simply didn't offer enough money.'t others dant to leave the place they've called "home" for so long.t some people miok at what woodbridge is doing and call it outreat. what do you think that? think it's an attack. i mean, we're attacking the problem, and we're making the quality of life better for the rest of our community by doing this. the houses that were on the fringe now are in much better shape near the zone than they were b>>ore. t is not a defeat. it's... it's a way of adting.
the... the landscape adapts and will continue to adapt and change to... to the climate and... and how the climate is changing. and... and we as a society have to do the same thing. >> reporter: monique coleman, who w lives ten miles southwest of woodbridge in highland park, says that selling her home to blue acres rather than to another homeowner was a moral decision as much as a financial one. >> there is no way thai could ethically sell the house, knowing that i would just be perpetuating an ongoing floong situation and putting someone else in that situation. i wouldn't wish that on anybodyl >> ie my kitchen, and i love the whole house. >> reporter: evelyn york now lives ten miles south of woodbridge in sayreville, new jersey, in a house her son-in- law restored for her. she says she has no regrets. >> i love the rain now. i love the rain. , r 38 years, when it rain would be upset. i'm looking out the window. r now, when itning, i'm so happy. it's like, "oh, good, i'm going to make a pie.
maybe i'll bake something in the. r" i love then. >> sreenivasan: you may not know his name, but you likely have seen his iconic art. m.c. escher, the late dutch master of lithographs and cuts, filled his work wi mind-bending illusions and rnimpossible geometric pat remarkably, he did it all by hand. now, his career and legacy is on display in the largest-ever exhibition of escher works in thu.s.i ow that there's a tilt to the floor, but... >> but you can't see it from out there. >> sreenivasan: and the viewer at home just thinks i'm really a tiny person. this is the relativity room, which plays a visual trick on those looking from the outside. lted floor and tiles make the person standing on the left look much smaller than the person on the righ so, this is all just to try to drive home to people that our
eyes can deceive us. it's really about your perspective. >> it's how our brain organizes what it... the information that it sees, and that how we can play tricks on our brain. >> sreenivasan: and this is what escher knew, inherently, that we could fool ourselves into thinking. >> right. >> sreenivasan: the relativity room is an interactive part of a major exhibition of the work of dutch artist m.c. escher. escher is perhaps most famous for his optical illusions that show seemingly logical scenes that are actually impossible. but he's also known s intricate pattern work of imals and objects. over six decades, until his death 1972, escher created 448 lithographs, woodcuts and engravings, d more than 2,000 drawings and sketches. the italian art exiabitor arthemin collaboration with the m.c. escher foundation, produced and organized this presentation of 200 of his works from international collections y.at brooklyn's industry c it's the largest m.c. escher exhibition ever shown in the
united states. i remember seeing a pink floyd album jacket with an m.c. escher work in it. i had no idea that was him. ell, actually, more peop are familiar with him than they think they are. >> sreenivasan: johanna guttmann is the exhibition'manager. >> they don't necessarily make the connection between the artwork-- artwork that's very iconic-- it's when they come here that they see all those references throughout pop culture, whether it's the sleeves for the albums or whether it's advertising, film, fashion, it's absolutely everywhere. >> sreenivasan: even though had no formal training inn mathematics,54, the international congress of mathematicians held an escher exhibiti, which sparked correspondence between escher and mathematicians who admired his work. it doesn'tteeem that his was mathematical, but there was so much math involvede in what he wasing. >> his intent was not necessarily mathematthough he is exploring concepts such as hofinity very much so thro his career.
however, it's only in the 1950's when he starts this dialog with mathematicians, and they're reaching out to him, and they're inviting him to those international conferences. >> sreenivasan: and la speaks theiuage. >> absolutely. he can put on paper what they're speaking of in very abstract terms. >> sreenivasan: escher's later work often has impossiblel architectuements. in this lithograph called "belvedere," look at the columns of this structure. they can't be architecturally sound. d in "ascending descending" the figures are going up and down an impossible staircase. that staircase makes anpe ance in the 2010 sci-fi film "inception." >> the penrose steps. an infinite staircase. >> sreenivasaneven the bench that we're sitting on for this interview illustrates an impossible object. >> it's an impossible triangle. so, it's a trigle that doesn't actually work. it doesn't close properly, but there's an illusion here that if you're on top of it, from that angle where we have the camera
up on top, it appears as if you're sitting on top of a very tall triangle. if you w to me it would be better, because the camera is actually that way. you want to look at the camera. >> sreenivasan: got it.ha >> andway they can see your face. >> sreenivasan: oh, wow.li now we loo we're on top of a giant tri... ( laughs ) in this piece the water feeding the waterfall seems to defy sreenivasan: so, he gives us these cues, elevated path... u i think he's giving us cues, but i think he wanto play with it. he wants uto see, you know, it's not what you think it is. om sreenivasan: escher was also inspired by the ric patterns of moorish architecture on a trip to spain in the 1930s, where he studied the intricate motifs at the alhambra palace. one of escher's masterpieces is the 12-ft long "metamorphosis ii." it's made from 20 woodcut block prints. >> this is some kind of ship and then here are some sort of reptiles. >> sreenivasan: wow.
and all of audden we're back squares again. >> so, you see, you almost don't see the transformation.'s so, essellating, but he's tessellating with animate and inanimate objects. >> sreenivasan: and what's the tessellation mean? >> the way we have the repetitive patterns, but here how they fit so perfectly into each other like puzzle pieces. >> sreenivasan: also on display, escher's lithograph, "hand with reflecti playful use of mirrored surfaces. it's a piece that guttmann used to start a conversation with younger visitors. >> i like to call it the original selfie. the way he puts his hand up and he's using a reflective sphere the same way that we use our phon >> sreenivasan: oh, okay. all right. and for those visitors who want a selfie to look like escher's, the exhibit has a moment for that, too. ( laughs ) you can put yourself into his selfie. >> and that's really a sense of yoe entire exhibition, tha can immerse yourself in his world. >> sreenasan: "escher, the exhibition and the experience" is on display until next month. h
>> is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> sreenivasan: the opening of the 116th congress this week prompted us to provide a quick update on a story newshour weekend reported from maine, from last year, on ranked-choice voting. on thursday, the new speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, swore in the new congress. >> so hel you god. >> amid the arly 100 freshmen representatives was one who was elected to congress in a very different way. jared golden represents the second district of maine is is the first winner of a federal election using ranked choice ysting. it's am where voters rank their choices instead of just picking one. here's how it works. let's say there are four candidates. voters fill out their ballots indicating their preference for first, second, third,or fourth. if any candidate gets more thanp 50% of the firce votes,
the he is the outright winner. ft if nobody gets 50%, the candidate with trst-place votes is eliminated. if your first-place choice is now gone, your second choice moves up on your ballot and becomes your third, your third moves to second, and your fourth moves the votes are recounted. and there is still no candidate with more than 50% of the first-place votes, the process the votes are counted a final time. the candidate with the mosts voll certainly have more than 50%. that person wins. in the second congressional district, republican incumbent bruce poliquin got the most first-place vote but not a majority. after second and third-place choices were tabulated, his challenger, jared golden, was declared the winner by roughly 3500 votes. the narrow margin proted a recount by state officials, and poliquin challenged ranked choice voting in federal court, but in late december heonceded the race, making jared golden the first rank-choice
congressman in u.s. history. join us again tomorrow. we'll have the latest from washington, d.c. on the impact he continuing partial government shutdown. and a look at efforts to keep aa ve species, the giant asian carp from getting into the great lakes. that's all for this edition of "pbs newshour weeken i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching.gh have a good captioning sponsored by wnet media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:
bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii seton melvin. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual ro and group retirementcts. that's why we're your retiment company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. be more. pbs.
[music playing] wes avilla: end goal once i saw ntthat i can pay my own reas get a restaurant. like, i didn't want a food truck. at that point, food trucks were dead. when i got my truck was during when the bubble burst. iicwas so niche and so spec where, like, people were selling this one item that was it became hot because you d