tv PBS News Hour PBS August 21, 2012 5:30pm-6:30pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: the g.o.p. candidate for senate from missouri refused to quit the race, despite growing calls for him to bow out after he questioned whether a woman who is raped can become pregnant. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we assess the row, coming just as the republican party polishes its official position on abortion ahead of next week's convention. >> ifill: then we examine apple's rise to the largest-ever american company, even as facebook's stock troubles continue.
>> brown: from seattle, hari sreenivasan has the story of a year-round program that asks students as young as ten to commit to graduating from college. garance franke-ruta. jon ward. ted schadler. sylla. diana nyad. mickey edwards. >> brown: i'm jeffrey brown. an epidemic of whooping cough and briz winning whnchs i grow up. i want to be a paleontologist because i want to study reptiles and amphibians. >> i want to be an engineer and technology engineer and i'm going to have to go to mit. >> ill: margaret warr talks to diana nyad after she was plucked from the florida straits today, ending her fourth attempt to swim 103 miles from cuba to florida. >> three single things we were up against was an obstacle, a huge tropical depression storms. the jellyfish each night i was stung badly. no matter what. >> brown: and judy woodruff sits down with former congressman mickey edwards. his new book blasts both parties for a dysfunctional government and offers solutions for breaking the stranglehold. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs
newshour has been ovided by: moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: a once-sleepy u.s. senate race turned the republican party on its ear today, as social issues claimed center stage in missouri, and at the site of next week's g.o.p. nominating convention. >> rape is an evil act. i used the wrong words in the wrong way and for in a i apologize. >> ifill: under increasing pressure from his own party, missouri republican senate nominee, todd akin, vowed again today stay in the race. the congressman, who questione whether women could be impregnated by rape apologized, but said he would not be forced from the campaign. the resulting uproar has pleased democrats, and enraged republicans, including other lawmakers, and fund raisers. incumbent missouri senator,
claire haskel, a democrat, has said republicans should accept akins's apology. >> i think what is startling to me is that these party big wigs are coming down on him and saying that he needs to kick sand in the face of the republican primary voters. >> ifill: but party leader, including missouri senator, roy blunt and former senator, kit bond, john ashcroft, john danforth and jim talent, all called for akin to step aside. and late today, presidential nominee, mitt romney, joined the chorus, saying in a statement, "today his fellow missourians urged him to step aside and i think he should accept their counsel and exit the senate race. money is drying up, too. karl rove'ssuper pack has cut off funds and the national republican senatorial committee, represented by senator john kor nine says it will withhold the $5 million it set aside for the missouri coffin test, senate
majority leader, mitch mcconnell and party chairman have declared akin a politically dangerous distraction. in the face of all of that criticism, akin still told radio talk show host, michelle bachmann, he's in >> and in my case, i believe as i took a look at this race, that what we're doing here is standing on a principle, about what america is. i believe that this is the right thing for me to do, and that i will be able to add to the message that's being neglected in some circles by the republican party. >> ifill: the party was trying to sideline akin at the same time as delegates in florida were voting today to include strong anti-abortion language in the party platform to be presented in tampa next week. the language reads, "we uphold the sanctity of human life and the unborne child has the fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. there are no exceptions included for rape or incest. the party nominee, mitt romney,
like john mccain did in 2008 support such exceptions. party chairman, pribus told msnbc today it's fine for romney to disagree with a party document. >> as far as our platform is concerned, i mean, this is the platform of the republican party. it's not the platform of mitt romney. that all being said, though, these guys are proud pro-life candidates and we're a proud pro-life party. >> ifill: today was the last day akinould have en reac as the party nominee without a court order. so, what do the events of the last 48 hours say about the suddenly divisive fight within the g.o.p. over abortion? we turn to garance franke-ruta of the "atlantic" and jon ward of the "huffington post," who's covering the platform meetings in tampa. garance, it seems as if this issue, of all issue, really struck a nerve that went deeper than just missouri politics? >> absolutely. i think this is the point at which the an if i abortion movement sort of trips over another controversial issue which rape. and there is for a while now
within the anti-abortion movement a move to sort of minimize the pregnancy consequences of rape as a way of minimizing the question about abortion exceptions for abortion bans in particular. >> ifill: so, what he was saying in the answer to the question about whether rape should be an exception or not was an accepted principle in some circles? >> absolutely. there's been talk of this going back as early as 1980, as far as i can find, on people saying that you know,pregnancy aft ra is as rare asnowfall in miami, that there are certain secretionses secreted after a sexual assault to prevent pregnancy and other people who say that the tubes become spastic, and consequently, women don't become pregnant and this is the way of arguing against the need for rape exceptions in abortion laws. >> ifill: john ward, in tampa, imagine this has been a big part of the conversation.
you have been covering mitt romney, why were the denunciations so swift and so harsh coming fromim especially? >> as you know, we're leading up to the convention next week. that's one of the biggest weeks of the campaign for mitt romney and paul ryan. they want to make a positive impression and introduce themselves to the nation. having this conversation about social issues instead of the economy and jobs, and also their platform on medicare is not what they want to be talking about, and so, to have this kind of blow up a couple of days before this big week is less than ideal for them. >> ifill: here's what puzzles me. i have covered a lo o platfm committee meets over the years unfortunately, because they're always so exciting. why is it that abortion, which most republicans agree about -- most of these republican leader, these folks running for office are pro-life and anti-abortion. why would there be a disagreement about this at this late stage? >> well, i don't know that there
is a ton of disagreement. i mean, the republican platform, as you probably are aware, has had this kind of plank where it says, you know, we support the anti-abortion stance, and that's . for 20-plus years going back to 1984, they haven't changed anything. what has kind of injected this issue with all of this energy is representative akin's comments, and you know, as you mentioned, mitt romney has a position where he supports exceptions in the case of rape and inincest, and this disagreement is being brought to the fore, almost exclusively by akin. >> ifill: i have to ask a question, garance about todd akin, who i would say most viewers outside of his he district in missouri have never heard of before yesterday. what is it about what he said or what he did that got under people's kin so particularly within his party. it wasn't just mitt romney. it wasn't just mitch mcconnell.
you saw the names, i reeled off all of the leading. >> yes. he said women who were legitimately rape their body shuts down conception. there are two parts that are controversial. one of which is an attempt within the republican party going on for a while to divide violent rapes from statutory rapes, or from less violent encounters and only grant rape exceptions to violent rapes. so there is a an attempt to divide rape into legitimate and illegitimate rape and people felt from his language and there was also the question of the biology, and there's no biology to support what he a was saying that the body shuts down. you know, estimates are that 25 to 32,000 women become pregnant from sex crimes every year in the united states. >> ifill: what is the significance of -- i notice both yesterday and today, the strongesttatents of todd akin made about staying in this race were on michelle bachmann's radio show, ran for president a
couple of years ago, has now got a radio show which he obviously has been a great supporter of todd akin. is there some connection there? >> in some ways, todd akin is the michelle bachmann of missouri right now in that he has a very strong base in the home schooling community, and with grassroots christian conservatives just like those who brought huckabee up in iowa when he s running for the presidency. you know, the same kind of thing, someone who didn't have a lot of money and had a lot of party machinery against him in a multi-person race with the strength of the home schooling community and the strength of christian conservatives was able to rin a nomination and given that that's hess base, he doesn't see any reason that he needs to drop out right now. >> ifill: jon, if todd akin is the drag on the party that so many party leaders seem to think, does that translate to missouri suddenly being helping out senator claire mccass kin suddenly having an advantage or
mitt rney even perhaps losing missouri. are there any polls to support that? >> i don't think there's any polls to support the idea that ro manyny would be in danger of losing missouri at this point, i think that's a little premature. but certainly, eastern top republicans,ql+÷ ranked by gove mcconnell, says at this point akin seems impossible or very unlikely that he would win this race which is why they want to get him out. i mean, who controls the senate in an incredibly imrtant ise, especiallin mt mney wins next ar, itould hinge or it could depend on whether or not he's able to get his agenda through, whether they have that majority or not. >> ifill: you have mentioned governor bob mcdonald who is the governor of the platform committee. he has been in the crosswinds before in virginia? >> yes, he has. he got into controversy earlier this year for talking about transvaginal probes and he had to walk that back, so he's no
stranger to women's issue, women's health issues and how they have become a very sensitivissue in the election year. a big partf that sensivity is thatx re-election campaign knows this is an advantage for them. women voters in key swing states like virginia and ohio favor obama by large mar margins and the obama campaign wants to make sure that they keep those margins up. >> ifill: but all women voters are not necessarily pro abortion rights. >> absolutely. there's a lot of anti-abortion women voters as well. but for the purpose of the obama campaign right now, you know, pumping up the gender gap as big as it can get is absolutely in his favor. mitt romnewill have a very difficult time wning if the gender gap gets substantial and it has been quite substantial and it's narrowed a little and it's going to get bigger. >> ifill: all right, garance franke-ruta and jon ward, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, the ups and downs of technology stocks; a program to
close the "achievement gap"; an end to a swim across the florida straits; and political parties versus the people. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: syria's deputy prime minister today warned the u.s. against any intervention in its ongoing civil war. it was in response to president obama'statemt yesterday th the u.s. would reconsider military involvement if syria moved to use its chemical and biological weapons. meanwhile, the war raged on with syrian warplanes and helicopters attacking all around aleppo today and troops capturing a rebel-controlled town near damascus. the fighting also claimed the life of a journalist. japanese tv reporter mika yamamoto was killed in aleppo yesterday. insurgents in afghanistan fired rockets at the parked plane of the visiting chairman of the u.s. joint chiefs of staff. army general martin dempsey was safe in his quarters at the time but the plane did sustai damage. the c-17 military transport plane was parked at bagram airfield, just outside kabul, while dempsey visited with troops. the taliban claimed responsibility and dempsey later flew out of the country on a different aircraft.
the deadline for striking miners in south africa to return to work or be fired has been extended until at least next week. a government committee convinced the managers of the platinum mine to postpone their ultimatum during a weeklong national mourning period. today mourners and church leaders held a ceremony to bless the ground where 34 miners were killedy policeurinthe strike. they sang hymns and walked barefoot in the area as part of their blessing. the long-time ruler of ethiopia, meles zenawi, died last night at a hospital in brussels of an undisclosed illness. the east african leader had not been seen in public for two months. meles had been a key ally to the west and to the u.s. in the war on terror. but he was also frequently criticized for human rights violations within his own country. meles zenawi was 57 years old. ray suarez has more on his legacy for ethiopia on our web site. a u.s. court of appeals overturned one of the key air pollution rules of the obama adnisttion today. the judges ruled the environmental protection agency overstepped its authority with
regulations that would have established new limits for midwest power plants. for more, i'm joined by juliet eilperin of the "washington post." >> julia, just to bring people up to speed, what was the rule and why did the court by the epa was overreaching? >> the rule that epa had proposed last year which has just been overturned would have controlled pollution from power plants in 28 states in the stern halff the s. so, this is very significant, what it was recognizing is that pollution can travel. it can go from texas to pennsylvania, or from illinois to virginia, and so, it was an effort to kind of curb the pollution in what you call upwind states so that downwind states are not grappling with the pollution issues. and the court made two conclusions in that's 2-1 ruling. first, that essentially, the epa had overstepped its authority by saying that some of these upwind
states had to cutheir pollutn significtly, en further th to the extent that they were contributing to othe s others, and that also, they should have given the states an opportunity to come up with their own plans for curbing pollution rather than having the federal government step in and directly regulate those power plants on this issue. >> okay. so, what are the impacts or consequences now that this ruling has come out. >> well, there are a couple of different things. for now, what is interesting is that the court has left in place a rule that dates back to 2005 under the bush administration called the clean air interstate rules. so to soextent it doesn't mean that nothing is in place. essentially an older rule is in place that is curbing some of these pollutants that are linked to things like the creation of smog, but it certainly is not going to -- it's not going to achieve the same rye dukz s red quickly, and so you have environmentalists who are calling upon an appeal of this ruling which may happen, or there are others who are saying that congress needs to step in and come up with a compromise
that could achieve some of these reductions in something that would please both industry and the environmental community. >> brown: all right, juliet alparin from the "washington post," thank you so much. >> sreenivasan: in northern california today, firefighters started to gain the upper hand against the four-day-old ponderosa fire. nearly 1,900 firefighters were on the job and today had brought the blaze to more than 30% contained, aided in part by shifting winds. still, the fire has grown to more than 30 square miles since saturday, and is threatening thousands of homes. all told, nearly 40 fires are burning across the western u.s. on wall street today, stocks finished lower, dragged down by tech companies. the dow jones industrial average lost 68 points to close at 13,203. the nasdaq fell nearly 9 points to close at 3,067. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to a business story about rising to the top and staying there, as apple reaches new heights, and facebook explores new lows.
wall street's closing bell yesterday rang in a new all-time high stock price for apple. it closed trading at $665.15 per share. that eye-popping figure, thanks to all of those ipods, ids and iphones, made apple thhight vaed pubc companever, at least in non-inflation adjusted terms. we're at $623-and-a-half billion dollars. that's 50% more than exsob mobil, the second largest company, nearly two-and-a-half times rival, microsoft, almost three times google's value and six times that of amazon. stock dropped back into near-earth orbit today closing under $660 per share, as investors took profits. meanwhile, it's been a much diffent story ffacebook, and other companies that are part of the social media boom. just three months after the company's initial public offering had wall street salivating -- >> this is expected to be huge.
this ipo has hit the mainstream -- >> 28-year-old founder and ceo, mark zuckerberg has seen the company's share price merely cut in half from its ipo of $38 to around 20. >> if you thought you were buying jack welch, you bought into the hype -- >> even with nearly a billion users worldwide -- >> this company has to be absolutely crystal clear abou where it's going and how it's going to get there, and they're not. >> and yesterday came word that a board member and early investor cashed out to the tune of nearly $1 billion. >> it's like sitting on an airplane and watching the pilot walk down the aisle wearing a parachute. >> facebook is not the only tech company that has fallen on harder times. game maker, zinga and online coupon broker, groupon have seen their stocks fall, too as investors look for long term models for making money off the new "new thing." some perspective now on these two different business models. ted schadler is a technology
company analyst at forrester research. richard sylla is an economics historian at the new york university stern school of business. ted schadler, first, i guess a simple question, why apple? we know all of the gadgets of course, but why apple. you certainly wouldn't have thought this ten years ago. >> well, apple has obviously not just the ipods and ipads and iphones and all of those gadgets we carry around, we also have 375 retail store, 300 million people walk into the mall and go to the applestore everyear in 2012, so they ve a lot o technology to sell and services and media they're selling as well and they have really taken the world by storm here at home and at work. >> brown: richard sylla, i want you to put this in some perspective when you think about what the particular company that's number one in a particular time, what does that -- what do you read into that? what does that tell us? >> well, i think it tells us that certain products at certain times are dominant products. you know, if you go way back, the united states steel in 1901 put together by j.p. morgan, was
the dominant company of that e a era, and that was the age of steel. you know, we were building skyscrapers in new york and railroads all across the country. later on, general motors in the 1950s and '60s, automobiles were the biggest american industry. general motors was the biggest and top mesh -- american auto company. 1970s, main frame computer, ibm. 1980s, general electric. 19 0s, microsoft and now apple. i think we're in a consumer age and apple makes really nifty consumer products. so they're number one. >> brown: well, ted schadl, speakingf those products, if i understand this right, part of the most rekren run-up in the stock price is expectations over some new product, right? new -- at least new versions of products? >> well, am is on like an annual release cycle like timed with the holiday season in this case, so we certainly expect to see new ipad, maybe different sizes. who knows and new iphone and
what not. that's how they keep the hits coming and buy and rebhi and buy a new one and give the old one to the kids and buy a new one themselves and they have the hit mache going he rig now and to the point made earl yeshg it's really their time. now, does that time last forever. well, i don't know, but the tech economy continues to be very important part of the overall economy here in the u.s. >> brown: well, professor sylla, does their time last forever? that's always the question, right? we're are talking about the new products and there's always the challenge of making sure those products sell as well as the old ones? >> that's right. realready answe we already answered the question in a questio in aay, becausgeneral motor was on top and microsoft in the 1990s and now it's apple. microsoft was a huge company and everybody thought apple was going to fold because they just couldn't compete with microsoft. as was pointed out earlier, am has two-and-a-half times of market cap of microsoft. i believe there are people like
steve jobs and bill gates working right now, as we talk, trying to come up with some better product that three or five or ten years from now will threaten and perhaps even topple apple from its perch. >> brown: and just to stay with you on that, is usually that the companies faisomeho or that there is that other competitor waiting in the wings, ready to zip ahead? >> i don't think it's inevitable that they fail. i can think of the case of ibm which was tops in mainframe computer, then didn't do such a good job with pcs and they were in real trouble 20 years ago. lou gersner came in and turned them around and turned them from a hardware to a software and consulting company and now ibm is a great company again. it's possible for a company re-invt itself, but many more companies are probably going to have the trouble like general motors did where they were on top of the world in the mid 20th century and basically in
bankruptcy 50 or 60 years later. >> brown: now, todd schadler even as we are talking about apple, a lot of talk about another part of the technology sector, that's social media companies. facebook, notably. a lot of talk about whether the bubble or the -- such as it is, i guess, at this point, has burst. what can be said at this point? >>well, certainly, people are lookinat companies li facebook and groupon and zinga and they're asking themselves, what do these companies sell that i want to buy and in the case of facebook they sell advertising, mostly, and not a lot of people want to buy advertising, particularly when you are forward looking on your phone. right? because who wants an ad on their phone. it's not clear what their business model really is going to be. groupon, another example that you had mentioned. people had crazy expectations where the money was going to come from to sustain the value and it just wasn't there. it hasn't been there. so to the previous point, you have to think about what the companies sell, what do they makehat opleant to buyif thansw is, don't know, then probably that valuation is high, and so we have had this
little bubble happen here, and i think we're going to see more companies come to market and if they don't have something that, you know, that people are interested in, it's going to be a head-scratcher to say whether you should buy their stock. >> brown: when you are talking about selling ads on mobile devices that means that the tech company still has a tech problem it has to work out? >> well, it's -- in this case it's probably a people opportunity problem that people want to buy what they -- you kn, wh they have. so, in this case, they have to figure out how to sell mobile ads and then have companies, you know, buy those ads. yeah, that hes a tech problem. >> brown: richard sylla, you are sort of talking about different business models. you look at apple and facebook or facebook and groupon. what do you see? is that sort of normal to have competing business models at the same time? >> oh, yeah. that's part of capitalism. people try different things. some of them work, some don't. it seems to me that apple is on top because it has, you know,
products that everybody in the wod nts to buy. you know, asians buy apple in preference to their own asian products because you get prestige in asia by owning an apple product. we are talking about search, and selling ads, well, google is doing a pretty good job of it, but when i go on google, i'm looking for something, i may be looking for a hacksaw and a hacksaw ad comes up. it's not clear exactly how facebook is going to solve that problem. people on social media, they want to sort of find out about each other, and it's not clear exactly what sort of ads work when people are looking for that >> brown: but at the same time just to stay with you on this question, just because some of these companies might be down now doesn't mean they don't rise again. i mean, that's clearly what happened with apple at one point? >> yes, i think it's a remarkable story about apple, you know, was the first -- to introduce the pc and then ibm sort of took over with the pc markets and apple was in real trouble in the mid to late
1990s. steve jobs came in. he came up with the creative genius. he came up with the new products, and you know a dozen years later, the company is on top of the world. so, that's kd of a wonderful ing out our systemthat people can get up off the floor and rise to the top again. >> brown: richard sylla and ted schadler, that's thank you both very much. >> you're welcome. >> pleasure. >> ifill: now, the second in a pair of stories about efforts to keep students from losing ground over the summer. last night, we looked at a rhode island school district's attempts to close the achievement gap between rich and poor. tonight we head across the country to seattle. a nonprofit group there runs a year-round program which aims even higher-- to college graduation. our report is part of our "american graduate" series, and we turn again to hari sreenivasan. >> as summer draws to close in a
seattle, roughly 50,000 k through 12 students across the city are ending vacations and preparing to head back into classrooms but for 13-year-old mira cornelius mcclam, the change of season will mean little. lately, summer school has been part of her life. the soon-to-be eighth grade r he is a member of rainier scholars. a year-round enrichment program that accepts 60 to 65 highly motivated, low income minority students annually from almost 600 applications. the young scholars are first recruited in the fifth grade and each one selected makes a commitment to graduate not only from high school, but also from college. it all starts with two years of full-time summer school, and weekend classes, and continues with ongoing academic support and leadership training throughout the program. she knew her workload would increase dramatically when she was accepted two years ago. >> i was really excited and i screamed really loud, and my mom
was really happy, and stuff, so everything was very exciting that day. >> that reaction might seem odd for most teen-agers, but not for someone who signed up to spend her summer nights like this. >> tonight the homework that i have in literature, two chapters in odyssey which is about 30 pages, we have to reve an extract for the odyssey and for math we have two worksheets front and back and for science, we have two -- to read a packet, answer questions about it, and then for invictus, we have to read an article and for social studies we have to read about 30 pages. >> finding minority students with that type of ambition and giving them the tools to succeed was the dream of rainier scholars founder, bob hurlba. a former businessman with no previous experience in education, he started the non-profit in 2000, with the hope of one day seeing more
diversity on college campuses. >> there are in our country, the haves and have-notes. and i think i'm always a person who is rooting for the have-notes. then you can root for them and be sympathetic for folk but the question is how do you actually help? how do you change the course of the river in an individual's life or in a community's life? one of the things that i was streetic with is just the reality of education. >> he realized a strong support system was necesry ely d often for kids who come from low income backgrounds, and he hired several educators to help get his vision off the ground. that vision has become one of the most effective programs of its kind. says helen younts malone of harvard university who studied year-round enrichment offerings around the country. >> rainier scholars is definitely one example that we looked at because they're a great example of a cohort model. so, they take students in low resource areas and they really
take them from the fifth grade all the way until college, and in the first few years, they intensely focus on academic preparation and making sure that kids are on par, and achieving at the grade level or even above or where they should be.=?u and over the course of 14 months that they run the first phase of the program, children receive between 1800 and 2100 extra additional hours of learning. that is very significant. >> today, 430 students of color are participating in rainier scholar, which survives on private funding andther donations but takes no government funds. it takes an estimated $40,000 per child to cover costs that include things like transportation, teachers' salaries and additional staff for tutoring, mentoring and support over the course of the program. on top of economic disadvantages, most of the students come from families where no one has ever earned a college degree.
those are twin hurdles that are often cited by education experts as the reasons for the so-called achievement gap between poorer and wealthier stuntsand many lessdvantaged stents drop out of high school. a study last year by the rand corporation and the wallace foundation showed the achievement gap can grow substantially during the summer, because low income students are disproportionately affected by what experts call learning loss or what kid forget in between school years. but rainier scholars aims to not only prevent loss, but to move students forward over the summer and it begins in classrooms like drega little's. >> dark blood squirted from his nostrils. why are you laughing at that? see, see, see? that's too much tv right there. you are desensitized. >> little says his approach to teaching is a simple one. >> when i look at one of my la tinas, for example, i treat her as though she is going to be my
grandchild's pediatrician or when i look at one of our black american boys, i try to educate him as though he were going to be my city council person. i try to treat them as though they are going to be consequential people and we work back from there and i find that if you treat them like they actually have a future, they tend to have one. >> listening to the goals of students here, there is clearly no shortage of ambition. >> when i grow up, i want to be a herpatologist and i want to studyt >> i want to be a toy engineer and technology engineer. i'm going to have to go to mit. >> i want to be a chemicalal engineer. >> by giving students a set of expectations early in their lives, rainier scholar ecutive, s year-round enrichment programs play an important role to keeping kids in school. >> i think our work figures into the bigger picture of reducing
the dropout rate and the flip side is accelerating the achievement rate. we are identifying students very early on and depending on what study you read, you can see studies that say by eighth grade there's predictive factors that determine dropout slash college ma trick layings. >> what separates this program is that it lasts until the last day of college. that day is not too far away for one of the original rainier scholar, kynoa king who is a senior music major at occidental college. he says the program helped him land an internship in seattle this summer and was particularly instrumental in helping him transition from high school to college. >> they do send care packages and food and little cards and things like that and it always reminds you that they're there, and i think by the time that you get to college, it's -- you know, the rainier scholars have been such a huge part of your academic life, even though they're not there all the time, it still doesn't seem like they're nothere. >> in the 11 years since the
rainier scholars program began, program's own report card has been stellar. the first three cohorts that have finished high school have done so with a 100% graduation and college admissions rate. he admits that his organization has been accused of creaming the drop which accepting only minority students at the top of the class or those already proficient at required subjects like math, reading and science. he says those criticisms are unfair. >> we are taking a lot of average kids. a lot of students. we have students who represent the top 40%, but what you are looking for, when we're recruiting student, you're looking for those students with the most barriers to college. whether that be family education or just financial. >> and the family element is a major factor in recruitment, with the most successful students often having mothers or fathers with regrets about their own education. >> samira's mother, that knee kwa is one such parent.
she finished high school but dropped out of college after becoming pregnant with her daughter. >> whatever it takes for her to get this done and for her to be successful, that's way want to do. i didn't have these opportunities. i just didn't care. that was my bad choice. because of the bad choices i made, i don't want my kids making same decision. >> for samira who hopes to be a forensic scientist one day, she says her life would be much different if she had not been accepted into the program. >> without this help that i'm getting now, i probably would be totally confused a couple of years. >> and hurlbutt says if rainier schors continues to do its job, samira will able to become whatever she wants even if her career plans change along the way. >> ifill: american graduate is a public media initiative >> ifill: "american graduate" is a public media initiative funded by the corporation for public broadcasting. you can watch extended interviews with some of the young scholars in seattle online.
>> brown: next, a marathon swim comes to an early end. margaret warner has our story. . >> warner: an exhausted diana nyad arrived in key west, florida, today, but not the way she had hoped. >> this is history out here. no one's ever done it. and really, in this day and age, the earth's gotten to be a pretty small place. all of the mountains have been climbed. all of the deserts have been crossed but this piece of ocean has never been done by a swimmer without a cage. >> warner: the 62-year-old started with a splash on saturday but today her fourth attempt to swim 103 miles from cuba to the u.s., again fell short. this photo shows nyad's sun burned and swalen face after being pulled from the water just before 1:00 this morning. stormy weather prompted that decision by nyad's support team.
nyad left the shore near havana, cuba, on saturday after nearly 42 hours of swimming she got about halfway to the florida keys. before leaving, nyad said she hoped there would be a larger message in her effort. >> instead of staying on the couch for a lifetime, and letting this precious time go y by, why not be bold? be fiercely bold and go out and chase your dream. >> warner: a champion marathon swimmer in her 20s, she first tried to make the cuba to florida swim in 1978. had she finished this time, she would have completed the longest open ocean swim without the protection of a shark cage. i spoke to her by phone as her boat approached key west. diana nyad, thank you for speaki with us. what forced you finally, to get out of the water? >> you know, margaret, it was a long list of variables over which a person doesn't have control.
i trained for this exactly right. i put together a team that was world class in every dimension, from the world leading jellyfish expert to shark guys who dive with them every day of their lives, navigation people who are brilliant mathematicians, immediate yorlts who know what they're doing in this part of the world, everybody world class but every single thing we came up against was an obstacle. you know, huge tropical depression storms. the jellyfish -- how could it be that a tiny little animal that has a tentacle no bigger than a strand of a hair -- i mean, literally, no bigger and no thicker than a strand of hair could be out there in this vast wide ocean and i'm wearing a suit and creams and repellant and the only square inch of my entire body that is open and exposed are my lips because i have to breathe.
how could that tentacle find those lips? i think it's just a story of how jellyfish have proliferated in the world's oceans today. it's going to be the biggest story of the oceans over the next ten years, jellyfish. >> warner: how do you feel? i mean, you have been pursuing this dream for years, working so hard at it. >> i have, and i -- it's going to take a herculean effort, honestly, to leave it behind. i'm not a quitter. and sometimes, though, you just find, you know, reality, and this is just a big -- big swarm of mother nature, but honestly, for me, it's mostly the jellyfish. i just didn't buy into a sport where you are out among, you know, very, in some cases lethal animals. i trained to come across and be smart about navigation and you know, deal with the other elements of mother nature, but you know, i tell you, i was
absolutely frightened. i swam through three nights and each night was stung badly, no matter what. i guess i feel crushed in some ways, and you say it was history, and for me, it was a big live life larger than dreaming, and on the other hand, look at what we did. look at what we put together. you know, i became a better athlete at the age of 62 than i ever was in my t20s. i learned so much. i want to start writing what this expedition brought in terms of education on so many suects. it w thrilling. the oleexperience, honestly, was thrilling. >> warner: most people, even athletes would never attempt something like this. how do you explain your termination to do this with such great risk? >> you know, i never did look at it as such great risk. back in my 20s when did i these swims, i would be in shark infested waters. i never used the word risk, but now you know, as i said, the
oceans have changed because of the jellyfish, i will -- i'm not afraid to admit to you that i'm afraid of them. i really am. it's one thing to be stung and just have some searing pain on your skin that you can breathe and down the your way through and get over it, and another thing to have an animal sting you and go into paryxyms and have your lungs and heart slowed down and taken down. it's a very different thing. you're helpless in the face of those animals. >> warner: and what does it actually feel like? >> intense, intense, ripping pain. as if you have had a poker seared across ur skin. just immediate and intense like a flame, and then you start in with the chills, the shivers, you start trembling and not thinking very clearly.
>> warner: so, are you going to try again? >> you know, i just can't. as i said, i'm not a quitter, but i have to face what was out there, and i have no regrets. i look back and i look at the team we assembled, i look at the effort that i put in. the whole thing was majestic, and i'm very sad. i will cry some tears, no doubt, over not getting where i wanted, which is to walk up on the shore victorious. >> warner: what message should other people your age take from this? >> you know, it's not only people my age, but you know, to me, life is about getting to the end, with no regrets. so, if you have dreams, you know, rather than being afraid, be bold, go out and chase them. as i said, i spent the last two years of my life immersed in the intensity of the quest, and what should i do now? saying none of it was worthwhile because i didn't make it to the
shore? you know, all of it was worthwhile. i was so passionate and all of my senses were so heightened, and it was the people that i met that came on to the team, and gave, you know, their expertise and their will and their courage. it was a magnificent experience. i wouldn't change anything about it, except for that final walk up on the beach. >> warner: diananyad, thanks for talking with us and bravo for your heroic effort. >> ifill: and we continue our series of book conversations exploring ways to bridge ideological divides in washington. judy woodruff has that. >> has bitter partisanship been seeping into our political culture. that's what former congressman, mickey edwards thinks. the republican served 16 years in the house rreseing the fifth district of oklahoma.
in his new book, "the parties versus the people -- how to turn republicans and democrats into americans" edwards outlines a shift he witnessed while in washington. he also shares his ideas for solving the problem. edwards, the vice president of the aspen institute joins us now. mickey edwards, it's good to have you with us. >> good to see you again, judy. >> you start out by asking what if the dead could have nightmares and you were thinking of a particular founding father? >> i was thinking of four of them. you know, the one thing that george washington, john adams, james madison and thomas fferson all agreed on was don't create political parties. and the parties they had in that day were things where a few people got together on three issue, four issue, five issues, but not like what we have today, permanent factions, republicans democrats, always on opposite sides and the founders all warned against that. >> woodruff: what you write here is the real culprits are the parties. >> right. >> woodruff: you krib describe
them as private clubs. what has happened to the parties? >> what happens is they over time have got to be in -- they're control of who gets toe onhe ballot. so they have closed party primaries where a small segment of the electorate gets to decide who is the most pure candidate they have got. >> woodruff: in each state. >> in each state. then what happens is because of sore loser laws, that they got passed in most states, the person who lost the primary can't be on the ballot in november, even though that may be the choice of most of the voters in the state. you end up with candidates who are not really representative. there are hard-liners, non-compromisers and they're the people that eventually go to washington. >> woodruff: so,ou write aut the problem being with the election, but you also write about the problem in the congress and even in the white house. >> it's in both of them but it's also one of the things -- the state legislatures control congressional districts through the parties. so, i'm a city guy. you know, from oklahoma city. i ended up representing wheat farmers and cattle ranchers. i couldn't be an articulate voice for them because the
parties, for their own advantage drew thighs district lines. you get to washington and you get sworn in as a member of congress and the american congress. the united states congress. but you're told in order to get committee assignment, that you haveo promise you'reoing to stick with the party line in order for to us put you on that -- so, nobody wants to compromise. nobody wants to listen to ideas that didn't come from their own club. and that's why we have stalemate on everything. >> woodruff: is one party more guilty than the other? >> i think they're both guilty. you know, it may be a matter of degree one more than another, but you know, whether it's a republican leader or a democratic leader, in the house or the senate, they have all said outrageous things. you know, we won the election. we'll write the bills. or it's our b to defeat the otheguy to elect re of outeam. so, both parties are doing it. >> woodruff: so, you lay out some pretty far-reaching recommendations for what to do about this. >> i do. >> woodruff: talk about how you would change elections. >> what you have got to do is let the people be in charge again.
so, for example, california state, washington state, you kno know, have taken the closed party primaries off the ballot and they have created open primaries where every candidate who wants to run, and qualifies to run, can vote on -- can be on the same ballot and eve single registered voter in the ste can vote among -- choose all of those people, whoever they want and made non-partisan redistricting conditions. 24 states have in the state constitution initiative petitions that the people can take charge and they can get the signatures, put it on the ballot and they can break the system. >> woodruff: you're saying do away with primaries. >> no, do away with closed primaries. you have primaries so a number of people can run, you know, but at the end of it, everybody in the state gets to choose. and in the end, you have got two who -- if you havewo finisher they coulbe in the same party. doesn't matter. they have to appeal to the entire electorate in order to get elected.
>> woodruff: you also recommend changes in the way congress operates. talk about a few of those things. >> it's amazing, when you are elected, you find yourself -- there's a separate lectern for democrats and republicans. there's a separate clock room to go make phone calls and read the newspaper for democrats and republicans. it's all divided as though you were two separate countriescoun. if you take away the ldership fr the ability to cideho gets to sit on what committees. you could break that power. if you rearrange the furniture where everybody sits together like we're one congress, serving one country, and break this idea that pfrom the first moment you're sworn in, your job is to beat the other!xmhé];:mx 6hcj& you have to change that. >> woodruff: but you served as we said in congress for 16 years. do you really believe the political parties are prepared to give up that much power to do the kind of thing that you are talking about. >> no. judy, they're not at all prepared. th's why you have to do two thgs. you ha to have the people in
the states get rid of the primaries get rid of the redistricting. also when your congressman shows up and he says, this is the way we do things. you as a voter have to say, no, you're going to change that, or we're going to change who represents us. you know, we're tired of party against party. we want you to support -- a member of congress, the speaker of the house doesn't have to be a member of the congress. you know, you can have a non-partisan speaker. you can have non-partisan committee staff and the people have to demand that. >> woodruff: so, you're saying you have to change who in congress right now in orde to do those ings? >> well, you either have to change it or you have to force people -- look at what's happened in these elections. the voters have a lot of power. and if they say, judy, if you are in congress, they say, judy, if you can continue to support this party versus party system, we're going to get rid of you and we're going to get somebody who wants to be an american first. not a republican first or a democrat first. >> woodruff: and what's the incentive for them to give up the power that they have? >> well, the only incentive -- the incentive system works, and right now, everybody who is
sitting in congress knows, i they compromis if they talk to somebody who agrees with their own party but not to yours, they won't listen to you they won't talk to you. what happens is, you know, if you stasht comrt compromising, l get knocked off in your primary. we have to take away that incentives. we have 20 give incentives for civility, incentives for compromise and incentives to listen to each other and sit down to get -- any organization that you are in. any association that you are in, you don't divide into rival clubs. you sit down together and try to solve the problems. >> woodruff: do you still consider yourself a republican? >> sure. i'm not a anti-party. at i ainst ithe rtie having the ability to control who is on the ballot, or what the districts look like and so forth. >> woodruff: at stake if these kinds of things don't happen, what could -- i mean, what are we looking at in this country? >> there are over 300 million of us, of all different backgrounds, experiences. if we're going to repair our
bridges, if we're going to fund our military, if we're going to decide how to create jobs, if we're going to nominate and elect people to the supreme court, if we're going to do all of the things that the constuti says tha w legitimately can do as a country, as a single country, we have to be able to have a congress where people will talk together, just like our founding fathers did. >> woodruff: mickey edwards, a former member of congress, now with the aspen institute. thanks very much. >> thanks, judy. good to see you. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day. the chorus of republican voices calling for congressman todd akin to withdraw from his senate race grew, and included presidential candidate mitt romney. syria's deputy prime minister warned the u.s. against any intervention in its ongoing civil war. and endurance swimmer diana nyad said she would not try to swim from florida to cuba again, after jellyfish, squalls and
sharks thwarted her latest attempt. and online, a question: what was the first american campaign film? hari sreenevasan has the answer. >> sreenivasan: it was called "the old way and the new," and put out 100 years ago by the democratic national committee for woodrow wilson, and you can watch it on the rundown. plus, we need your help th this yeas politicacovege. do you read or write a language other than english? sign up to be part of the newshour captioning and translating team and help us translate videos about the 2012 election. find out how on our homepage. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at the epidemic of whooping cough, as the number of cases in the u.s. reaches a 50-year high. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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