tv White House Chronicles WHUT November 14, 2010 10:30am-11:00am EST
♪ captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- ♪ >> hello, i'm llewellyn king, the host of "white house chronicles" is coming right up but a first a few pots and 900 with the new congress next year, many citizens will be summoned to testify on capitol hill. they will be very excited. it is an enormous honor. i know because it happened to me. the first time, i was beside myself with excitement.
i thought i had arrived. i was important. these people were actually interested in what i thought. oh, disillusion, oh, shock, oh, humiliation, it does not work like that. hearings in congress are largely raided. the committee invites people they either want to tear to shreds or completely agree with. they make it look like this is an investigation of an issue. the poor person does not know about that. you have to write this thing and you have to send up a lot of copies of it to the committee and then your time to appear arrives and you sit down low and the committee, senate, or house sets up high so you already feel like a particularly disadvantaged prisoner in a n court of law.
and the pressure starts. "you wrote in 19 --" did i? you don't know. you start doing your testimony and you say you will put it in the record and there are questions. the television cameras leave in the middle of the hearing, so did the senators the congressman and their aides and deputies are at -- and often intern's takeover. this is very disillusioning if you are trying to tell them what the future of the world is. i have done it before the house and the senate. don't get carried away with the honor of the thing. it is a tough undertaking. if they decided to excoriate you, you have no defense. you sit down there and take it and say," thank you, sir." i have a special program today which will touch on congress and other issues facing the
nation with four of the bus to talented people in washington journalism. we will be right back. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration inwhut, howard university program. the nationally syndicated, mr. llewellyn king and co-host linda gasparello. ♪ >> hello again and thank you for coming along. i promised four great people and i have four great people. one is linda gasparello. >> a young friend. >> a young friend. another very young man, andrew glass a politico. i won't tell you how old he is. he is older than i am and that is why i have him here. sharon weinberger, the
enormously gifted writer of books and with aol news, welcome back to the broadcast and a very talented margaret ryan of " energy now." would cover the energy industry for many years -- we both covered the energy industry for many years and have run out of energy as a result [laughter] i want to start with you, andy. one of the things we are facing in the new political alignment with the house of representative being in the hands of the republicans or more especially the certain kind of republicans which seem to be dragging three others to that place. one thing they will do is to try to defund programs they don't like. these are all the programs they don't understand. how does defunding work and is it a real threat to? >> it is but as everything else on capitol hill, it is complicated. the administration has the
ability to move some funds around. the congress has some ability to stop it. you have a two-pronged system. you appropriate which is where the defunding occurs and you authorize which is where the process begins. the republican run committees will not authorize and republican-run appropriations committee will not appropriate. the other prong of this is the oversight process which basically shuts down when you have a democratic congress and a democratic administration. the first thing you will see is a bunch of hearings -- i know you have low opinion of hearings -- these will be hearings that will have some bite to them because they have subpoena power to bring people in and talk about programs and defend them. >> and do you think we will see a lot of defunding?
>> let's see what this commission comes up with at the end of the month. they will recommend suspending cuts. we do not have details their on what the proposals will be. >> people in power do have a pet hates. we talked about energy. it happens to be that liberals tend to like solar power, wind banner, a geothermal power, wave power and not to like a nuclear power, hydrocarbons, etc. it is a silly division but it is there. >> as long as the price of oil is below the price of hooking up major solar, major wind, all that, you are going to see the republicans saying that this is industrial policy. you are picking winners and losers. you are not letting the market move. that is an anthema to the
republic. >> margaret, how you see the face of science in congress? if you attack the department of energy, you are attacking the largest science department of the world, aren't you? >> you are absolutely right that we have every politician saying we need more science and math. >> we are losing our place in the world. i make out -- i think we may do as well with latin and greek. >> it will have another fact is that budget is cut or actually right now, particularly in energy that is a good example because stephen chu came in, the current energy secretary, was very enthused about arpa-e which was supposed to take the model of the defense research which was darpa and apply it to energy and take us forward.
that was created under president bush in 2007 but it was never funded until the stimulus bill. they got $400 million under the stem this bill and now it is unclear if they will ever get one cent a gallon. these basic research things which the government is looking at doing because companies cannot afford to do. this is one thing that the private market other than bell labs can't do it. >> i was lucky enough to tore them several times. they invented all sorts of things. at&t which owns themselves in -- seldom adopted them including fiber optic and the transistor. often, invention is very difficult. many of the things that created microsoft and apple came out of the xerox lab and xerox did not know what to do with it. they said they have it and makes them look good p which is lookr.
bill gates came in and said, "hello world." the rest is history. >> stephen had experience stephenbell labs years ago and he said it often gave people the ability to fail. if you cannot fail, you cannot invent. thomas edison tried hundreds of materials before he got a working electrical. you have to have that room to fail. and the companies that have to resort -- report to wall street recorder, they cannot fail that much. >> i tried many things and failed. did i tell you about the women's liberation magazine i started in new york city? it liberated all the money and not one woman. sharon -- >> i think you have the fiscal realities. there has not been new money under the current administration and there won't be under a new congress. i remember when the debate over arpa energy was to make a mirror
image of darpa. and there were a number of scientists who were against it. they said it is not like darpa, the pentagon research project. it has a customer. it is the pentagon. who is the customer for arpa? the other criticism was there was no new money for it. the problem at the pentagon is not the democrats or republicans will cut the science funding but they are siphoning off money from the sides budget to pay for over schedule and over budget weapons project and those things don't change regardless of who was in congress. that is a management issue. >> one of the best approach is in my opinion is the so-called pride. you give people a lot of money if they succeed in doing a defined break through. if you lose, that is to bed. if you win, you win big. not only do you get the prize
but you get the business. if you come up with a battery that really lets a cargo on 300 miles before it needs to be recharged, that is a good thing because we can really move to a new energy base from hydro fuels'. >> i'm glad you said that becauseprizes were very important in the development of aviation and many of them were given by newspapers. the daily mail and england had a famous one from london to paris which was a race. they gave the money and people develop better airplanes to get the money it works quite well it does not involve the government managing anything. what do you think about all this? >> how does science fit into presidential thinking and the thinking of the congress? for the past number of presidencies that i can
remember, science was really not at the forefront in anything. you look at the science advisers who were lackluster guys who had an office and the white house and did not relate -- were not listened to very well. you used to have very important offices in science and technology policy that was in the congress. >> congress had a very good. everybody liked it and newt gingrich destroy it. >> and he got rid of it. if you can't get the congress excited about it and informed about it, you will not have the kind of appropriations >> you frequently hear newt gingrich talking about the need for science. >> there is the great puzzle. that is the great problem that we will talk about science and engineering and the fact that we need this but there is nobody actually pushing that at a congressional level or at the white house level, pushing a
president in that area. >> you think [inaudible] is not being affected in that role? >> he is a silent man. >> the white house science advisers on bohol have not -- on the whole have not had the ear of the president. they have a rubber-stamp policy rather than initiated it or criticized it or arrested ed. >> you have to have a goal. that is was lacking in many of these projects. prizes are wonderful if they were thought out. darpa had a robot race across the desert which was picked up by a goal which has taken some of the technology from the grand challenge an integrated at that and to what they're doing. where will batteries, it is not clear to me that those have gone forward. -- atwearble batteries, it is
not clear to me that those of gone forward. space is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and prizes but there has to be a plan. you see nasa science unraveling without a goal. we always get from the moment to mars or something else. what is the goal and purpose of nasa? >> let's interrupt for station identification particularly for our listeners on sirius-xm radio. the audio from this program can be heard at 9:30 every evening. this is "white house chronicle." we are always glad to hear from the viewers and listeners and get in touch with us through our whchronc ich is pbs.o
icle.com. we have about 420 stations, some public, some public access and quite a few of them are commercial. as we were saying -- >> another factor debt -- that does not immediately come to mind is immigration. our top graduate schools are stuffed with asian people, people coming from india, and korea and the like are they get top education and guess what? they go back and use all that technology in their home country. if we had a smart immigration policy to let people in and keep people out who should not be here, we might see more progress on the science side. >> sharon, in this constant
drumbeat of more math and science, what do you think the political goal is? is it thought out to? if we have enough of these people will we invent a new internet or a new google or a nuclear power plants? >> no, i don't think there is a goal. we make it more difficult for foreign graduate students to study in the united states. we could increase as the nozzle laws against the united states. we are seeing more prosecutions under the traffic in arms regulation against scientists and academic institutions. talk about science and math and education and these are wonderful things but at the same time, we are extending national security laws to prosecute academics. i don't know what the goal is. i have not seen it articulated. >> we have conservatives say you
should get rid of the department of energy. should we do that and what would you do with all its functions? >> i suppose after going through the abdomen -- reagan administration, when he came into office pledging to get rid of the energy and education department and after eight years had done neither one, i tend to get these people coming into washington and they don't know that 2/3 of the budget goes to nuclear weapons. it is not just building solar panels. i don't expect that it would be a serious threat, let me put it that way. if you did have to disconnect all the pieces, you wouldn't say very much money because you would end up with things that will get funded any way. >> back to the understanding of what does the department of energy do? if we got rid of the department of energy, we would also get rid of teh jewels, the national
laboratory system which is where all of this science is done without risk for business. physics is done there, biochemistry is done there, you name it. if we did not have the laboratory system, we would not have the scientific data we would have in the country. this is where these students who have graduated from american universities are going. they're going into the new national laboratory system in china and a new one that is being built in india. where are we going to be if we just miss this great crown we have. >> all this defunding is going to defunds jobs which should be, according to the republicans, job number one. how do you square that circle? >> we mentioned this last week
on this program. if you follow the british example which has not happened yet but is going to happen, he enormous cuts. it will throw many people out of work. the republicans may say that if the brits can do it, we can do it. the horror and the shock and the realization that we have won an election of though we may not win the like -- the next one of the keeper of this madness. >> one other area that the more conservative republican victory will have an affect on is in questioning pacific areas of science. under the last administration, we sought a halt to set them cell research. -- we saw a halt to stem cell research. a lot of that went abroad and that is where the big discoveries are being made. we spent $30 billion per year.
now we have many people coming in who are questioning climate science. we heard a dull eyes of the california and he will hold hearings and called police to jackson and other officials and start challenging all this climate science. the rest of the world looks at us and says you people are n uts. there is great believe that this is a proven issue but we have a whole new class coming into,. address >> europe is good for stem cells but won't go for altered crops. genetically modified crops. politically, where do think we are headed in this country? >> the election was in a sense a corrective process that on
did what happened in 2006 and 2008. with a little bit of a bonus, we are back to where george w. bush was elected in 2004. the problem is that we are also a country that has enormous problems. to stay on the science of fam theme, our high school graduates are not anywhere prepared in math and science where the jobs will be in biochemistry, in stem cell. this is the future. if we don't make the investment, i am not sure it has to be done by the government but at the same time, we are defunding the state which has the primary responsibility of education. these are questions of priorities, basically. i think that people really need to be educated, if you will,
about what is good for the country, basically. >> i also think that as far as education goes, when you have a government as government said in the 1960's that there is space out there and there is a possibility out there, that stimulated the public schools and all schools to get as educated in math and science and get as excited. >> we have the soviet union. now, we don't have that. >> everybody was trying to do it. >>maybe that will be the stimulus that will get our government engines fired. >> if you want jobs to the future, their bodies as the jobs of the future are going to be the ones that are highly skilled. >> absolutely, if government is setting that interest in science, education will follow and the jobs will remain in these areas. the government is thought setting that kind of interest that we need that interest also
happened to go to language sciences. we had more students studying russian. we had more students studying other languages because of government interest. they are always talking about the funding languages. >> what you feel about the cosmic future? >> terrorism has not proved the stimulus for science funding that the cold war was. it put funding into certain areas but we are not trying to keep up with the education level of terrorists. if you want to have world-class science, you have to -- take china and india, what is it you want and you have to look at it from the secondary and high- school education up to college and university. is there an entry for these people to go in? you can't just throw money at this. you have to look at it across the continuing and i don't think that is happening. >> there is a large bunch of
voters who have no college education, whose main priority is slow down the pace of government, who believe that barack obama is some kind of socialist who is trying to build a government-run society and frankly, this administration has not explained what the role of government is. they are extremely negative about the role of government. >> i think the populace have been conned by being told that they are in the middle class when many of them are not my father was not. i did not attend college either. it is not absolutely essential but it probably helps your social life. i would like to know about
inadvertent discoveries and howl in highly organized scientific world they get out, the things that people discovered by chance like penicillin, different ways of doing things. do you have any thoughts on that? >> inadvertent discoveries, viagra was one of those. >> we are not going there, sharon. >> i would not suggest we do. you still have a base to do it. there are many drugs discovered when there were clinical trials for something else. >> the other part of that of course is to have institutions listening to you. if you were at boeing and invented a new airplane and could prove it works, i doubt it would get up to the board of boeing with your new airplane. we have to fly out of here sent so it is time for our hideouts
and the load notes. >> myrick below note is i have gone s and morepam from russia than anybody can possibly imagine. the high note is that i look to sp of theammers spams recently and it said they photographed may from my porch. how interesting. >> this is going in an entirely different direction. the secretary-general of the united nations that with the chinese leadership recently and did not utter a word about human rights which so far as i know should be a priority in the united nations. they are putting people in jail in china for peaceful dissent. his second term is coming up and if i were advising the white house which i am not, i would give serious thought that we should not support them. >> i can low point, the a-380
airbus. it was not encouraging. >> a bed of the concord fell off and that was the end of the concorde. >> high note looking for it is so many people as they come to washington and we have a whole new crop of them, they are going to come here and clean up the swap and they are all going to fix what ails us in washington they never think there is a reason things are the way they are. they are all coming here to run a brown r on thateef of reality and it will be kind of fun in an oddball way. >> for more than 40 years, people came to fix things, yong, passionate, there is a lovely quote that says they come expecting a
cesspool and find a hot tub. that is a program for today. we are glad to join desperate please join us on the web at whchronicle.com. we shall be back next week. all the best, cheers. ♪ " white house chronicle" is produced in conjunction with whut, howard university. this has been "white house chronicle." this is inside with a sense of humor.