tv PBS News Hour PBS May 13, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, the white house kicks up an already hot issue by directing all public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity. then, how one man's mission to reform the national justice system began by confronting alabama's overcrowded prisons. >> if you said to any warden in the state of alabama, "can you identify 50, 100, 200 people in your prison, who you think could go home tomorrow, would not be a problem?" most of them could do it in a heartbeat. >> woodruff: and it's friday. mark shields and michael gerson talk about the possibility of a united republican party and analyze a full week of news. all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.
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public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the political and social struggle over bathrooms and gender blew up today. the spark came from a letter sent to school districts across the nation by the federal government, and it drew immediate condemnation by conservative states. for the nation's public schools, the issue was already simmering. after today's federal directive, it's on the front burner. that is: provide transgender students with access to suitable bathrooms and locker rooms that match their chosen gender identity. >> the challenge here is not to isolate anybody. it's not to discriminate against anybody, it's not to make anybody unsafe. it's actually to ensure that our schools are as inclusive and respectful and safe as they can possibly be.
>> woodruff: the u.s. departments of justice and education issued the directive in a formal letter to school districts. it does not impose new legal requirements. instead, it cites "title 9's" existing protections against sex discrimination-- that are tied to federal funding. according to the directive: "when a student or the student's parent notifies the school administration that the student will assert a gender identity that differs from previous records, the school will begin treating the student consistent with that gender identity." u.s. attorney general loretta lynch said the goal is to protect against harassment-- and address unjust policies in local schools. the transgender community welcomed the news. >> we have someone who's very powerful, able to help us. >> woodruff: >> woodruff: 14-year-old chicago student alex singh transitioned
from female to male two years ago. he appeared in a "frontline" documentary, "growing up trans," on pbs last year. hen i first came out, i was in 7th grade, and before then, going to the bathroom was kind of uncomfortable for me, as it would be for any guy going into the female restroom. it was very uncomfortable, very nerve racking. i just felt out of place and like i did not belong. >> woodruff: and high schoolers in arlington, virginia, offered their own reactions today. >> equal rights is just a part of our government, our amendments. like, i don't think it should be based on gender. if you're a u.s. citizen you should be treated like one, not alienated just because you changed your gender. >> i would feel comfortable going into the bathroom because obviously they think they're female, and i'm female so they wouldn't harm me in any way. >> woodruff: but the backlash began almost immediately. >> we will not be blackmailed by the president's 30 pieces of silver.
we will not sell out our children to the federal government. >> woodruff: in texas, lieutenant governor dan patrick urged his state's school superintendents to defy the obama administration-- even if it means forfeiting billions in federal aid. >> he's either paying back the lesbian gay and transgender community that helped him defeat hillary clinton in 2008, or he believes in this policy. i don't know for what reason he's doing it, but it is the most damaging public policy he has put forth. >> woodruff: north carolina governor pat mccrory takes a similar stance. his state and the justice department are already suing each other over a new state law restricting public bathroom use to a person's birth gender. >> this is an issue which is really about privacy vs. equality and that balance. and people have an expectation of privacy, according to many of
our citizens, not just in north carolina, but, again, this is now going to be a nationwide issue. when you go to a restroom or to a locker room or to a shower facility, there is an expectation of privacy, that the only other people in that room, in a very private moment, i might add, will be people of the same gender. >> she said, "mom i think there's a boy changing in my locker room." >> woodruff: some parents are worried as well. this woman in clovis, california, where schools already follow a state gender identity law, expressed her concern this week. >> i understand that times are changing and that there are issues that need to be addressed. i totally, completely understand that, but i don't think that this is the right solution. >> woodruff: and in another development, the u.s. department of health and human services issued new rules today saying transgender people can't be denied health care by professional providers who receive federal funding. the transgender bathroom battle also spilled over into the presidential race today. republican donald trump was
asked about it, during phone-ins to morning tv talk shows. he said "everybody has to be protected," but he argued it is not a federal issue. >> i think the state should make the decision. they're more capable of making the decision. i felt that from the beginning. i just think it should be states' rights. i think many, many things, actually, should be states' rights, but this is a perfect example of it. >> woodruff: the two democratic presidential candidates, hillary clinton and bernie sanders, had no immediate reaction. we will get a full airing of the issue, after the news summary. the pharmaceutical giant pfizer has announced it will no longer allow its drugs to be used in lethal injections. with that decision today, all federally approved suppliers have now blocked sales of their products to prison systems. a number of states using the death penalty have begun buying the drugs covertly. russian president vladimir putin stepped up his criticism of nato missile defense sites in poland.
putin scoffed at u.s. arguments that the system is aimed at iranian missiles and not russia. he told russian military officials: "we will have to think about how we can fend off the threats." meanwhile, polish and american officials symbolically broke ground for a new missile interceptor site. another site went operational yesterday. in iraq, islamic state militants attacked for a third straight day. this time, the target was the shi-ite town of balad, about 50 miles north of baghdad. two suicide bombers and gunmen stormed a busy coffee shop there, killing at least 13 people. four more were killed in a second attack, later. isis bombings earlier this week killed nearly 100 civilians and soldiers. the u.s. transportation security administration is appealing for patience as travelers face growing security delays at airports. lines have gotten longer in the face of tighter security
procedures and fewer transportation security officers, or t.s.o.'s. at washington's reagan national airport today, the secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson, promised corrective action. >> our job is to keep the american public safe. we're dealing this spring and summer with increased travel volume which obviously puts an added burden on our t.s.o.'s and increased demand on the system. but we're not going to compromise aviation security in the face of this. >> woodruff: congress agreed this week to inject more money into the t.s.a., to hire more officers and take other steps. in the meantime, officials are warning passengers to arrive at least two hours ahead of their flights. a cyber heist that stole $81 million from a bangladesh bank now appears to be part of a wider campaign. the global financial network "swift" reported today the same hackers also hit an unnamed vietnamese bank.
and europe's largest weapons company, b.a.e. systems, said the same malware is linked to the cyber-attack on sony's hollywood studio in 2014. wall street's week ended with a sell-off, led by retail and bank stocks. the dow jones industrial average lost 185 points to close at 17,535. the nasdaq fell 19 points, and the s&p 500 slipped 17. for the week, the dow was down 1%. the nasdaq and the s&p were off about half a percent. general lori j. robinson made history today, taking over norad, the north american aerospace defense command. a ceremony in colorado springs made her the first woman to head a u.s. combat command. she's one of only two female four-star generals in the air force. she is said to have a keen interest in space, cyber- security and drones.
and, the world's oldest person, susannah mushatt jones, has died at the age of 116. she passed away thursday at a seniors' home in brooklyn, new york. jones was born in alabama in 1899, and moved north as a young woman. she never drank or smoked, but said she did eat bacon every day. susannah mushatt jones was the last living american from the 19th century. still to come on the newshour: reaction to the obama administration's sweeping directive on public school bathrooms; a key hezbollah leader killed in syria; why some see alabama's overcrowded prisons as a sign of racial injustice, and much more. >> woodruff: the battle over the use of school facilities by transgender students has already
flared up in north carolina and in other communities, including in southeastern virginia and a chicago suburb. but the directive to all public schools from the obama administration spreads it across the nation. hari sreenivasan is in our new york studios tonight, and has more on the reaction and possible impact. >> sreenivasan: i'm joined by two people who have been involved on both sides of this issue. alex myers is an english teacher at phillips exeter academy in new hampshire, an author and speaks frequently about gender identity. he's transgender, came out in high school and was the first openly transgender student to attend harvard. and jeremy tedesco is senior legal counsel with alliance defending freedom, a faith-based legal advocacy group. it represents several groups of parents that oppose allowing students to use school bathrooms based on gender identity. alex, let me start with you. why is this so significant to you? >> this is real lay moment of
recognition unparalleled. i think the transgender community has been existing at the margins not only of mainstream society but also the lgbt communities and president obama's and loretta lynch's statements bring us out of the shadows. >> sreenivasan: jeremy tedesco, your organization is involved in two lawsuits in chicago and north carolina to try to prevent these types of policy from rolling out. are there a lot of students not transgender who are trying to go into the other bathrooms, so to speak? why is this a step too far? >> i really appreciate you having us on. i'm glad we can be on pbs and have a civil discourse. the alliance for freedom has been pushing out policies to school districts for several years compassionate alternative that meets the needs of every student at the school. so our policy says, if students who for whatever reason are
uncomfortable using the lockerroom or shower or restroom designated for their biological sex should be given alternative facilities, single-stall facilities or whatever is available at the school. almost all schools have those available, but they shouldn't allow the privacy rights of other students to be violated ió providing the accommodations. there are interests, rights on both sides of the equation in the bathroom and lockerroom contexts. students have an expectation of privacy in those facilities. the obama administration is completely trampling those rights by directing schools to just let students of one sex into the lockerrooms androomsxdf the students ofñi the other sex. >> sreenivasan: alex, how are the schools supposed to strike the balance to protect the privacy of all students not just the transgender sphwhuns. >> i think the basic thing a school needs to do is educate and train faculty, administration and students, just so people are aware. a lot of the problems are caused
by ignorance rather than actual incidents. but in terms of privacy and what was just outlined, i think the problem with having a separate single-gender, single-use bathroom is you're mandating that something that sounds like separate but equal but we want people to co-exist together, for there not to be segregation of any kind. in terms of privacy rights, you might be looking at modifying particularly lockerroom facilities to allow every student privacy. you will find transgender want to go intorooms, locker rooms and use the facilities discreetly and they value their own privacy and are not likely to intrude on others. the conservative movement is mentioning privacy for a right when for so many years they inl acted sodomy laws which had no respect for privacy. >> sreenivasan: in the d.o.j. today and the department
of education, there were school districts that all have created policies in figure ago way through this without any lawsuits. why aren't these fixes good enough? sometimes it was as simple as a stall with a dar or a curtain. >> the illinois lawsuit where we filed the lawsuit against the department of education and a school district outside of chicago, they did install a few privacy stalls inside the girls' locker room, but that doesn't solve anything because those stalls are inside the locker room. the biologically male student has to walk through the room when girls areñr changing for p. in class that are in a state of undress. it happens every day of the year because p.e. is mandatory so these girls have to suffer the humiliation, the degradation, the affront to their dignity and the privacy violations on an everyday basis in the school. it doesn't solve the problem. see, privacy rights say the person of the opposite sex, they
stop at the door to the locker room, not at a door to a private stall inside the locker room. the bar is at the door to the lo consistent with the expectation of privacy that we've always had in our society when it comes to the use of these kinds ofñi facilities. again, that right is protected by the u.s. constitution. so with the obama administration -- what the obama administration is promoting isñr something that tramples the privacy rights and the dignity of girls at schools across the country and boys. you know, in illinois, we have 63 student plaintiffs, the 130-plus plaintiffs altogether. these people, you know, they're religious, they're not religious. you know, privacy is something that cuts across religious and ideological lines and these people just want their children's right to privacy protected by the schools and the federal government. >> sreenivasan: alex, what do you say to the parents who are in this lawsuit? >> i think that the time has come to be a little bit more educated and a little bit more open. i really have not heard of any incidents of harassment or assault.
i'm not aware of there being any legitimate problems voiced by sis gender students. i think the overwhelming majority of transgender people who use public facilities want to do so with respect to their own privacy and discresmghts it has not risen to any attention that i know of that there's been any problem with the use. >> sreenivasan: jeremy tedesco, on your site, you seem to be drawing an inference that allowing transgender people these rights is the equivalent of shielding sexual predators. the example youxdg cite on theg repeatedly seem like people who are political activists orçóñr perhaps sexual predators. are you trying to equate the two groups? >> well, of course not. we don't think that providing access to people who are truly struggling with gender identity issues is going to be a safety problem. the problem is theseçó laws allw people to simply self-identify as the opposite sex and+l4 gain access. you can't tell meñr based on all the evidence that's out there
that people who have, you know, unconscionable purposes that want to, you know, take advantage of these kind of policies, use them as a ruse to gain access will not do. so there is a criminal element out there that will do that. we need to recognize that as a culture, but we also need to recognize the privacy problems. you know, the idea that there hasn't been any kind of priority of some kind of safety problem in a particular situation or school really doesn't respond to the problem. the problem is the privacy violation, the incredible amount of uncomfortability, humiliation, degradation and embarrassment that our clients in illinois, for instance, the girls in the locker room experience on a daily basis. some of the girls in our lawsuit aren't using the restroom at school, they're holding it all day long. we have another girl who wears her gym clothes under her regular clothes so she doesn't have to undress. she has to wear dirty gym choats
the rest of the day to preserve our privacy and dignity in the locker room. we shouldn't have to do that as a culture. >> there is not necessarily a card that you get when you're transgender. how do you get over that sort of identification problem when a transgender or any individual wants to identify and go into an opposite locker room? what's going to be the simple rule that works at the parks and recreation department or high school? >> i think you find most transgender people use the bathroom they feel matches their gender identity and that they can act in, so the one they will walk in and not be kicked out of, the one they will walk into and not cause an incident. it takes special circumstances for a transgender person to walk into a space where they know they will be rejected. that's when the fear of harassment an and abuse comes to light. there hasn't been a case of abuse or harassment of a predator posing as a transgender. transgender have been using public facilities that match
their gender for years and years and that simply hasn't happened yet. >> sreenivasan: jeremy tedesco, people will be watching the interview thinking to themselves almost everything the plaintiffs he's representing, if you just substituted transgender with race, this sounds like what people said 50 years ago. >> there is simply no comparison. title 9, at the source of all of this -- which by the way the obama administration is radically reinterpreting and ignoring congress' will by forcing its political agenda on the country -- title 9, for over 40 years, has said schools can comcan ply with title 9 by having separate facilities, locker rooms, rest rooms and showers for girls and boys. that is not the equivalent of race discrimination, and the suggestion that it is a tactic to get people to shut up and not express their opinions about this kind of topic. it's not the same thing. it's recognized under the law 40-plus years, it's a rationale
and reasonable division between the sexes in those kinds of facilities. >> sreenivasan: jeremy tedesco, alex myers, thank you both. >> thank you. >> woodruff: thanks to you all, and there is much more online, including our report this week on how the u.s. military is working on its new rules for transgender service members. that's on our homepage. plus, you can watch frontline's full documentary, "growing up trans." that is streaming now at www.pbs.org/frontline. >> woodruff: word came today that the man believed to be the top military commander of hezbollah was killed in syria. the iranian backed group has fought against the u.s. and israel since it was founded in the early 1980s. and it has joined forces with the assad government in the syrian war. newshour special correspondent jane ferguson has our report.
>> reporter: people in this suburb of beirut have been to many funerals since the beginning of the war in syria. but none as big as this. mostafa badredinne was believed to be the main military commander of hezbollah forces fighting in syria. in life, he was a villain to america and its allies. in death, he is a hero to these people. in hezbollah neighborhoods of beirut, the funerals of war dead feel like celebrations. women throw rice and rose petals on the coffin as it passes. >> ( translated ): i know there are martyrs in syria, but we like that and are happy because we give martyrdom. if we didn't go to syria, isis would come to here. >> when the name of this dead man is in our minds we will always remember that we have to fight. we have to get revenge from those who killed him. >> reporter: badredinne was
believed to be involved in the devastating attack on the u.s. marines barracks in beirut in 1983, which killed 241 americans. he was also indicted for the assassination of lebanese prime minister rafik hariri in a huge truck bomb in 2005. he was killed in syria, where he was leading hezbollah's military campaign, propping up the group's ally president bashar al assad. young men from here often go to fight in syria for hezbollah, many returning in coffins. it's a heavy price the group is paying for it's involvement in the war. the death of this commander, however, is the biggest loss to the group since his predecessor was killed in 2008. mustafa badreddine had already said, according to hezbollah, that he would only return to lebanon from syria either victorious or dead as a martyr.
professor of georgetown university said he was a gownedder of hezbollah. >> badreddine's death is a big blow to hezbollah. he's someone who is there in the founding of the movement. he's been it in leadership positions. really the tip of the sphere. really been active whether it's been in kuwait, in lebanon, now in syria. and this is a tremendous blow. it has repeatedly lost senior leaders in its history and it has easily emerged strong and has committed and it doesn't change things in the country. >> reporter: it's not clear who was responsible for his death. badredinne would have been a target for both israel and extremist groups fighting in syria like isis. for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson in beirut.
>> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: mark shields and michael gerson analyze the week's news; and how advances in genetic sequencing is saving lives. but first, the latest installment in our series, "broken justice," about new approaches to criminal justice. tonight, we have a conversation with a noted lawyer and author on questions of sentencing, overcrowding in prisons and whether a series of changes around the country go far enough. jeffrey brown traveled to alabama for our report. >> brown: the "equal justice initiative" in montgomery, alabama is a non-profit founded in 1989 by lawyer and civil rights activist bryan stevenson to represent death row prisoners and indigent and juvenile defendants, who he argues have been denied effective representation, often due to racial bias. in recent years, which included the publication of an acclaimed memoir, "just mercy: a story of
justice and redemption," stevenson has become a leading voice nationally for criminal justice reform. i met him at his office in montgomery while reporting on alabama's overcrowded prisons and spike in prison violence. >> there were less than 5,000 people in alabama's prisons throughout most of the 1970s. and then you had politicians like you had all over the country get captivated, i'm going to say intoxicated, by the politics of fear. >> brown: intoxicated. >> yes, intoxicated by the politics of fear and anger. they began competing with each other over who could be the toughest on crime, and putting people in prison became the solution to virtually every problem. drug addiction and drug dependency, which could have been seen as a health issue, was seen as a crime issue. the growing freedom that was emerging in the deep south for african americans, who until just a decade earlier couldn't vote, couldn't go into schools, had to be regulated. so we used the criminal justice system, and you saw this massive increase in the number of people
sent to jails or prisons. so, we went from about 5,000 people in the 1970s to 30,000 people today, in a state with about 4.5 million people. that's an unbelievably high rate of incarceration. >> brown: you're seeing our incarceration system as a continuation of slavery, of a history of racial injustice in the country. >> well, i think it's a continuation of using crime narrative to control social and political dynamics that can't be controlled in more legitimate ways. and we created this so-called war on drugs, and we targeted people of color, and we got everybody to buy into the fact that if we don't put these dangerous people into jails and prisons, we are none safe. and that's how we went nationwide from a prison population of about 300,000 in the 1970s to 2.3 million today. and now we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. >> brown: and here in alabama, an extreme model of it. >> exactly. and it's rooted in this comfort
level with reducing people to their worst act and acting in very extreme, harsh, punitive ways. i mean, a state that was shaped by lynching as a response to things like interracial sex, or organizing for better sharecropping conditions, to use lynching, calling these people criminals, has created a culture, an environment where then putting people in prison for life with no chance of parole for writing a bad check, or being in possession of marijuana didn't seem so radical. >> brown: last year alabama's republican legislature and governor passed a law to reform some of alabama's sentencing guidelines and increase probation and parole supervision. stevenson believes such measures here-- and elsewhere-- don't go nearly far enough. >> i think people realized that we're spending way too much money on jails and prisons. and i think that's true in alabama, it's true nationwide. we went from $6 billion spent on
jails and prisons in the united states in 1980 to $80 billion last year. and the recession was terrible for everybody, for everything, except criminal justice reform. because all of a sudden, state legislators had to start asking harder questions about why we're spending so much money to keep people in jails or prison who are not a threat to public safety. >> brown: and you think it's more a concern out of money, than anything else, that is leading to whatever discussion there is about change? >> well, i think that's the primary motivation, i do. if we were more affluent today, if we had more resources, i don't think we'd have the same interest. too many people in this state, too many people in this country don't care if people who are in jails or prisons are abused. they don't care if they're raped. they don't care if they are murdered. they don't care if they're assaulted. they don't care about their victimization. and because of that, we haven't responded the way a just society, a decent society is supposed to respond when you see abuse and murder and rape and
misconduct. >> brown: so if you had your opportunity given where things are at right now, what is one- what's the most important thing that needs to happen? >> can i do two? the two things that i would do, i would commit to reducing the prison population by 5,000 people. just put out an arbitrary number like that. >> brown: where do those people go? >> they will go home. we have 5,000 people in our jails and prisons that could go home tomorrow that would not in any way threaten public safety. and you know who could help us identify those 5,000, are the wardens at these prisons. if you said to any warden in the state of alabama, "can you identify 50, 100, 200 people in your prison, who you think could go home tomorrow, would not be a problem?" most of them could do it in a heartbeat. we could get to that 5,000 number just like that. and then, we could take the money we save, the significant money that we save, and invest in better caregiving, better
management. you have to have people running prisons that care about the incarcerated, that are smart, that aren't bullies, that aren't reactionary, that aren't kind of vindictive. and then you could begin to see improved conditions. >> brown: are you more optimistic nationally, when you look at the large picture? >> i'm cautiously optimistic. but punishment is a local issue. and the national discourse will only have an impact on places like alabama if people in alabama step up. but i am generally hopeful. i don't think it's going to happen by itself, and what i'm worried about is that congress might pass a few reforms, we might see reforms here and there, and we're going to declare victory. and three years from now, the prison population will have decreased by 1%, and we'll still be the most punitive nation on the planet. >> brown: stevenson now has a broader educational project underway, erecting markers to
remind people of a history often ignored, and his group is collecting samples of earth from the sites of lynchings, with an aim toward creating memorials around the state. i asked stevenson what drives him. >> well, i think, when you see what i see, you don't have a choice. i think if most people saw what i see, they'd have the same instinct, they'd have the same idea that we have to fix this. because it's unconscionable. we have kids, 15- and 16-year- old kids, that we're still putting in adult jails and prisons in alabama. and what happens to those children is that they get abused, they get assaulted. and i don't think there's a decent person watching this program that if they saw that, wouldn't feel like we've got to stop that.
>> woodruff: now, we turn to a week in republican politics that saw the presumptive presidential nominee confront a divided party, and one in democratic politics that saw the underdog candidate notch another primary victory. we analysis it all with shields and gerson. that is syndicated columnist mark shields and "washington post" columnist michael gerson. david brooks is away tonight. i want to start, mark, with our lead story tonight, the administration, the obama administration putting out a directive to public schools all over the country to make bathroom-locker roomñr facilitis availability transgender students. what effect do you see thisawq having? >> in the real world in education, i'm not sure, judy. politically, prior to today, the politics were all on the side of those whoñi had opposed the north carolina law, which basicallyçó restricted and was
sort of a bogus bogey man,fá whh i guess is redundant. allñr these men putting on womes clothes and going into restrooms to molñi molest females. >> solve ago problem that didn't exist. i really felt that way and i community reacted as one and costñi north carolina a great amount, paypal jobs, deutscheñi banc, google, coca-cola, a bruce springsteen concert canceled. so there was a defensiveness. now tad's movement by the president strikes me that the silence on the partñi of democrats, of secretary clinton's campaign, of bernie sanders' campaign, of other democrats in leadership positions, i have yet to hear
senators from the hill or governors. so i'mñr not sure. the federalp, atom bomb or fedi spending, $3 billion in the state of north carolina, is an enormous, enormous weapon. the lack of enthusiastic response from secretary clinton and senator sanders, i'm not sure they see it as an unmixed political blessing. >> woodruff: we haven't heard of any comment. >> they didn't rush to the microphones. >> woodruff: good way of putting it. michael, how do you read the political repercussions from this? >> you know, i don't know. this is the kind of issue that is normally handled with culture normals, and people making compromises, and, you know, meeting real needs because there is one here. people should be treated the way they want to be treated. that's a basic norm. but now we have both sides politicizing this, raising it to the highest levels of stakes, likely to go in the courts, way
up in the courts.ñi resepticment, conflict -- resentment, conflict. it's turned into a culture war controversy and we take positions like this that maybe people of good will could come them through this culture war machine of our politics, and then there has to be a winner and a lures when, in fact, i think on this type of issue, we have a long history of maybe reasonable people reaching accommodations in their own community. >> woodruff: you're saying that'sxd what the white house hs done by coming outñi with thisñr directive. >> i think it's an overreach, but the other side overreached in north carolina asñi well andy politicizingñi tiks. >> woodruff: let's turn to the story that's had everybody consumed thisñiñr week,xdçó was, donald trump. looks like he+ wrapped up theñr nomination. there is a dance to win over republicans, especially$@i who still haveñi not climbed on board, have not endorsed him.38c
behindñrñi ci come over and said they'll support him but others are holding back. +&c being the most visible, a man who's earned his credibility and his reputation of being a man of conviction on issues like welfare -- of immigration reform, of balancing the budget, of open and free trade, of controlling entitlement spending andñr limiting and privatizing medicare, medñr with donald trup who had runñ- said he was a nice man. that's basically become the default positions for republicans who don't like donald trump very much, is he a nice man. lindsey graham is discovering qualities of warmth that went undetected in the fight for the
primaries. i think paul ryan reflects he'ss own republicans who might feel a threat of donald trump from suburbançó districts.ñi ( please stand by ) ( please stand by ) i think you will see people nudging over. >> woodruff: what's the thought process going on here, michael? on the part of some of the members of congress especially who were unalterably opposed to him are -- who were supporting
others and are moving those side. >> i think the normal reaction is to try to rally the party, to pick the lesser of two evils, to find whatever agreement you can and emphasize it. the problem is this isn't a normal circumstance. you're not dealing with man that has some different policy views, even on big issues. you're dealing with a man that's not qualified for the presidency, not qualified morally because he picks on minority groups, not qualified temperamentally. i've seen what apt looks like. it doesn't look like this. not qualified from background and experience. i think a lot of the political classes dealing with this as one of the normal issues of compromise, instead of looking at this, is he fit to be president of the united states? that's a question they want to avoid. >> woodruff: but i'm trying to get at the thought process. how is it some members are finding him acceptable and others are holding out?
and paul ryan is holding out but the sense is he will come around. >> the question is the office pool, will bernie sanders endorse hillary clinton and paul ryan endorses donald trump. won't be any question after the post session that paul ryan is heading in that direction. judy, if you're running for reelection, it's always easier to run on the same ticket with your presidential candidate lined up, because for your own survival, if you break with the presidential candidate, that presidential candidate has some loyal supporters who may exact retribution on you, even though you're running for the house or the senate, that you turned your back on our guy and punish you. so it's easier to do that. but, you know, i have to say, i think in the case of lindsey graham, this is projection on my part, why he's going soft open donald trumopen -- on donald trr sounding softer that his best
friend in the world, john mccain, is up for reelection and in a very difficult race in arizona and donald trump could be a liability there and he just feels that somehow if he goes easy that this will be less of a problem for john mccain. >> and i do have to say we knew this would happen. when you get the nomination, your controlling the party is powerful. but when you see it in reality, it's kind of revolting. somebody like rick perry who was the leading critic of donald trump's character early, talked about him as a cancer on conservatism, now angling for a vice presidential nod. you see a serious person like senator corker who seems to have ambitions in that administration. it's a sad thing, in many ways to watch what happens when political reality takes hold in these cases. >> woodruff: how do republicans reconcile what appear to be changing stances on positions and raising taxes, one day saying no, i'm not, raising
taxes on the wealthy the next day, different sometimes on whether the wall will be built and how high it's going to be. >> well, there is two things to bear in mind -- donald trump has no public record, okay, so he doesn't have policies. he's never had policies. never been a policy candidate. he's sustained white papers or think tanks. he's been a campaign of bumper stickers. build a wall, make mexico pay for it. take it back, send them back, round them all up. that's it. so as a consequence, he has no -- he has a very tenuous connection with the positions he's taken. i mean, they're not based upon votes or anything of the sort. >> i think it is important -- you know, he doesn't have con sent views. when he changes his views, he doesn't have any reason for changing his views which is extraordinary. but it calls attention to the fact that he was never offering
policy from the first day of this campaign. on issues like jobs, immigration. what he's arguing is he should be in charge. this is essentially an authoritarian appeal. many people who support him are essentially giving up on self-government, saying he should take care of it, he should be in charge. >> woodruff: right. hen this is pretty weak hands. >> woodruff: i want to save a little time for the democrats, mark. >> sure. >> woodruff: bernie sanders won his 19th primary in west virginia. >> yes, he did. >> woodruff: is there a chance he could be the nominee to have the democratic party is this. >> there's a very, very slim chance. probably not a realistic chance. hillary clinton has an air of availability of the nomination but bernie sanders has momentum. won the last 11 contests, won the last, two both races in may, he's on his way in oregon. you know, so he has this sense -- and he made a very
strong statement on tuesday night that donald trump would be elected over my dead body. we're going to stop him. he opposed him. so hillary clinton would like to be rid of bernie sanders. bernie sanders has a constituency of young people, energy and passion that she needs desperately. she needs desperately to win and her campaign needs that infusion, sort of idealism, and i think bernie sanders is probably the only agent who can deliver it. >> woodruff: michael, how does this affect what she needs to do, if she is the nominee between now and november, the fact that she's still in here and donald trump -- >> she's won the nomination essentially. we're seeing a significant portion to have the democratic party wants to humiliate her even though she's won the nomination. that is a serious thing. it points out she's not a particularly strong candidate. trump and hillary clinton are some of the least liked politicians in america. it's an extraordinary race. there are many people who are in
the never-trump camp, but there are also people in the never-hillary camp, and that race could be close than people think. >> perns, in his defense -- bernie sanders, in his defense, he wants his campaign to have stood for something, and it certainly has, but he wants to carry it to the fight for the platform of the party, to the positions. i don't think it's humiliation of her that drives him at this point. he's been through all of this for so long, and he wants his people to have their moment in the sun. >> but the alarm bells are going off. you have senators pressuring him to get out of the race because trump looks stronger than they thought. >> and that's a new phenomenon. yes. >> woodruff: thank you both, michael gerson, mark shields, thank you. >> woodruff: each year,
thousands of seemingly healthy young people suddenly die and in many cases, doctors aren't able to determine the cause. scientists in san diego are starting to solve some of these medical mysteries through genetic sequencing, and what they're learning can have a profound ripple effect on surviving family members. science reporter david wagner from our member station kpbs in san diego reports. >> reporter: dardie robinson leads a typical life in portland, oregon. she spends her days working as a paralegal and catching up with all the kids she raised. but unknown to her, she was carrying a genetic mutation that left her and family members vulnerable to sudden heart failure. a year and a half ago she received an unexpected call. it was about her son, daniel. >> i got a call out of the blue from his girlfriend.
and um, sorry... she said, the paramedics were there, working on daniel. that she had found him and he was blue and unresponsive. and i told her, "i said tell him his mama loves him." and she said, "i'm sure he can't hear you," and i said, "tell him anyway." and so she did. >> reporter: in tears, she left the office and got in her car. >> and on the way home i got the call that there was nothing they could do and he was gone. >> reporter: daniel was 29 and otherwise healthy. no one knew why he had died so suddenly. >> that was to me, that was really the worst part. the word to us initially was, they thought he must have committed suicide. i just kept saying, "that doesn't make sense." >> reporter: an autopsy pointed to problems with his heart-- and while she was relieved suicide
was ruled out, the autopsy left her unsettled. if this could kill daniel at 29, could it strike her other biological children? >> that was the question. is it going to happen again? which one of my kids? me? i'm okay if it's me. i'm not okay if it's one of my kids. >> reporter: not long after she received the autopsy report, dardie read an "l.a. times" story about a study happening in san diego. scientists at the scripps translational science institute were using gene sequencing to take another look at cases like her son's. they wanted to perform what they called molecular autopsies. scripps geneticist ali torkamani says one of the reasons they agreed to take on daniel's case was a strong family history of early heart failure. >> the fact that there was more than one sudden death in the family at a young age sort of highlighted the point for us, this is likely a genetic issue.
>> reporter: daniel, at 29 was by far the youngest. but a number of dardie's relatives had died from sudden heart failure in their 40's and 50's. with strong clues that daniel's death may have been related to his d.n.a., the scripps researchers sequenced genes from daniel's heart tissue. they also sequenced his parents' genes. >> and that's when we found this mutation in this gene, trpm4. >> reporter: torkamani says mutations on this gene have been known to cause a disorder called progressive familial heart block. it short circuits the heart's electrical signals, eventually causing the heart to just stop beating. >> it's that mutation that we believe is the cause of sudden death, in daniel and in other family members. >> reporter: the researchers found the same mutation in dardie, who had passed it down to daniel. and because it's an autosomal
dominant gene, there's a 50% chance she passed it down to her other children too. scripps director eric topol oversees the study. he says dardie's case illustrates how a genetic discovery in cases like this can provide valuable, even life- saving information to surviving family members. >> because this is something that is eminently preventable, with things like a defibrillator. so, whereas all these relatives through many generations had sudden death, we may be able to actually preempt this in the future. >> reporter: dardie is now considering getting a surgically implanted device to protect her heart from what happened to daniel's. she's also on a mission to get relatives on her side of the family tested for the mutation. >> daniel did something significant. he gave us answers that'll benefit not just dozens, but
potentially, down the road, hundreds of people, maybe even thousands. because i don't believe that this is just limited to my family. >> reporter: not every case scripps looks at is this clear- cut. but the researchers say certain discoveries they're making could end up preventing other sudden deaths. and they say if this new approach to autopsies becomes more common, perhaps in the future, fewer families will have to live with the pain of not knowing how their loved one is gone. for the pbs newshour, i'm david wagner in san diego. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, many schools have adopted zero-tolerance policies on bullying. but are these punishments working to reduce the problem? columnist wendy thomas russell remembers her own third grade bully and wonders if he suffered even more than she did.
all that and more is on our web site, www.pbs.org/newshour. and a reminder about some upcoming programs from our pbs colleagues. tonight on "washington week," republicans try to find unity while hillary clinton fights a two-front campaign. and the obama administration's action on transgender rights raises questions about civil rights and privacy. that's later tonight, on "washington week." and on pbs newshour weekend: as puerto rico struggles with debt and the zika virus, it's working to solve another crisis-- where to put the garbage? here's a preview. >> reporter: during the past 30 years, the environmental protection agency has ordered the closure of more than 50 landfills across the island for leakage issues contaminating groundwater and not being up to environmental standards. the landfill closures make garbage disposal even more challenging for residents along the martin pena channel. the channel was once 400 feet wide and ten feet deep, popular
for swimming and fishing. today, the waterway, clogged with garbage and sewage, has shrunk to 30 feet wide and three feet deep. it is a magnet for mosquitoes, potentially carrying the zika virus at a time when 700 people on the island have already been infected with zika. >> woodruff: that's tomorrow night, on pbs newshour weekend. and we'll be back, right here, on monday, with a look at the split between radical and moderate islam in the balkans, decades after a divisive war. that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fathom travel, offering cruises to cuba and the dominican republic. travel deep. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> bnsf railway.
>> genentech. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. >> surprisingly strong. retail sales grew at the fastest pace in more than a year so why are so many traditional stores stuck in the mud? billion-dollar bet. why apple decided to make a sizable investment in one of uber's biggest rivals. how i made my millions. no, not me. our newest series introduces you to a serial entrepreneur who made a special sponge and is now soaking up success. those stories and more tonight on "nightly business report" for friday, may 13th. good evening, welcome. a triple-digit decline on this friday the 13th. but the week filled with retail angst didn't end as it began. today we learned that retail