Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  November 30, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

3:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight, president-elect donald trump appoints senior members of his economic team. we look at who the men he wants to run the treasury and commerce departments are, and what changes they may make. >> sreenivasan: also ahead this wednesday, former secretary of state madeleine albright and former national security advisor stephen hadley are here to discuss the future of the middle east under a trump presidency. >> woodruff: and, bringing silicon valley to salinas valley. how a poor farming community in california is using technology to revive its economy. >> we believe, when it comes to a.g.-tech, if you can make it in salinas valley, you're going to be able to have a product that will be adopted globally. >> sreenivasan: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.
3:01 pm
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> ♪ love me tender ♪ love me true we can like many, but we can love only a precious few. because it is for those precious few that you have to be willing to do so very much. but you don't have to do it alone. lincoln financial helps you provide for and protect your financial future, because this is what you do for people you love. lincoln financial-- you're in charge. >> bnsf railway. >> xq institute.
3:02 pm
>> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention. in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at lemelson.org. >> 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. >> woodruff: as the picture of the cabinet president-elect trump wants is filled in, we're seeing more figures who reflect
3:03 pm
deep ties to washington or wall street. it contrasts with his campaign, during which he disparaged the power centers as corrupt and out of touch with ordinary americans. lisa desjardins has our report. >> reporter: two fronts for the transition of power today: in washington, vice president-elect mike pence worked on alliances wth republican leaders on capitol hill. as, in new york, team trump offered more cabinet nominees for congress to consider, including the highest-ranking yet: financier steven mnuchin for treasury secretary. >> i couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to work with him in the administration. and our number is going to be the economy, get back to 3%-4% growth, we believe that's very sustainable and focus on things for the american worker, that's absolutely our priority. >> reporter: mnuchin's resume is full of wall street experience, including 17 years at goldman sachs. he has no government experience.
3:04 pm
during the election, he headed up fundraising operations for the trump campaign, and had a hand in shaping candidate trump's message on taxes. if confirmed, he'd be tasked with turning that rhetoric into reality. alongside him this morning on cnbc, billionaire investor wilbur ross, who is mr. trump's pick to be the commerce secretary, and a point person on trade policy. >> the real trick is going to be, increase american exports. get rid of some of the tariff and non-tariff barriers to american exports. >> reporter: ross is known for turning around troubled companies, where he cuts costs and sometimes worker benefits, to boost profits. he also owned the sago coal mine in west virginia, where a collapse killed 12 miners in 2006. he said it was "the worst week of my entire life." mr. trump also picked out a deputy for ross: chicago cubs co-owner todd ricketts, a prominent republican donor who, at one point in the campaign, spoke out against candidate trump.
3:05 pm
mr. trump made other jobs news today, too. overnight, there was word that he had cut adeal with the air- conditioner maker carrier to keep 1,000 jobs in indiana. that is most, but not all, of the jobs the company said it would eliminate. also today, there were questions about mr. trump's own business future when he's president. on twitter, he said he would take himself "completely out of business operations," and indicated he will explain how in a news conference in two weeks. also still unknown: who'll be mr. trump's secretary of state. the president-elect met a second time with one candidate, mitt romney, last night in new york. afterwards, mr. trump's former critic had warm words. >> these discussions i've had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging. i've enjoyed them very, very much. >> reporter: all this, as green party candidate jill stein officially filed a hand-recount request in michigan-- the third
3:06 pm
of three states she pledged to verify. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: we'll have more on president-elect trump's picks, right after our news summary. >> sreenivasan: in the day's other news, the north carolina police officer who fatally shot a black man in september will not face criminal charges. the shooting of keith lamont scott, whose family at first insisted he was not armed, sparked days of protests across charlotte. today, the county prosecutor said there was evidence scott was holding a gun, and ignored repeated requests to drop it. >> the central issue is whether officer vinson was lawful in using deadly force against mr. scott. anyone is justified in using deadly force, if he reasonably believed, and in fact, believed he or someone else was in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death. >> sreenivasan: scott's family insisted today's decision will not end their inquiry. >> woodruff: the death toll from the wildfires that swept through tennessee's great smoky mountains rose to seven today. dozens of people have been injured, and more than 700 buildings were damaged or
3:07 pm
destroyed. heavy rain brought some relief today, but at points, more than 200 firefighters were still battling the flames. >> woodruff: officials are still investigating what started the fires, but they believe they were likely caused by humans. >> sreenivasan: powerful storms soaked the tinder-dry south overnight, spawning tornadoes that left five people dead. the twisters tore through northeastern alabama, damaging buildings and killing three people. across the border in southern tennessee, two others died, and dozens more were injured. some roads in the south were drenched with up to two feet of water, after two months without rain. >> woodruff: there is word today that the pilot of the plane that slammed into colombia's andes mountains told air traffic
3:08 pm
controllers that he ran out of fuel, moments before the crash. that is according to a leaked recording of the flight's final minutes. all but six of the 77 people on board died. most were members of a brazilian soccer team. >> sreenivasan: in syria, opposition activists claimed nearly 50 civilians were killed by regime forces today, as they fled rebel-held eastern aleppo. most of the victims were women and children. activists estimate more than 50,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in the past four days. >> woodruff: the director of the c.i.a. has decried president- elect donald trump's plan to scrap the nuclear deal with iran. in a bbc interview, john brennan said: "i think it would be disastrous. i think it would be the height of folly, if the next administration were to tear up that agreement." brennan argued such a move would open the door for other countries to pursue nuclear weapons. >> sreenivasan: the united nations security council slapped new sanctions on north korea today, in response to its fifth, and largest, nuclear test in
3:09 pm
september. the council unanimously approved the resolution, which will slash north korea's biggest export, coal, by at least 62%. it also bans the regime from exporting metals like copper, nickel, and silver. >> woodruff: democrats in the u.s. house of representatives re-elected california's nancy pelosi as their leader today. the congresswoman has led the party in the house since 2002. pelosi survived a challenge from ohio representative tim ryan, in a 134 to 63 vote. her win came in spite of disenchantment from some in her caucus after a disappointing showing in this month's elections. >> we have a responsibility, and we embrace the opportunity that is presented. we know how to win elections, we've done it in the past, we will do it again. >> woodruff: maryland congressman steny hoyer was also re-elected as house democratic whip. >> sreenivasan: the oil cartel opec is decreasing oil
3:10 pm
production for the first time in eight years. member nations agreed to a deal that will cut production by more than a million barrels a day, from its current daily output of over 33 million barrels. it's all part of an effort to boost lagging oil prices. >> woodruff: that news sent energy stocks soaring on wall street today, but markets ended the day mixed. the dow jones industrial average gained two points to close at 19,123. the nasdaq tumbled 56 points, and the s&p 500 slipped nearly six. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: the men who will shape trump's economic agenda; on the ground in a rapidly changing cuba; madeleine albright and stephen hadley on trump's foreign policy, and much more.
3:11 pm
>> woodruff: the president-elect began fleshing out his economic team today, by announcing his choices to run the departments of treasury and commerce. in doing so, the candidate who campaigned with a heavy dose of populism, elevated individuals mainly known for thier connections to wall street and high finance. david wessel of the brookings institution, and a contributing columnist to "the wall street journal," joins me now. and welcome back to the program. >> thank you. >> woodruff: so, david, fill out this pick cure a little bit more of who -- let's start with steve manuchin, the pick to head the treasure department. what more do we know about it? >> it's just wonderfully ironickic donald trump who railed against the elite, lambasted hillary clinton for giving paid speeches to goldman sachs, turned to a guy who was not only goldman sachs 17 years but is a son of a goldman sachs lifer and has a son at goldman
3:12 pm
sachs. it seems to be an anti-populous move to pick rich financ financr these jobs. >> woodruff: a statement was put out saying this is someone who made money at goldman sachs and bought a bank in california. tell us about that. >> some of the drnlings elizabeth warren and bernie sanders thinks anybody who worked for a bank shouldn't be the treasure secretary. other people feel having experience on wall street might be a good thing for treasure secretary. i think the reason mr. minuchin is controversial is not only he came from goldman sachs, which has been the center of criticism, but made a lot of money buying the bank in california, selling it, making a bundle and in between got grief because the bank was accused of being aggressive on
3:13 pm
foreclosures. so looked like he was a guy who profited off the financial crisis that caused so much harm elsewhere. >> woodruff: is that true? no. he profited because he bought a bank that was in trouble cheap, fixed it up and sold it. so to that extent, he made money. he comes from the mortgage business but was in the at goldman in the worst of the abuses. >> woodruff: so in terms of accusations he was aggressively pushing foreclosures. >> i don't know the detail. he's accused of that. there were a lot of protests. clearly, the bank foreclosed on a lot of people. lots of banks did that. whether his bank did more than other people, i don't know. >> woodruff: the commerce department, wilbur ross is the pick to be secretary of commerce. >> so i think commerce is interesting but much less important than treasure in general. what makes wilbur ross so important is he was close to president trump for the whole campaign. steve manuchin joined late, six
3:14 pm
months before the election, beeted on trump and won. wilbur ross has been influential in talking about and to donald trump and seems to have strong feelings as does donald trump about trade, and the commerce department does have some responsibilities for trade and tariffs which donald trump threatened to raise if our trading partners don't play ball. >> woodruff: wilbur ross, billionaire, made his money how? >> by buying companies that were in bad shape, fixing them up, laying off workers, selling them and making money, some overseas, some here. he's made a lot of money doing business in china which is kind of ironic distrump people seem to look at china as the enemy now. >> woodruff: and you say talking about trade. number two at commerce, donald trump named t named todd ricket, co-owner of the chicago cubs. >> i guess that means donald trump will get good seats at
3:15 pm
wrigley field. he went to loyola, not harvard. his money comes from trade in the finance business. he owns a bike shop. his family was very much against donald trump and then jumped on the bandwagon and got in it. these are all card carrying capitalists, from the elite of the american business community, they're not who you would have expected a populist run against the elites president to appoint. on the other hand, they do have some experience, and having somebody who knows something about business and finance in these jobs can be a plus. >> woodruff: finally, david wessel, i want to ask you about the deal president trump talked about today with the carrier corporation, the air conditioning-making company, subsidiary of united technologies. they announced months ago they were going to ship 2100 jobs out of united states to mexico from indiana. donald trump immediately during the campaign said i'm going to
3:16 pm
do something about that. >> donald trump clearly leaned on them. carrier like any company with a consumer brand and this is owned by united technologies with a lot of defense contracts didn't wanted to be cross woiz with the united states. the state of indiana clearly put money open the table, they saved a thousand jobs. ironically, in independence a naps, another company called rex nord which makes ball bearings, they're moving a plant to mexico, laying off 300 people and donald trump doesn't seem to be able to save their jobs. i think it's hugely symbolically significant. he manages to say to his constituents, i did something, i accomplished something, and i think it puts the business community on warning that this is not a conventional republican. he is going to try to muscle companies that haven't been muscled before. >> woodruff: can he go individually from company to company who's thinking of shipping jobs out of state? >> we create 180,000 jobs a
3:17 pm
month, we have 12 million people in manufacturing, this is a drop in the bucket. no, he can't do that. every company will threaten to move to new mexico and he will put money on the table to keep them? no, but i think it puts businesses on notice this president is willing to use the bully pulpit to embarrass them and, secondly, suggests he and some of his advisors may be more willing to restrict the freedom of companies to close plants and move than has been the case in the previous democratic and republican administrations. >> woodruff: david wessel, brookings institution and "wall street journal," thank you. >> you're welcome. >> sreenivasan: the ashes of the late cuban dictator fidel castro began a long procession across the island nation today, from havana to santiago, where castro declared victory in the revolution he led in 1959. his funeral will be held there
3:18 pm
sunday, ending nine days of mourning since his death last friday. newshour special correspondent nick schifrin is in havana reporting for us this week, and joins me now. let's talk about the route, nick. why is it so significant? >> the same route he took in 1959 only in reverse. it's really that trip that cemented fidel castro as an heroic figure in cuba, almost a destined savior of the company, that's the image he tried to portray. came in on a boat, descended from the mountains, won over battles and people with his speeches. tried to portray himself as a messiah for the country. along the route today, that image of him really survives. >> sreenivasan: there aren't a lot of freedoms to speak out against the government but what are people along the route saying? >> people along the route are using the same exact words, my leader, my father. even critics of fidel castro say those sentiments are genuine after so many decades of his rule. i talked to one family, three
3:19 pm
generations. the uncle used to be a castro body guard, the grandmother told me castro gave her more opportunities. an aunt told me he really -- she really -- he really believed in human rights. and a granddaughter, said the revolution, the ideal should go on and there shouldn't be drastic change in cuba even though the father of the revolution has now died. >died. >> sreenivasan: did you hear voices of disseptember? >> few and far between. one dissenter says there is no free speech and no freedom of multiple parties. what that means, hari, is that the criticism of the government remains rare and that the opposition remains fractured. i asked him whether there is any chance of change now that fidel castro is dead. he said most likely not. that's because fidel's younger brother rauúl has been running the country since 2008 as
3:20 pm
president. 2018 is the date rauúl castro promises to step down. he'll step down but remain head of the party, meaning more status quo, or it is possible, this dissident said, rauúl could step down and there could be an opposition leader who emerges. >> sreenivasan: when you talk to people on the route, they're aware you're an american. did the conversation walk into the territory of the new president-elect? >> i think there have been changes over the last few years and more americans have been here so they're more youd to us. certainly there is some fear of president-elect trump most specifically because there is mostly unanimity over the idea that rauúl castro and president obama struck in the last couple of years, a kind of detente, and they don't want president-elect trump to take that away. critics point out there have been four times as many detentions this year, already, as of all of 2010 according to
3:21 pm
the human rights and national rec uh silliation commission and they point to president trump's tweet saying he would terminate the deal unless cuba is willing to improve it. some are hoping he does that, but in general most people want the trend of the last few years if continue. >> sreenivasan: nick schifrin from havana tonight. thank you. >> thanks, hari. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: a leading republican senator on bringing a divisive congress together to work with donald trump; high-tech innovations from the "salad bowl of the world"; and, coping with parents who divorce later in life. now, we are joined by former secretary of state madeleine albright, who served in the clinton administration; and steven hadley, he was national security adviser to president george w. bush.
3:22 pm
together, they have chaired an ambitious project called the "middle east strategy task force," that has spent nearly two years looking at that troubled region's problems, and devising potential solutions. from its base at the atlantic council, a washington think tank, the task force released its final report today. and, we welcome you both back to the newshour. secretary albright to you first, ambitious, goal, doing something about the middle east. remind us what you thought you would accomplish here. >> we are looking at region we know that is very important to the united states and obviously to the world, and trying to take a much deeper look at the middle east instead of doing band aids or fire drills, and looking at what can be done to make things less dangerous, to deal with america's national interests which have to do with our friends and allies nuclear proliferation, how to deal with terrorism, and i'm very proud of what we did because we spent a
3:23 pm
lot of time looking at the local situation instead of telling them what to do and doing kind of what western powers have done for a hundred years is to get a better sounder of what's happening in the region itself. >> woodruff: steven hadley, you're calling it a new strategic approach. what's different about it than what's happening now? >> we've had a centuriy outside parties have pride to arrange things in the middle east. we've tried to listen to voices in the middle east as to their vision to have the future. we found they had a vision that their people, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, business entrepreneurs that are make change from the bottom-up and there are governments like the u.a.e. and tunisia and saudi arabia and jordan that are actually trying to move in a direction and take initiative for themselves. so the new strategic approach is let's follow the lead of
3:24 pm
governments and people in the region and have a supporting role from the outside rather than the reverse. >> woodruff: one of the first things you recommend secretary albright is a security approach to the four countries who have civil wars underway now, hot wars going on. you call among other things for a stepped-up military presence on the part of the united states. why do you think something like this can happen, given president obama's reluctance to do this over the last eight years? >> well, i think it's been evident that we can't just do things diplomatically. we do want to have a political solution to many of the issues, obviously syria. but there has to be some way to resolve the civil wars, and some of it may take additional american, not ground forces, but, in fact, greater support for the remembering groups, through special forces, maybe some standoff approach to it, working with the allies, with
3:25 pm
the coalition on some issues from the air, establishing a safe zone, and that you can't just decide, at least we thought, working with our advisors, that the united states can just turn its back on the place because the shorthand for it is there is a crisis in the middle east but it's also from the middle east that's affecting us all. >> woodruff: do you have reason to believe, steven hadley, that president-elect donald trump is going to be interested in an approach like this? given what he said on the campaign trail, that's nott all clear, is it? >> one of the things he said is we need to do more to defeat i.s.i.s. and al quaida, daish and al quaida. he was critical of the last administration, saying they had not done enough. we are expanding in recommending what to do in daish and
3:26 pm
al quaida. we believe if we step up in iraq and syria on daish and al quaida that will put limitations on what the iranians and russians can do and you may be able to move over time to the kind of political solutions we're looking for in iraq and syria. >> woodruff: do you ever reason to believe donald trump will be interested in an approach like this? >> well, we have to see, frankly. i can my own view is he is the president-elect, and i think that, as he sees what the issues are, i am hopeful that he will understand the value of this approach, which is that we can't -- i mean, frankly, the suggestion that have been made during the campaign don't make much sense because it's either having nothing to do with them or bombing them to -- he used an unspeakable word -- but that's not consistent, and, therefore, what we're advocating is we
3:27 pm
can't turn our back on the middle east, that that is not good for american national interest, and that one does have to deal with daish, but also to try to deal with the civil problems that are there, especially in syria, given what assad is doing to his own people. so my hope, i have to say, is it's an effort. i'm proud to have been be able to work with steve hadley on this. i think we've taken a rational approach to a very difficult problem. >> woodruff: you also call steve hadley for unleach -- unleashing the potential hand in hand with security measures. these are the things, engaging, education, the youth of the region, these are things that call for money and frankly different religious and cultural changes, don't they? >> i don't think they call for a lot of money, and it's one of the things that i think we are
3:28 pm
proud of this report, because when you talk in washington about the middle east, it's all about iraq and syria and iran. what we've found is there are positive things going on, activity at the local level, government policies that are moving in the right direction of empowering their people, of getting rid of regulations that are in the way of the kind of entrepreneurial activity we're seeing. there is good news there and something we can work with to try to get a more peaceful and stable middle east. >> woodruff: is there receptivity in these countries? you're talking about the countries working together which they haven't been able to do. we notice there are different levels of receptivity. i think many of the countries' leaders know they have problems and they need to deal with the growing youth population, that the youth is actually an asset instead of a problem, and that there is money in the region and
3:29 pm
that they can help each other, and one of the other things that i think we also made a point about is that new institutions will make a difference. particlparliaments. we've spento a lot of time on this and a lot might seem too idealistic. there needs to be humanity in dealing with this. >> woodruff: on the part of the americans? >> yes, absolutely. in terms of knowing how difficult it is, and deciding to take kind of a step-by-step approach. it's a road map, really, and it involves using what is going on in those countries. obviously the leadership, but civil society. their young people, women, and really seeing their resources as being their own populations instead of kind of complaining that the outside world is telling them what to do, knowing if they take steps forward, the outsiders will help. >> woodruff: in 20 seconds, steve hadley, what happens next?
3:30 pm
how do you advance these ideas? >> well, we are going to take this on the road, if you will. we want to talk to the new administration, we want to talk to the congress. we'll talk to the administration in power. what we hope, though, is this will actually provoke a conversation in the region about what the region needs to be doing to lay a foundation for a more hopeful future. >> woodruff: thanks for talking to us and we'll want to talk to you as you take the next steps. see where it goes. steven hadley, madeleine albright. >> thank you for your interest, judy. it's very important. >> woodruff: thank you. thank you. nice to be with you. >> sreenivasan: for more on the latest cabinet nominations, their potential conflicts of interest and the republican party's priorities under a president trump, i'm joined by the #3 senate republican, senator john thune.
3:31 pm
thank you for joining us. quick order of business. when the senate goes into the confirmation process for the new commerce secretary wilbur ross, will the senate ask mr. ross to put all his assets into a blind trust and perhaps step off the board of the world's largest steel company? >> good evening, hari. obviously the commerce committee i chair will be processing his paperwork and the confirmation of the next commerce secretary and the d.o.t. and a few others. we obviously will look at his battleground and have those discussions as we drill down and ask the questions not only prior to but at the confirmation hearing about what his intentions are with respect to his business dealings and as has been the case with most cabinet secretaries, they find a way to insulate themselves from their business world and to focus on the jobs at hand. >> sreenivasan: as you know the international trade administration which sits under commerce sets the tariff policies to make sure companies aren't dumping products on theo
3:32 pm
our soil. if he still has stakes in the companies, the person, couldn't he profit personally from the policies he as commerce secretary can set? >> those are questions we will look at and he will have to answer before our committee. penny pritzker, current secretary of commerce, she went through the confirmation process. we asked a lot of questions and she ended up taking steps with respect to her business to make share there wouldn't be those types of conflicts of interest and i would expect the same thing to happen. >> sreenivasan: mr. ross indicated a fairly national trade policy that lines with the president-elect. wants to withdraw from the trans-pacific trade, and withdraw from and a half at that, what kind of impact would that have on your state and other states like it? >> well, i'm certainly not somebody who is a fan of those
3:33 pm
types of measures. obviously, i think we have to be engaged in the global marketplace, representing an agriculture state that's very dependent upon exports, i want us to have robust trading relationships where we can interact with other countries around the world and get access to that marketplace. now, how the new administration decides to do it remains to be seen. they talked about undoing t.t.p. and staging in a number of bilateral trade agreements. i think it's important to be enghaidged the global market, not only for economic reasons, trade, vitality of our economy in places like the midwests but also national security reasons. we need to be engaged in these places in the world on an economic basis because it leads to so many other issues where we have issues and concerns in some of these regions. >> sreenivasan: you are part of the congressional leadership, you all run the board so to speak, you have the senate, the
3:34 pm
house, what are the legislative priorities that we can expect quick action on? >> i think one thing we will be most focused on early observe is the economy. what can we do to get the growth rate back up to 3% to 4%. this is the first administration where we haven't had a year which economic growth didn't exceed 6%. 62% of the americans this year said the country is on the wrong track and 52% said the economy is the number one issue. we'll look at things to unleash the economy, dealing with a regulatory burden that's making it more difficult to create jobs, repealing obamacare, tax reform, looks at what we can do to unleash our economy and get the growth rate back up, those are the things you will see reform on right away. >> woodruff: any reform on
3:35 pm
social security benefits, medicare? >> it wasn't something the president-elect at least early on articulated as something he wanted to accomplish, but i think we all recognize that if you look at the actuarial balances of some of the programs, social security for example, we have to make them sustainable for future generations and with we need to take steps to strengthen them today. the sooner the better. i mentioned early on this new coming president has an agenda. we look forward to working with him. i hope we engage on the issue of entitlement reform at some point in a way that preserves those programs not just for people who depend upon them today but for future generations as well. >> sreenivasan: senator john thune, thank you so much. >> thanks, hari.
3:36 pm
>> woodruff: california's salinas valley is often called the "salad bowl of the world." roughly 70% of the nation's lettuce crop is grown there, along with plenty of other produce. special correspondent cat wise traveled to the region to take a look at some high tech innovations being used to improve production. her story is part of our weekly series covering the "leading edge" of science and technology. >> reporter: as the sun rose over the fertile land of salinas valley, california, one recent morning, a group of farm workers waited to sign in for their shift. not on paper, as they normally do, but on an ipad, where an app has their name and job assignments already programmed in. they are using "heavy connect," a new mobile communication app designed to help farm managers keep better track of equipment and personnel. and the team that developed it were out bright and early to check in one of their newest customers, farm manager sam brigantino, who works for a large grower called tanimura &
3:37 pm
antle. co-founder jessica gonzalez walked him through a new update. >> they see the times they worked, and if they had any breaks or meals, it would be in there. the jobs they did, here, the legal statement. >> i like the pull downs much better on this one. >> basically, the functionality and flow are all the same. it's just an update to the u.i. >> reporter: an app's u.i., or user interface, is not a typical topic of conversation on most farms. but scenes like this are becoming more common throughout salinas. that's because there's a effort underway, by many in the community, to make this valley a bit more like a certain, high-tech valley to the north. a very visible sign of that effort is this new silicon valley-esque office space. it's an incubator for ag-focused startups that opened last december in downtown salinas. and it's where heavy connect and a number of other small companies are now coding away, hoping to break into the $50 billion-a-year fresh produce industry.
3:38 pm
and that's just in california. >> we believe when it comes to ag-tech, if you can make it in salinas valley, you're going to be able to have a product that will be adopted globally. >> reporter: heavy connect co-founder patrick zelaya is a former john deere sales manager who has spent a lot of time with farmers. he says he started the company because he saw big need for a product that would help farmers get back something they have very little of: time. >> in large scale farming, the job is 14 hours a day, six days a week. what's not commonly known is that farmers spend more time on the administration, managing the operation, than they do farming. so, heavy connect provides farmers the ability to know what's going on in their farm, operationally, without having to be there. >> reporter: other companies here are working on a host of new products for soil testing, food safety, and crop monitoring. and on the day we visited, water was the focus. >> good afternoon and welcome to western growers association for innovation and technology tech talk, with our guest, swimm system. >> thank you, lisa.
3:39 pm
>> reporter: kevin france is heading up a company that aims to help farmers monitor and manage their water usage. water management is a hot area for innovation, given california's ongoing drought. >> so what is swimm? we are your on-farm water accountant. we are like the quickbooks for ag water. >> reporter: dave puglia is an executive with the western growers association, a large trade group which is funding, and running, the new center. he says farmers want these innovations to succeed as much as the developers do. >> farmers have been innovative from the dawn of time, but our own members recognized that the collision of forces that are impacting their ability to stay in business-- the regulatory pressures, the resource pressure, we have less water available, we have less of a workforce available to us. so this center is designed to bring the best of silicon valley, the best minds in technology and innovation, closer to the best farmers in the world, and speed the innovation that can solve those problems. >> reporter: the scenic salinas
3:40 pm
valley is less than an hour's drive south of silicon valley, the innovation hub of the country. but in many ways, the two areas could not be more different. unlike the high income, mostly white and asian population of silicon valley, salinas valley is about 75% hispanic. many here work in the fields or packaging plants, jobs that are often hourly and low-paying. there are pockets of extreme poverty, high crime, and poorly performing schools. and for the area's many young people, there are few economic opportunities. >> there aren't the jobs yet for them. but we want to create that opportunity. >> reporter: ray corpuz is the city manager of salinas. he and other community leaders are very supportive of the new focus on technology, but he wants more of it to be home grown. >> we're looking for our citizens, our community, the people that live here to actually run the machines, provide the new applications, to make technological innovations. so we have to have a skilled workforce.
3:41 pm
>> reporter: that future, tech- savvy workforce, is now being developed in this classroom. >> binary search, remember, is that searching algorithm. >> reporter: these college students are enrolled in a new, unique program. they will be earning a computer science degree in just three years. half of that time is spent at the salinas community college, called hartnell college, and they finish up at a nearby state university, c.s.u. monterey bay. the highly competitive program is called "c.s. in 3," and students ad classes year- round. many in the program are the first in their families to attend college, and thanks to a local, well-known grower who has established a large scholarship, their tuition is paid for. >> only 6% of the computer industry is women, only 3% are hispanic. our classrooms? majority hispanic. at least 50% of our students are women. >> reporter: zahi atallah is a dean of academic affairs at
3:42 pm
hartnell. he says that while there is a big push to get more students into higher-paying tech jobs, the school is also trying to encourage local youth to pursue other good-paying careers, like welding, and farm equipment maintenance. but regardless of what they end up doing, atallah says the students' understanding of this community, and the overall ag business, will be a big benefit. >> many of those students are the farm workers themselves, or kids of farm workers. imagine what they're bringing to the table, having the background of farming, having lived it themselves. because they can create and innovate faster and more effectively. >> reporter: one of those using her past experiences in her career is heavy connect's rivka garcia. garcia was born and raised in salinas, and she worked in a produce processing plant, before graduating earlier year from the "c.s. in 3" program. she's now using all her skills, including coding, to help make the company's app more intuitive
3:43 pm
for those who will be using it. >> i work with a lot of people that didn't understand how to use technology. and creating an app that is easy to use, that won't confuse them and will get the job done, and will be really similar to what they do on paper, but is more efficient, is, i think, a big thing i bring to the table. >> reporter: the heavy connect team is now working on a new app feature that will allow farmers to monitor their equipment using bluetooth sensors, and garcia is leading that project. for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in salinas, california. >> woodruff: and cat's report is also part of our breakthroughs coverage of invention and innovation. >> sreenivasan: we'll be back in a moment, with a look at the challenges of facing divorced parents as an adult. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. it's a chance to offer your support, which helps keep
3:44 pm
programs like ours on the air. >> woodruff: once again this year, denmark tops a united nations poll as the happiest nation on earth. but is this really true? from copenhagen, special correspondent malcolm brabant has our encore report. >> reporter: a happy accident of geography: being born in a country whose safety net offers protection from cradle to grave. >> on a day like this, it's obvious we are gathered with our friends and family to celebrate this little baby, so it's a wonderful day. and in the bigger picture, we live in a great society with a health care system and free education. >> reporter: christening their daughter kaya, attorney sarah egeskov and her partner, claes, hope their state of bliss will
3:45 pm
leap a generation. >> we try to give her some of the same values that we have today, and hope for her that she will have the same freedom of speech and freedom of beliefs. >> and a safe childhood. >> yes. >> i don't think we thought about anything evil or threatening through our childhoods, and i hope we can give the same to our daughters. >> reporter: pastor pernille oestrem's church is in copenhagen's most racially diverse district. she worries that some of her immigrant parishioners do not enjoy the same level of happiness as ethnic danes, and she regards it as her mission to try to spread the joy. >> we don't have any wars and the crime is low. and we can let our children walk to school in the morning by themselves when they're quite young. we don't have to drive them because of drive-by shootings or something like that. that means a lot, that we think we're going to be 90 and have
3:46 pm
great-great-great-grandchildren. >> reporter: danes pay more income tax than any other nationality, earn over $55,000, and the tax rate hits more than 60%, but, according to happiness expert meik wiking, danes don't mind. >> just take free access to health care, free access to university education, quite generous benefits if you lose your job. just those three things mean that a lot of people around the world, if they don't have access to them, will experience unhappiness. and since the welfare state takes care of that, we increase the bottom. >> reporter: what about the high levels of taxes that people have to pay? >> well it's true, it's really high levels. but i think what's more interesting is that the really high level of support for the for high taxes. if you ask danes, "are you happily paying your taxes," nine out of ten will say yes. >> reporter: it's just after 2:00 in the afternoon and some of copenhagen's bicycling commuters are already heading home. the average dane only works a 35-hour week, and enjoys five weeks annual paid leave, on top
3:47 pm
of public holidays, not to mention generous maternity and paternity leave. according to yet another survey, it has the best work-life balance in the developed world, which is a source of pride for union leader nana hojlund. >> work-life balance means a lot to the danish people when it comes to happiness, because it's a way that you can both have a really good job, and you can spend hours on your job, and you can also have a family. >> reporter: not everyone swallows the concept of perfect little denmark. british author michael booth has lived here for 15 years, and his book debunking the scandinavian myths is a bestseller. >> i know the institutes and the researchers like to use that word because it grabs headlines around the world. i don't think the danes are happy. i think they're more satisfied. they're a pretty somber, dour people. they complain quite a lot. but when you ask them, "are you happy," what they really mean is, "well, we're content. things function here. it's safe. we have a safety net. we don't worry that much."
3:48 pm
and the difference between the rich and the poor means that you don't have this kind of society of envy that you might have elsewhere in the world. >> reporter: according to the united nations, burundi is the unhappiest country on the planet, followed closely by syria. the united states is 13th in the happiness league, just behind israel and austria. now, according to bernie sanders, the u.s. would be a much better place if it emulated cycle-crazy denmark. but the center-right danish prime minister has rejected suggestions that this is some sort of socialist utopia, but he's happy that denmark's welfare system is being looked at as something to aim for. according to danish experts, scandinavians have a genetic predisposition towards happiness. americans with scandinavian heritage share those particular traits. could the danish model be transported across the atlantic if the u.s. chose to change the guard? >> the same things that drive
3:49 pm
happiness in scandinavia are the same things that drive happiness in the u.s. so i think there are some things we could export. >> reporter: so what would you have to export? >> i think what i would do, would be to focus on the bottom half of the population, to increase the bottom by installing a welfare system inspired by the nordic countries. >> reporter: one uniquely- scandinavian social phenomenon that would be difficult to export is what's called the jantelov, an unwritten code of conformity that decries displays of ostentation or wealth, and people who try to rise above their allotted station in life. >> how does that sit with americans and the american dream? not so well. there's no simple template that could be imposed on america. it doesn't take much to make a happy dane. light a fire, light some candles, open a bottle of red wine, and you have got a happy dane. i think americans are a little more demanding when it comes to their happiness. it's enshrined, you know, in the constitution. they're entitled to it. but they have much bigger ideas of what constitutes happiness. so, can you take it? will americans pay 56% income
3:50 pm
tax? i doubt it. >> reporter: pastor pernille oestrem believes a lack of realism enables the danes to be so upbeat. but she is acutely aware that, along with the rest of europe, denmark is a potential target for islamic state. so how does she manage to maintain happiness in a time of terror? >> maybe the children that i baptize during this time are actually inheriting a society that looks a lot like the society when i was young. there was a nuclear scare. i didn't know if tomorrow was going to come, but we still went out to play and had our fights and got home to have dinner. >> reporter: so, there's the perfect advice. keep calm and carry on. it's just easier if you're danish. it's in their genes. for the "pbs newshour," i'm malcolm brabant in copenhagen.
3:51 pm
>> sreenivasan: finally, many families struggle with divorce. tonight, writer carmen machado shares her perspective as one whose parents seperated when she was an adult. we are re-launching our "essay" series, as "i.m.h.o.: in my humble opinion." >> two years ago, when i moved home to the east coast, my parents announced to me and my brother and sister that they were getting divorced, after 31 years of marriage. i was both surprised and not surprised: my parents had many fraught, fragile years under their belts, but they'd seemed to weather them. it'd been bad, but i'd assumed they're survived the worst of it, that their lives would mellow now that their kids were grown. i have many friends with divorced parents, but all of them had experienced the process as children and adolescents. after my own parents told me the news, i learned that instead of being an anomaly, they're the new norm: so-called "late-life divorce" is increasingly common.
3:52 pm
one recent study showed that since 1990, the divorce rate for people over fifty has doubled. in a way, it was simpler. yes, there were assets to divide, but my siblings and i were grown, so there was no discussion of custody, no decision about living one place or another, no shuttling back and forth between houses. and i was happy for them, in a way: they could now independently live the lives they couldn't live together. my parents announced their divorce right before my fiancée and i got engaged. she asked me if i wanted to put off the engagement, just until the dust settled. my initial reaction was forceful. i told her no-- i just wanted to move on. my parent's problems were not mine. but then i found myself overwhelmed with anxiety. it wasn't that i suddenly had large, cosmic doubts about love; rather, i worried that my parents' divorce was some kind of harbinger. a bad example that i, genetically yoked to them as i was, would be forced to follow. it took a few months to figure out that the answer was
3:53 pm
somewhere in between. i realized i'd been given a gift, that my adult self had a perspective that my teenage self would have never been able to conjure: you have to have models of successes and failures to try and make something work. i saw that my fiancée and i needed to create something with the mistakes of my parents in mind, not pretend that their problems didn't exist. and then we needed to forge our way forward, together, with all of the data in hand. next year, i will get married. the year after that, i'll be older than my parent's marriage ever was. i don't know yet whether or not mine will outlive theirs. but i hope that it will. because as best as we possibly can, my fiancée and i are building it that way. >> woodruff: the house of representatives voted to pass a 6.3 bipartisan healthcare bill includes funding for the food and drug administration and national institutes of health as well as a is .8 dollars billion
3:54 pm
for vice president biden's cancer moon shot initiative. the senate is expected to debate the bill next week. online tonight, from the brexit to the u.s. election, globalization seems to be in reverse gear around the world. what forces are at work, and what comes next? plus, trump's advisors on space policy argue, we should abandon nasa's earth-science satellites and focus instead on deep space. all that and more, at www.pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: tonight on "charlie rose," actress amy adams on her newest films: "arrival" and "nocturnal animals." and that's the newshour for tonight. on thursday, we'll take a look at live-saving efforts by two american volunteers on the front lines of the battle for mosul. i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
3:55 pm
♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> xq institute. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the wellbeing of humanity around the world, by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at www.rockefellerfoundation.org.
3:56 pm
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
>> this is bbc "world news america." >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation. newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good. kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island witwa

51 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on