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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 9, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, a deal, perhaps, derailed-- the white house hands congress hardline immigration demands, including funding the border wall, in exchange for protecting so-called "dreamers." then, the downfall of a movie mogul. harvey weinstein is fired from his own company after damning reports of sexual misconduct allegations spanning decades. and, curbing opioid prescriptions for chronic pain. we continue our 'america addicted' series with a look at how doctors are trying alternative methods for daily sufferers. >> pain is very subjective. and i can't sit here and tell you you're not in pain. my job is to help alleviate that pain. the key is to understanding that all roads don't lead to an
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opioid. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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>> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> 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. >> woodruff: the head of the environmental protection agency confirmed it today: he's ending president obama's "clean power plan" that limited carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. scott pruitt announced he will
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sign a new order tomorrow. and, he declared: "the war on coal is over." more than a dozen wildfires swept across northern california's wine country today. officials estimated 1500 homes and other buildings were destroyed, and 20,000 people forced to evacuate. one person died in a fire farther north. most of the fires started overnight, and daylight illuminated the burned ruins of homes across the napa and sonoma valleys. some people said they'd had to run for their lives. >> i drew my blinds and i just saw flames all up on the hill behind my house. so of course i panicked-- i'm still shaking-- went out and they were all screaming "fire, fire, fire, get out, get out." >> and as we were leaving the flames were kissing the tops of the hillside in back of us and we got the news a couple of hours later that it was burning.
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>> woodruff: governor jerry brown today declared emergencies in napa, sonoma and yuba counties. heavy rain and gusty wind followed the remains of hurricane "nate" across the east coast today. the storm quickly weakened after making landfall in louisiana and mississippi over the weekend. it still triggered flooding and widespread power outages, but much of the power was quickly restored. meanwhile, tropical storm "ophelia" formed today, far out in the atlantic. the governor of puerto rico, ricardo rossello, says he's ordering an investigation into distribution of supplies since hurricane "maria". rossello says food and water is being sent to hard-hit towns, but people aren't receiving the supplies. he told cnn there will be, "hell to pay" for those who mismanage the aid. two more deaths are now linked to a nursing home that lost air conditioning during hurricane "irma".
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police in hollywood, florida, say a pair of women, one, 90 years old; the other, 95, have died. they'd been found in the overheated facility, days after the storm. a criminal investigation is proceeding. a new surge of rohingya refugees crossed into bangladesh today. they said they had been set upon by buddhist mobs and government soldiers in myanmar. drone footage showed the sprawling camps in bangladesh, where more than half a million people have fled. one boat of refugees capsized last night, killing at least 12. >> ( translated ): there were seven of us-- my three kids, wife, my father-in-law, my old mother and me. among them, i survived alone. we all faced so much difficulty for food and survival, they killed people and burnt down the villages, houses. we came here to save our lives. >> woodruff: myanmar's government has rejected the charges of ethnic cleansing,
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claiming a group of rohingya militants is causing the violence. google says it's investigating, after reports that russian operatives placed thousands of dollars in advertisements during the 2016 election. "the washington post" says the disinformation campaign exploited youtube, google search, g-mail, and other google products. facebook and twitter have reported russian meddling took place on their platforms. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average lost 12 points to close at 22,761. the nasdaq fell 10, and the s&p 500 slipped four. and, hall of fame pro quarterback y.a. tittle passed away last night near his home in northern california. tittle played 17 seasons and was most valuable player with the new york giants in 1963. the next year, an iconic photo captured him kneeling in pain,
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blood dripping from his head in his final season. y.a. tittle was 90 years old. still to come on the newshour: president trump lays out his terms for an immigration crackdown. years of accusations of sexual harassment-- the fall of hollywood mogul harvey weinstein. treating chronic pain without opioids, and much more. >> woodruff: the partisan divide over immigration appeared to narrow after president trump stunned republicans by reaching a deal to protect so-called "dreamers" with democratic leaders. but that agreement may be in jeopardy now that the white house has issued its demands. john yang begins our coverage. >> yang: at the time, it was hailed as a triumph of bipartisanship.
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>> it was a very, very positive step for the president to commit to daca protections without insisting on the inclusion of or even a debate about the border wall. >> yang: over chinese food at te white house last month, president trump and democratic leaders chuck schumer and nancy pelosi reached what both sides said was the framework for a possible deal: protect young people illegally brought to the united states as children, the so-called "dreamers," in exchange for a package of border security measures. it came just days after mr. but the deal's future is uncertain after the administration unveiled a long list of hard-line immigration demands. at the top of the list: the signature campaign promise that is a nonstarter for democrats and some border state republicans: >> a trump administration will
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also secure and defend the borders of the u.s. and yes, we will build a great great wall. >> yang: among the other demands: strengthening enforcement of immigration laws; barring people from bringing extended families to the united states and basing permanent residence status on immigrants' skills. whether the items are absolute requirements or an opening bargaining position, they would represent a major tightening of immigration laws. the list drew an immediate rebuke from schumer and pelosi. in a joint statement, they said: "if the president was serious about protecting the dreamers, his staff has not made a good faith effort to do so." both mr. trump and democratic leaders are under growing pressure over immigration from their respective bases. last month, congressman steve king of iowa, one of the republican's biggest immigration hawks, slammed talk of a bipartisan deal that would not include a border wall:
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if true, the "trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. no promise is credible." at a pelosi town hall meeting in san francisco last month, a group of young immigrants protested any deal that would link protecting dreamers with increased border security. before the administration's announcement, there had been signs of possible compromise: senate judiciary committee chairman chuck grassley at a hearing last week. >> any potential deal on daca has to include robust border security, and by that, i don't mean a wall. of course, tactical infrastructure like fencing is a part of the answer, but border security is more than that. >> yang: now, the president's immigration wish list lies in congress' hands with five months to go before daca recipients begin losing their protections. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang. >> woodruff: here to breakdown the road ahead for immigration
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reform on capitol hill is our very own lisa desjardins. lisa, you spent today talking to your sources in congress. how are they interpreting this? >> interesting enough, judy, there are members of both parties who told me the same thing today. they interpret what the president said last night as the open soift what they heard from him last month. so what do you do? i heard from republicans who are trying to be positive, who want to repair the daca situation. they say they do think this is a negotiating position only, they think it might be an attempt by the president to move the debate to the right, they felt the democrats may have had an upper hand. others said we think this president in the end will sign anything we can pass. as for democrats, they say they're taking it seriously and site as undermining the deal they had with him last month. one member of congress said he is frustrated by how this happened and that it undermines
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other things like tax reform if the president will drop demands like this so suddenly. >> woodruff: given that, what are the prospects that the principles that the president's laid out can actually become law? >> at this point, there's no chance full funding of the border wall will pass in this congress. we know right now, there's not a single republican who represents the border who supports full funding. there are those in congress who you heard senator grassley refer to who would fund partial building of the wall. but for the most part, border security is about broader infrastructure and technology and more border agents. >> woodruff: the other thing we're hearing from the president and all of this is he not only just wants to go after daca illegal or undocumented immigrants, but he's talking about going after legal immigration. what's the reaction there? >> to me that was such an important part of what we saw last night. this is a debate over the identity of america, what should our identity be going forward? here the president was taking a very firm side with some like
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his advisor stephen miller who believe we should limit legal immigration very seriously. in congress, that is not the ma goiter opinion now. however, talking to sources today, they feel there is moment imin that direction and the president might be feeling that is something to watch very carefully in the next few months to see if that happens. >> woodruff: why do your source thinks that's the case is this. >> from the move from the right, that there's an outcry from the right and we have a moment in history we're at historic highs where we have people in this country who are first-time immigrants as part of the population. we see this against the backdrop of this conversation. > >> woodruff: lisa desjardins, reporting from congress, thank you very much. appreciate it.
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>> woodruff: now, the unraveling of a hollywood mogul. harvey weinstein has been ousted from his perch atop a major movie company over numerous allegations of sexual harrassment. william brangham has the story. >> well, i worked for 25 years here. >> brangham: one of the most powerful men in hollywood, harvey weinstein, has been fired from the influential film company he founded. he was out just three days after this bombshell report in the "new york times" detailed three decades of sexual harassment allegations against him from scores of women who worked with or for his company among those going public: actresses like rose mcgowan and ashley judd, both of whom detailed unwanted sexual ncvaes and harassing behavior. the times reported that weinstein has reached private settlements with at least eight different accusers over the years. >> i was so shocked i could not believe what i was witnessing.
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>> brangham: this morning, journalist lauren sivan went on megyn kelly's show alleging that weinstein cornered her a decade ago and performed an obscene sexual act in front of her. >> more than the disgusting act which was gross it was the demeaning part of it all just 20 minutes earlier we were having this great conversation. >> brangham: his first company, miramax, founded by weinstein and his brother bob, was a groundbreaking force in movies in the 1990s: churning out independent hits like "pulp fiction," "shakeaspeare in love" and "good will hunting." weinstein was a star-maker in hollywood, launching the careers of directors like quentin tarantino and actors like gwenyth paltrow, matt damon and
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ben affleck. even meryl streep joked about weinstein's outsized power in her 2012 golden globe acceptance speech. >> i just want to thank my agent kevin euban and god. harvey weinstein. the punisher. old testament i guess. >> brangham: today, streep released a statement to huffington post saying, "the disgraceful news about harvey weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported... one thing can be clarified. not everybody knew. " besides streep, however many of weinstein's longtime collaborators have thus far remained silent on the allegations. but younger stars like writer and director lena dunham have spoken out, asking why it took so long for this story to break when many in hollywood allegedly
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knew of his behavior all along. in a tweet, dunham wrote: "easy to think weinstein company took swift action but this has actually been the slowest action because they always knew." even president trump, who's rejected accusations of his own sexual harassment, did not seem shocked at the allegations against weinstein. >> i've known harvey weinstein for a long time. i'm not at all surprised to see it. >> brangham: in a statement to the "new york times" last week, weinstein apologized for the pain his past behavior has caused. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: president trump's latest feud with tennessee republican bob corker. the nobel prize winner who made economics more human. and the artistic value of
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controversial monuments. but first, we continue with our "america addicted" series looking at the opioid epidemic. roughly 100 million americans suffer from chronic pain. and most health officials agree that legal painkillers- prescribed by doctors and filled by pharmacies-triggered a tidal wave of addiction throughout the u.s. recent guidelines from the centers for disease control and prevention urge doctors to avoid or dramatically limit these prescriptions in most cases. special correspondent cat wise has our report from orange county. >> let's go to the park. >> reporter: in many ways amy crain's story has followed the same path as hundreds of thousands of other chronic pain sufferers caught up in the opioid epidemic. there was the accident, in her case, getting slammed in the family car.
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the hospitalization and surgeries that saved her from paralysis. >> ready? one, two, three, jump. >> reporter: and a resulting dependency on prescription painkillers-- oxycontin, methadone, and norco-- that had left her foggy and barely functional. >> i couldn't lift my daughter, couldn't care for her. >> reporter: but then crane's story took a dramatic turn that has led her on a very different path thanks to this doctor and a new effort by one of the country's largest health care providers to tackle this national emergency. dr. anh quan nguyen is a kaiser permanente pain specialist who has been prescribing crain and other patients alternative therapies, all covered by kaiser's insurance plan. including needles in the back carefully placed by an acupuncturist. mindfulness at the clinic. yoga training which she often
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practices in a local park. and, perhaps most importantly, she's been prescribed fewer and fewer pain pills. in fact, crain is now taking just a small percentage of the meds she was once on, a result at first she didn't think was possible. >> how am i going to do this? how am i going to, you know, get to clean my house? how am i going to you know, get up in the mornings? and it was terrifying. but, it wasn't as hard as i thought it was with the other tools. >> reporter: she knew the stakes were high. 33,000 people in the united states died in 2015 from opioid overdoses, and early estimates from last year indicate that the numbers have increased significantly. as communities and health care providers around the country seek solutions, some are turning here, to southern california, where kaiser permanente's program has led to a big dropoff in opioid prescriptions. >> we have seen between 2010 and
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2015 a reduction of more than 80% in the use of oxycontin, the long-acting opioid. >> reporter: 80%? >> 80%. >> reporter: dr. ed ellison is the executive medical director for the southern california permanente medical group. >> across the program, we've seen more than a 30% reduction in opioid prescribing. so we're seeing significant movements being made. >> reporter: ellison says getting those reductions wasn't easy, a sign that far too many of the drugs were being prescribed in the first place. in fact, in 2009, when a small group of kaiser leaders gathered in pasadena to look at recent prescription numbers, they were stunned. they expected to see diabetes and hypertension medications top the list. >> and instead, what we saw was, basically, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxycontin, fentanyl, methadone. >> reporter: dr. steven steinberg is the lead physician for the medical group's controlled substance task force. >> and we saw these just, massive numbers of
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prescriptions, massive numbers of refills and not just that, huge numbers at one time. people were getting 800 or 1,000 pills at a time! >> reporter: kaiser permanente may have been among the first to spot the problem, but its numbers reflected a deep national trend. billions of pills have been prescribed over the past two decades, addictions and overdoses have surged, both for prescription painkillers and a growing number of people turning to illegal opioids like heroin. so in 2010, kaiser decided the new approach for patients like crain, and their doctors, was needed. they called it "the safe and appropriate opioid prescribing program." >> pain is very subjective. and i can't sit here and tell you you're not in pain. my job is to help alleviate that pain. the key is to understanding that all roads don't lead to an opioid. >> reporter: it started with data assembled from the organization's nearly 12 million members and 21,000 physicians.
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doctors were given reports of their prescription habits, and their patients' histories with pain killers. and kaiser permanente's computer system was re-programmed to make it harder for physicians to prescribe certain high-risk opioids or dangerous combinations. >> type in oxycontin. you cannot proceed without answering various questions: are there any other drugs that you tried first that are safer? are you aware this is a dangerous drug? and what we found is, people do change their behavior when they it's one thing when they know it, and one thing when they have to commit it to print. >> reporter: pharmacists have been trained to spot high-risk activity-- duplicate prescriptions, excessive quantities or early refills-- and to contact the prescriber or a supervisor to discuss their concerns. >> and on a scale of 10 to 0, where would you put your pain right now? it was eight? >> reporter: in emergency departments, where it was once the norm for patients to be handed scripts for 30 to 50 pain pills, patients have been put on notice that the rules have
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changed. >> we have posters in every room, we have handouts we give out to our patients where we don't give out prescriptions for more than a three days' supply. we don't refill lost or stolen prescriptions. all those guidelines are made clear to every patient when they walk in. >> when i review the chart, what i'm seeing. >> reporter: dr. nguyen and his colleagues have regular training sessions on opioids and meetings to discuss difficult cases. but they still worry about creating ¡opioid refugees,' pain patients who turn to street drugs like heroin when their medications are yanked away quickly. that's a sensitive subject for crain and many other patients. >> i resent it when doctors treat us like we're some kind of drug addicts, because i, i didn't put myself in this situation. >> reporter: dr. nguyen says one of the first steps, with all his patients, is to build trust. and so he's developed what he calls, "the difficult pain conversation." >> first thing i'll tell
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patients is, 'i know you have pain. i believe you. i'm going to examine you today, and figure out what i can do for you.' after the examination, i say, 'look. i happen to notice that you're on these medications, and i really want to have an open conversation with you about the dangers of these medications. can we have this conversation?' >> reporter: george teter has had that difficult pain conversation with dr. nguyen. teter found himself on high levels of prescription fentanyl and other opioids after two surgeries on his elbow. >> i'd have to kind of schedule around, like, make sure i wasn't doing any driving or anything like that. >> reporter: nguyen's slow and steady regimen of reducing his opioid intake made him feel more like his old self. teter's off fentanyl completely now and has cut his other opioid pain med by about 75%. these days when his pain surges at work he finds relief by meditating at an office park fountain. he says the process wasn't
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always easy, but he credits dr. nguyen's careful approach with saving his life. >> he told me one thing that really stuck in my head, that the pain will never kill you. >> but if you keep these medications up, it will kill you. these medications tell you to go to bed at night.¡ stop breathing. stop breathing.' and eventually your brain listens to it, and then you don't wake up in the morning. so it's not a painful way to die. it's just very sad. >> reporter: but some doctors say the nationwide crackdown on pain pills has gone much too far. in west covina, california, just outside l.a., pain specialist dr. forest tennant says patients are now flying in to see him from all over the country, like gary snook of montana. tennent says small fraction of pain patients, about 3 to 5 %, have rare chronic conditions, like snook, and need high doses of opioids to function but can't get them elsewhere.
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>> there's no question about it. the pendulum has swung too far. >> reporter: after reviewing details on kaiser permanente's program, tennant had some praise for its depth and general approach. but he said there's still a very good chance that the type of patients he sees most frequently would be left behind. >> it takes a lot of work to treat these people. it takes a special clinic, special time, and i hate to say it, but i'm afraid a lot of parties just don't want to treat these folks. >> reporter: but for chronic pain patient amy crain, kaiser's program, she says, was exactly what she needed when others might have written her off. and it's helped her learn to cope. >> you just kind of acknowledge the pain.¡ okay, you're there. i'm working with you today!' >> reporter: she now marks progress in the simple things-- rides on the swing and trips down the slide and in the laughter that makes her feel like she's gotten her life back. for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in anaheim, california. >> woodruff: and online, you can find all of the stories in our "america addicted" series.
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just go to >> woodruff: president trump engaged in yet another social media feud over the weekend- this time with a leading member of his own party. bob corker may now be a retiring republican senator from tennessee, but his criticism of president trump is ramping up. the latest escalation came in a "new york times" interview, with corker asserting mr. trump's reckless threats toward other countries could set the u.s. "on the path to world war three". he added he knows for a fact that, every day at the white house, "it's a situation of trying to contain the president." of his senate republican colleagues, corker said: "the vast majority of our caucus understands what we're dealing with here".
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corker previously took issue with mr. trump's response to the violence in charlottesville, virginia. and last week, he had this to say: >> i think secretary tillerson, secretary mattis, and chief of staff kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos. >> woodruff: a sunday "twitter" feud followed, between corker and mr. trump. on one side: the president, saying corker begged for his endorsement before opting not to run for re-election, an account that a corker aide then denied. the president also alleged corker was "largely responsible" for the iran nuclear agreement. corker replied: "it's a shame the white house has become an adult day care center." the soured relationship is a far cry from the campaign, when corker said he was voting for trump and was considered as a vice presidential running mate.
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at an event in kentucky today, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell called corker "a valuable member" of the senate g.o.p. caucus, and "a particularly important part of the budget debate" looming on capitol hill. of course, the tennessee republican also still wields the gavel in the powerful senate foreign relations committee. and for more now on the president's fight with senator corker and the white house push for stricter immigration policies, it's time for politics monday, with tamara keith of npr, and stu rothenberg, senior editor for "inside elections." "politics monday." welcome to you both. tam, i'm going to start with you. have we ever seen -- and i know you're young -- (laughter) -- but in your uh young, few years covering american politics, have you ever seen this kind of dispute between the president and a leading member of his party in congress? >> well, i mean, if you count the disputes of john mccain that
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the president was in just a few weeks ago. (laughter) this is a different kind of president and, no, this is not normal. it is not normal to pick a fight with someone whose vote will be absolutely critical for that tax bill president trump wants to push through. it's not normal to have a leading senator, the head of the foreign relations committee tweeting about adult daycare. this is highly unusual. >> let's remember hat this feed -- that this feed goes back to the middle of august after charlottesville when senator corker commented about the president's leadership saying the president has not demonstrated he understands what has made this nation great, so forth and so on, trump fired back, so this has been going on for a while and, no, this never happens. there are private disagreements and examples where legislators
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have a problem with the white house, the white house has a problem with the legislature, but blowing up in public like this, no, it doesn't happen. >> woodruff: does it help anybody? what does it mean for the republican party, tam is this. >> president trump is a counter puncher. he said this time and again. it was in "the art of the deal." he feels it's good for him to fight back and bob corker is part of the establishment and he can fight back. there's not a good for the republican party interpretation of this, but it is an indication of where the party is going. bob corker is retiring. roy moore, the very conservative fire brand religious right candidate is the one who made it out of the primary in alabama. this is becoming the party of president trump. >> traditionally, and i always have to preface things because we may be in a different era, traditionally the voters want
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the governing part to be in control, to govern, to act as if there was an agenda they're pursuing and accomplishing, so to the extent you have chaos, i don't think it's helpful. i actually don't think it hurts the president, even though you think all the swirling controversy would hurt him. he's now able to run against not only the media and hillary clinton and barack obama but now he's been running against the republican legislative leadership and now he can run against establishment senator corker. that's what he'll do. >> woodruff: speaking of that, the president seems to be making a rapid succession, a series of moves seemed designed to reach his supporters. we have been reporting earlier these hardline immigration guidelines, the contraception mandate handed down last week by the department o department of d human services. the iran nuclear deal which we believe may be coming,
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decertifying of that, a clean power announcement coming out and i could name others, designed to appeal to trump base? is that what this is all about? >> what all these things have in common is they are not major legislative accomplishments. they are things that the president can do through executive action and administrative action that undo parts of what president obama did, and a big part of what president tump ran on is undoing the obama presidency. so that is what he's doing. of course, his base would also like it if you would build the wall. >> woodruff: right. but here with this proposal last night he's saying i'm still working on that wall. that's the message he was sending there. >> woodruff: how do you see this? is this an effective technique for the president? >> well, i think the president enjoys to govern this way if you want to call it governorring. he's all about creating and deeing the fissure inside the republican party, he's a disruptor and likes doing this
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like this. i think his supporters like the fact that he's taking on the system. so it's less about has he accomplished this or this. you would think many of his supporters would be upset that the wall goipg nowhere and a lot of his agenda hasn't been enacted, repeal and replace, but they seem to viscerally enjoy the fact that he's taking on the system and i think that is his greatest strength, appealing to those kinds of voters. >> woodruff: when you say deepening the fissures inside the republican, that has to set the teeth of other republicans on edge. >> it certainly does and makes it more difficult for him to accomplish what he wants. >> woodruff: another move we saw over the weekend, tam, as vice president pence flew to indianapolis to attend his home state indianapolis colts football game against the 49ers. it was expected the 49ers would
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kneel, some of them, in protest. the vice president said i'm going to leave, i'm not staying. >> he's going there because it was his hometown team and peyton manning was being honored that night, but president trump made it clear for weeks that he felt all flag-loving americans should walk out of n.f.l. games if players kneel. so vice president pence was in a tough spot. he wanted to go to this game, apparently, but the stated position of the president of the united states is that if you are patriotic, you should turn for the exits. >> woodruff: where is this n.f.l. dispute going, stu? >> i think it's part of the larger division in the republican party and in the country. two points, judy. one, it reminds me of claude raines in casa blanca, i'm shocked this is going on.
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it remind me george w. bush fled on patriotism and loyalty and flag burning. we'll see if in the midterm this is good for this president. >> woodruff: if someone comes back and says these flights cost the taxpayers $200,000, they're making a point. >> and vice president's staff was arguing he was going to have to go to d.c. or indianapolis and there you go. however, there are a lot of people who say, as you say, it costs a lot of money and this was one heck of a stunt, a stunt that didn't really play all that well. >> woodruff: how many more week ends of football do we have? we'll keep watching this one. stu rothenberg, tamera keith, thank you both. >> you're welcome.
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>> woodruff: now, a look at the winner of this year's nobel prize in economics, announced today. richard thaler is a professor at the university of chicago booth school of business. the award acknowledged his ground-breaking work in establishing the field of "behavioral economics," which blends psychology with economics to better understand human decision-making. we start with a bit of background from our economics correspondent paul solman, part of his weekly series, making sense. >> reporter: in chicago's millennium park two and a half years ago, richard thaler, the academic revolutionary who won this year's nobel prize for insisting, for decades now, that his field, economics, is wedded to distorted view of human behavior. economics teaches that we're all rational maximizers, mathematical machines, who use our big brainy heads to
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carefully calculate every decision as we strive to reach concrete objectives, creating but look, thaler explained... >> after the '87 crash, when the market fell 20% in a day, and the internet bubble, when the nasdaq went from 5000 to 1400, and then the real estate bubble, which led to a financial crisis from which we're still trying to extricate ourselves, the idea that markets work perfectly is no longer tenable. >> reporter: thaler has been running his revolution from inside the belly of the beast, the university of chicago, which boasts 28 other nobel laureates practiced in traditional economics. collectively, they have created what's known as the chicago school, predicated on the perfect efficiency of markets, in which prices rationally reflect all available information. but thaler started noticing market irrationality early in his career as an economist. >> the market would be up in january. it would go up on fridays, down on mondays. it would go up on the day before
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holidays. none of this made any sense. >> reprter: but it was only when thaler began doing experiments and publishing them that doctrinaire economists, whom he calls e-cons, began to admit some of the error of their ways. take the concept of sunk costs, time and money you've already spent. an e-con assumes all of us know when to quit, to cut our losses, to move on. this group of cameroonian students at first seemed to act just as economics would predict. >> let's suppose you bought tickets to go to a concert over here at this fancy bandshell 40 bucks each. and the group is okay, but then it starts to rain. how long do you think you're going to stick around this concert? >> not much. >> reporter: not much? >> not much. >> not much. >> reporter: but what if the" sunk cost" had been much higher? how many of you would have a different decision about staying or leave leaving, if it was $500, as opposed to $40?
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every single one of you. >> i have to make my money worth it. >> reporter: you have to make your money worth it. >> yes. >> reporter: and your point here? >> well, economists would say how much you paid for the ticket, tough luck, if it's $40 or $500. >> reporter: doesn't matter. >> you should just decide whether the music is worth the annoyance of the rain. >> reporter: in the past few years, thaler's behavioral economic insights have been applied by governments around the world, including ours. and how did he feel about being called the inventor of behavioral economics? >> one guy can't create a field, but you can get people thinking. >> reporter: and so he has. this is economics correspondent paul solman. >> woodruff: for more, we turn to richard thaler himself. he got the call he won at 4:00 a.m. we spoke a short time ago and i began by noting that he has been honored for recognizing that people do not always act
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rationally when making economic decisions, and whether that is how he sees his contribution to economics. well, yes, although pointing that out is kind of obvious to everybody except economists. so, in some ways, it's pointing out the obvious, but i think the contribution that i've made and the younger economists following in my footsteps have made says, okay, what follows from there? how should we do things differently if people aren't perfect? and there's a lot of things we can do better. >> woodruff: what do you think is main consequence of your research has had on economics and on policy? >> well, on economics, i think it's made especially young economists more open to thinking outside the box. i coined the phrase supposedly
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irrelevant factors for the kinds of things that economists are sure don't matter, like the way a letter is worded. or what the default option is. and these kinds of things are supposedly irrelevant because they're actually really important. so i think, on the professional side, that's the most important thing. on the policy side, the work i did with cass sunstein, my former colleague, now harvard law professor in our book "nudge" really shows how you can help people if you grant that they're not saving enough for retirement or they're overweight or they'd like to do more to save the environment but aren't sure how to do it, what are the steps you can take to help
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people make better decisions. >> woodruff: was your set of findings as much a psychological-sociological observation as it was an economic one? >> i was borrowing findings from psychology and trying to incorporate them into economics. so economic models are pretty sterile, and these agents that really could be robots that calculate at lightning speed ant aren't absent-minded and never eat too much or drink too much kind of just like you and me, but, by flushing out the way real people behave and our weaknesses as well as strengths, people are nicer than economists give us credit for. we're more likely to contribute to charity or look at all the
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volunteers in these are hurricanes and other natural disasters. economists have no explanation for why people would work for days trying to clea clear away e in an earthquake. so that's the nature of humans. i guess we call it human nature, and incorporating human nature into economics is what i have been trying to do for 40 years. >> woodruff: someone said to me that part of what you've done is take the fringes of economics and make it respectable, bring it into the mainstream. >> yeah. a lot of team have thought of me as a fringe player, but, yeah, i think i often say i work in the gap between economics and psychology. psychologsee -- psychologists kt but most aren't interested in
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public policy problems and certainly wouldn't have a clue what to say about federal reserve policy or taxes or any of the other bread and butter issues that economists think about, and most economists don't have any interest in psychology. so there was a lot of ripe fruit for the plucking. >> woodruff: so i'm going to take advantage of having you here. everybody's watching the stock market shoot up over the last several months. if you could spend a few minutes with every family in this country right now trying to make tough decisions about spending and saving and investment, what would you say to them about the market and economy in general? >> well, look, i think that the economy is strong. we have been on a nice ride since the depths of the great recession. as far as the stock market goes, personally, i'm a little worried
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about et. about -- it. there's no explanation for why it keeps going up other than interest rates are low and people aren't sure where to put their money. so if i were giving advice to people, it would be to say not to spend the 10% or 15% you've made most recently in the stock market and maybe even take a little of that money off the table if you're likely to united anytime soon. >> woodruff: advice from the latest nobel prize winner in economics, professor richard thaler, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: what is a monument? and who or what should be honored? these are the questions many americans are asking in the wake of recent protests over confederate statues.
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they are also the questions one art exhibition is trying to answer. jeffrey brown reports from philadelphia. >> brown: benjamin franklin is here, of course. william penn sits atop city hall. and people line up for a shot with the fictional but ever popular fighter, rocky balboa. philadelphia is a city of statues and monuments-- history everywhere. but why is one person honored? and another not on the pedestal? a city-wide project called" monument lab" is asking those questions and more. at washington square park, we met jane golden, head of the¡ mural arts organization' that's putting on the exhibition. is there a problem with this? >> no, i don't think there's a problem. i think we need to broaden our definition of what a monument is. and we need to make sure that everyone's story is heard. >> brown: golden's organization, commissioned 20 artists to make works that respond to a not-so- simple question: what is an appropriate monument for today's
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philadelphia? each stands for nine weeks, and laboratory kiosks are set up for the public to comment and create their own designs. the project was conceived three years ago but now, after the violence in charlottesville this summer, it opens amid a national debate about monuments and history, one that's embroiled philadelphia as well, where there have been calls to take down a prominent statue of frank rizzo, a former mayor and police chief both loved and hated for heavy-handed police tactics. >> in some ways monuments have been glorious and are uplifting, and in some way, very clearly, they have failed us and our society. this is what is coming to fruition now, so i think this exhibition is incredibly timely. >> brown: it's also stretching the idea of what a monument might look like. row-house stoops constructed of materials salvaged from abandoned buildings become symbols for neighborhood life. and then there's this sculpture
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of an ¡afro pick' by hank willis thomas. >> i've always been inspired by public art and wanted to find ways to put things in the public space that haven't been seen in public before. >> brown: another absence: women. in a city of some 1500 monuments, just a handful honor historical women, including joan of arc. in rittenhouse square, the city's beautiful downtown park, sharon hayes took that as her theme. she cast pedestals and inscribed names of women throughout the city's history that could have been honored. but the pedestals themselves remain empty. >> in some ways for me the empty pedestals are a pointer. a kind of indicator of the absence that, for me, feels as impactful as then the presence of all of these names of people who contributed. >> brown: who decides, is sort of what it comes down to.
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who decides what should be in our parks? >> one of the things that i think could come out of this moment that we're in, where there's such public contestation about monuments, is that we find sort of more equitable processes, sort of more equitable ways to-- >> brown: what do you mean, a vote, or, because that- >> more like a town hall. >> brown: what if the town hall changes next year? i mean, every time you put it to a public consensus, that changes. >> well, this is the conundrum, which these objects exist in our lives, or a kind of challenge to all of the fundamental principles we understand about them. they're permanent. that they're fixed. that they're unmovable. that they're our history. >> brown: in north philadelphia's germantown, the question of change and¡ impermanence' is raised in a different way. there in vernon park, artist karen olivier, a local resident, took a monolith dedicated to a revolutionary war battle, and wrapped it in mirrored acrylic, creating a literal reflection of the neighborhood
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as it is now. >> the fact that it's a temporary monument works for this piece, in particular, because in three months it'll be gone, and now you kind of have to reckon and interrogate what was there. and now what does that monument now mean? >> brown: so part of this is when you unwrap it? >> yes, because now this monument that everyone presume they knew because marginally, on the periphery, they see it every day, now they have to go up to it and say what does this mean. like in a way i'm also protecting this monument. it's a fortress around it, as well. to me that paradox, it's invisible at moments, i'm protecting it, it's enclosed, it's reflecting you. so monuments speak about people at the end of the day. >> brown: at philadelphia's city hall, sculptor mel chin took a more playful approach to his serious subject of american democracy: the individual ¡me' and the public ¡we'. chin set up two high pedestals for people to become monuments themselves. and he and i, two ¡statues' come
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to life, talked about it. i am celebrated? >> you are celebrated. in the age of instagram and selfies, you predominate. you're there, except i'm to your right. i'm also me. >> brown: what does that mean? why put two? >> well, the other monumental, monumental document that was created here was the constitution, and it says, "we. we the people." >> brown: whose history's being celebrated? you have to see this in that context also. >> why not the people, and when you celebrate a person or individual, do you leave out others? this is what this project is intending to do. >> brown: all fine, but skeptics might wonder if all this is just imposing a particular social activism agenda into our public life. somebody could say, and probably will say, why are you putting that in my public space? >> oh, sure. there's always a curatorial strategy; however, how this is different is there is a component for public discussion. it's not just these are here passively.
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you have something to say? then go into the laboratory and create a design. come and take part in the public programs. be part of the conversation. >> brown: philadelphia's citizens can now decide. certainly the ¡afro pick', other works in the ¡monument lab' project will be packed up in a few months. as for the rizzo statue, the city set up a website for proposals and will hold public hearings. a city commission will ultimately decide its fate. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown in philadelphia. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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colette, celebrating 100 years of travel together. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> 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
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station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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