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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 21, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: good evening. i'm gwen ifill. president obama has apparently secured more than enough senate votes to ratify the u.s.-russia start nuclear arms treaty. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, naftali ben david of the "wall street journal" looks at the shift in momentum as key republican senators lined up behind ratification. >> ifill: then, carl dinnen of independent television news has the latest on europe's travel troubles as some airports struggle to cope with unusually wintry weather. >> woodruff: there are more americans than ever living in different places. we look at new numbers with census director robert groves, and at the political fallout
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with david chalian and stuart rothenberg. >> ifill: ray suarez continues his reporting from havana. tonight he examines the cuban health care system's emphasis on preventive medicine. >> suarez: in a country with a struggling economy and very little money to spend on health care, they achieve some of the best results had the world. >> woodruff: and jeffrey brown talks to cecilia kang of the "washington post" about the federal communications commission's new rules for internet providers. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> opportunity can start anywhere and go everywhere. to help revitalize a neighborhood in massachusetts; restore a historic landmark in harlem; fund a local business in chicago; expand green energy initiatives in seattle. because when you're giving, lending and investing in more communities across the country,
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>> ifill: the president moved a big step closer to a major foreign policy victory today. a 67-28 procedural vote in the senate cleared the way to ratify a treaty with russia to cut nuclear arsenals. the vote to cut off debate on the strategic arms reduction treaty came this afternoon after a week of arguments pro and con. >> the yeahs are 67. the nays are 28. three fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. >> ifill: the victory set the stage for a virtually certain ratification vote tomorrow. hoping to mitigate republican doubts over whether the deal was tough enough, the president promised to strengthen missile defense. in the end, 11 republicans decided to support the treaty. lamar alexander was the highest ranking member of the g.o.p. leadership to join in. >> i will vote to ratify the new start treaty between the united states and russia
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because it leaves our country with enough nuclear war heads to mr. any attacker to kingdom come and because the president has committed to an $85 billion ten-year plan to make sure that those weapons work. >> the senator from tennessee is recognized. >> ifill: another key persuaded senator was bob corker of tennessee. >> the question becomes to me and for all of us, all of us who care so deeply about our country's national security, is will we say yes? i firmly believe that signing this treaty that ratifying this treaty and that all the things that we've done over the course of time as a result of this treaty is in our country's national interest. and i'm here today to state my full support for this treaty. i look forward to its ratification, and i hope many
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others will join me in that process. >> ifill: new start would limit the u.s. and russia to 1,550 strategic nuclear war heads apiece down from the current ceiling of 2200. it would also reinstate inspections and verification that ended a year ago when a 1991 treaty expired. president obama signed the new accord with russian president medvedev last april. since then he's agreed on billions in new funding to upgrade the u.s. nuclear arsenal. immediately after today's vote, leading senators applauded the outcome. >> i will comment that today we had a number of senators who were not here who will vote for this treaty. senator greg, senator bayh, senator widen. so today in many ways you can look at it as almost 70 votes. i would say to you that in today's washington, in today's senate, 70 votes is yesterday's 95.
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i feel pretty good about where we've gotten to. >> in our national security interest, we need the new start treaty now. for well over a year we have had no boots on the ground in hush i can't. i take that very seriously. i'm not the only one. >> ifill: some treaty opponents like republican orrin hatch of utah acknowledged early in the day that the tide had turned. he said we know when we've been beaten. but other objecting republicans stood their ground. >> the administration did not negotiate a good treaty. they went into negotiations it seems to me with the attitude with the russians just like the guy that goes into the car dealership and says i'm not leaving here until i buy a car. and i think that's the approach that was taken and the result is pretty clear. >> ifill: some also complained about russian insistence that wording in the treaty not be changed. >> i think i understand why the russians don't want to reopen the treaty. they've told us take it or
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leave it. my response to our russian friends is i choose to leave it at this time. >> ifill: but admiral mike mullen the chairman of the joint chiefs was among those add to go the late pressure with a letter to lawmakers urging passage. it read in part, this treaty enhances our ability to protect and defend the citizens of the united states. i am confident in its success as i am in its safeguards. the president, vice president biden, and secretary of state clinton also worked the phones throughout the day. white house spokesman robert gibbs said the effort was designed to change waivering minds. >> i think they've had an opportunity to focus on those that are supporting the treaty and listen to... listen to chairman mullen, secretary gates, jim baker, george shultz, henry kissinger, and others make i think a very compelling case along with the president and the vice president. why this enhances our security, why it does nothing to impact
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or inhibit our ability to defend ourselves in any way. >> ifill: negotiations will continue on the final wording of the treaty up until tomorrow's vote. for more on all of this and how the ground shifted during the last 24 hours, we turn to naftali bendavid, who has been covering the debate for the "wall street journal." so negotiations apparently still continue tonight over wording, over proposed amendments. what exactly are they still debating? >> well, there are a few remaining amounts, it's true. senator mccain has one. they want to make sure what's called the resolution of ratification. there's a very clear, strong statement of american intent to pursue missile defense. whatever else the treaty might say. but the fact is that this is pretty much at this point a done deal. i don't think anyone doubts that tomorrow when they have the vote on final ratification that this thing is going to pass probably with a healthy margin. >> ifill: the healthy margin includes perhaps someone like john mccain. they're trying to push the numbers beyond the 70 that john kerry was just talking
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about. >> i'm sure they would like to have the strongest margin that they possibly could. it would send a certain signal to the allies that president obama is in control of our foreign policy and it would send a signal about the two parties coming together about matters of national security and foreign policy. the truth is i'm sure that they would take the minimum that they need. they'd be just as happy with that. a couple days the treaty itself seemed in real jeopardy. so the fact that right now ratification seems pretty much certain, that's a huge step. >> ifill: so what happened? yesterday we were still talking toss-up. today we're talking done deal. what changed overnight? >> well, just a few things. for one thing the white house really did mount a full court press. republicans raised a couple of main concerns. they wanted to make sure our missile defense plans forged ahead. they wanted to make sure that our nuclear arsenal would be modernized. president obama wrote letters. he made phone calls. joe biden made phone calls. i mean, the president did everything but sign a blood oath practically promising
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that he's going to forge ahead with both missile defense and nuclear modernization. so that was a key factor. but also a lot of republicans i think they just wanted to feel like there had been a serious debate and their concerns had been heard. as the debate proceeded and unfolded it was harder to make the case that it had been trunk indicated. a lot of times personal dynamics are very important. part of what happened is just that after a few more republicans lined up behind the treaty, a certain momentum developed. at some point the thing obtained an aura of inevitability. that's where we are right now. >> ifill: the republican leader mitch mcconnell and we saw jon kyl remain pretty staunch in their opposition to it, did they lose step in the ability to hold their caucus together? >> it's interesting. the republicans have remained unified virtually on everything in the past couple of years usually in opposition to the president's proposals. when you have the number one and number two ranking senate republicans strongly opposed to this treaty and at least a
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dozen defections is very unusual. this was sort of an unusual matter. it did have to do with national defense and foreign policy. i think the president and the democrats particularly john kerry worked very carefully and strongly for months really with key republicans. so i wouldn't necessarily assume that senator mcconnell has lost his ability to hold his caucus together but it is very striking and unusual the way the republicans split on this while this time it was the democrats who remained unified. >> ifill: it is striking that in a couple of weeks when we saw a tax cut bill go through that the republicans did not stay lock step on, don't ask don't tell and now this, one wonders whether this is the new face of bipartisanship or whether i would be getting carried away to say that. >> the white house is certainly pushing the idea that we do have a new era of of bipartisanship that the president is reaching out more and now that the republicans' presence in the capitol is growing they have to take some responsibility for governing. i'm not convinced from now on
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we're in this new golden era. but it is remarkable that the president's party really took a beating in the last election just a few weeks ago and since then he's kind of rolled up one success after another. there was tax cut bill that you mentioned. there was the food safety bill. the repeal of don't ask don't tell. now it looks like we're going to have this treaty ratified tomorrow. it's a very unusual political moment where somehow the president was able to take a real defeat at the polls and turn it into political success. by the way that's something that was not lost on the republicans. it started creeping into their statements that they were very aware of the fact that approving this treaty was going to give the president a political victory. >> ifill: do they also think that approving this treaty was more about u.s. credibility abroad than about this president? was that persuasive as well? >> i think that certainly in their comment in a statements that they were not talking about how it was going to affect the president. they were talking about national security. a lot of them, you know, said that, in fact, they didn't want to let russia push them around, you know, that russia
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had made some take it or leave it kinds of statements that they didn't want to respond to simply by adopting the treaty. it was more of an unspoken argument that this could affect u.s. credibility abroad. there's no question that it does so and it strengthened president obama's hands when he talks to foreign leaders. that was a topic that was left more or less undiscussed during the debate itself. sneeb this treaty was signed in april. it came out of committee in september. here party blames the other for get to go this last-minute clash. anyway to know who is right? >> you know, personally i won't be referee and decide who is right. >> ifill: very wise. >> but there's no question that the republicans are complaining not just about the treaty but they kept on saying they're being jammed, you know, christmas is just a few days away and the democrats are pushing one thing after another. through the congress. and john kerry kept on saying, look, this treaty has been around for months and months and months. we've been working with it for a really long time. any delays, you know, he says he granted a few delays in response to republican requests. so he pushed back pretty hard
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on any complaint that this was being jammed through. >> ifill: is it fair to say and did the white house or any of the democrats express this concern that it would have been much more difficult to get this treaty ratified in the incoming congress? >> with no question. for one thing, they've spent really quite a long time talking to republican senators, you know, about what is in the treaty, trying to address their concerns, changing the wording of the resolution of ratification and so forth, providing more money for md earnization. what they didn't want to do is have to start all over again with a new crop. another thing is it's not lost to them at all that the new crop of senators will be more republican and more conservative. so that if anything this fight would have been a lot tougher in the new senate. >> ifill: naftali ben david as the negotiations continue through the night we'll see what the final vote is like tomorrow. thank you. >> thanks very much. >> woodruff: >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour, european winter weather woes; preventive medicine in cuba; a close look at the new census numbers; and
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new rules for internet providers. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: the house and senate approved funding today to keep the government running into next march. lawmakers had failed to approve any of the individual bills needed to fund operations for the fiscal year that began in october. this stopgap measure will freeze most agency budgets at current levels. republicans will try to cut spending levels next year, when they take over the house and add seats in the senate. a bill to beef up food safety in the u.s. is headed to president obama for his signature. it won final approval in the house today. the measure authorizes the food and drug administration to conduct increased inspections of food processing plants. it also imposes tougher standards on imported foods, and it gives the government new powers to force recalls of tainted food. a new government was seated in iraq today. parliament approved a list of cabinet ministers after nine months of political haggling. the iraqi lawmakers endorsed the new power sharing agreement by a
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unanimous vote. in a rare display of unity. afterward, prime minister a.l. maliki marked the milestone. >> i'd like to congratulate the ministers for receiving their new post in the new government and wish them success and good luck. i'd also like to thank members of the former government, the government of the national unity, who were loyal in their work and accomplished their mission in peace. >> reporter: the new government including each of iraq's major political and sectarian factions was immediately sworn in, but 13 of the 42 posts, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, were filled only temporarily. that gives maliki more time to resolve this agreement with shiite clerk al-sadr and her shiite faction. the coalition came in second in national elections last march behind former prime minister allawi and his sunni- backed coalition but only maliki was able to garner enough support to fashion a governing coalition.
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today in washington president obama hailed the formation of the new government. in a written statement he called it a significant moment in iraq's history. >> sreenivasan: one of the new government's major decisions will be whether to ask that thousands of u.s. troops stay longer than planned. they're scheduled to leave one year from now. new york state today accused a major accounting firm of helping deceive investors at lehman brothers. the civil suit said ernst and young approved a practice that kept billions of dollars in debt off lehman's books over a period of seven years. the investment bank collapsed in 2008. the lawsuit seeks $150 million in fees that were paid to ernst and young. wall street moved higher after a couple of lackluster trading days. the dow jones industrial average gained 55 points to close at 11,533. the nasdaq rose 18 points to close above 2667. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: now the winter travel snarl. hundreds of thousands of airline passengers around the world are stuck in a fourth day of busted flight schedules
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because of snow removal and de-icing problems at european airports. particularly hard hit, heath rowe outside london. we have this report. >> reporter: some jobs are best left to those who know what they're doing. and b.a.a.didn't take up the government's offer of military help with their clear-up today. in any event, they seemed at long last to be winning the battle against the elements. they are not yet winning the battle to get everyone airborne, however. amongst the people at heathrow today was the transport secretary. the people stuck in the terminals behind you will want to hear this... that you gave b.a.a.a good talking to today. did you? >> b.a.a.management is is well aware of our views that what has happened here is completely unacceptable but we have agreed that we will have this discussion after the airport is working back to normal again. the key issue for both of us now is to make sure that we get as many people as possible
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away before christmas. >> reporter: as he stepped away from our interview, he was accosted by michelle phillips whose family are stuck at the airport. >> yesterday trying to get... finally still sitting on the runway. i appreciate that there are troubles but there should be nobody.... >> once this is over, we are going to have to have a serious inquest about what's happened and how the airport is.... >> reporter: afterwards i asked michelle if she felt the government was on top of things. >> no, i don't. i don't. they should have told us that we can't go anywhere. >> reporter: her unhappiness is shared at downing street. >> even b.a.a.'s harshest critics have conceded that given the amount of snow that has fallen ex-tensive disruption is understandable, but it is understandable that heathrow had to close briefly. i'm frustrated that it's taking so long for the situation to improve. >> reporter: it's mid afternoon and here at heathrow
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a wet sleety kind of snow has just started falling. they haven't said whether that will affect the clear-up of their second runway. it will hardly help the mood of their passengers especially those at terminal 3 who are being kept outside the terminal. there they had to cue just to get into the departure hole, b.a.a.supplying blankets, the salvation army hot drinks and some people waiting in tents. some had been here since the weekend when things were worse. >> what's around here today was the people in their purple and their fluorescent yellow. it's so not representative of anything that happened on saturday and sunday. honestly the footage from hurricane katrina in new orleans is what that was reminiscent of. >> reporter: around the globe, many more people are trying to get back here. this was bangkok. >> you know, it's a long, tedious proceed sos. ... process. nobody knows what's going on. i'm not sure what other airlines are telling people.
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no one seems to know. you get told different things every five minutes. >> all day we've been on the internet. as you can see it's mad. >> reporter: back at heathrow, the hard work paid off. just before 5:00 they got the second runway open. b.a.a.say that about 10:00 p.m. they should have a better idea of what tomorrow's flight schedules will look like. further ahead they will have to answer difficult questions about whether they're spending enough money on digging themselves out of the snow. >> woodruff: now, to the new census numbers: what they tell us about significant shifts in the american landscape and the political impact. first, the overview. the latest count released today shows the u.s. population has grown to more than 308 million people.
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but the rate of growth slowed from past decades, to a little less than 10% between 2000 and 2010. in fact, that marks the slowest rate of population growth over the course of a decade following the great depression. we look at what these numbers indicate about various regions and trends around the country, and then at their political ramifications. first, robert groves is the director of the census, and he joins me now. mr. groves, good to have you with us. >> thank you. nice to be here. >> woodruff: so we've grown as a people but not as fast as in previous decades. >> absolutely. this is the first decade that we've gone over the 300 mark. it's a notable event for that. your mention of the 9.7% increase is also a notable thing. but that's the result of a long-run trend. of gradually slowing the growth of the population. this is very common in
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developed societies around the world. most of the developed world is slowing its rate of growth. this has to do with changes in fertility experiences in the population, and also even though all of these countries are experiencing immigration that isn't the... the net effect the slowing of the growth. >> woodruff: but immigration is a part of the picture. >> immigration is a part of our picture as in most developed societies. over the last ten years a rough estimate would be about 60% of the growth we experience was from the natural increase of the then resident population. about 40% from immigration. >> woodruff: let's talk about regions. it's always interesting to see where growth has occurred. we have a graphic to show our audience. what do you see where it's gained and where it's gained less? >> it's a pattern that we've seen over and over again. for several decades, the northeast and the midwest is
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still growing. they're still growing but at a rate that is smaller than the south and the west. this is also a notable decade. this is the first time the western region is larger than the midwest. the midwest was the center of large scale manufacturing. things have changed. the west now made up of the states that were the last to join the union are now larger than the midwest region. >> woodruff: take to us some of the specific states because you looked at the five fastest growing states and the five slowest. >> that's right. nevada is interesting as it was last time. this decade a growth rate of 35.6%. this is really large growth but last decade nevada had grown 66% in ten years. so you have states that are out the decades that grow at very rapid rates. for example, between 50 and 60
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florida grew at about 80% over a ten-year period. right now most of the growing states are in the western region. >> woodruff: many people i think will point to the economy. you mentioned birth rate, industrialized countries far along in their development. how much of an impact has the economic recession had? >> we can't piece that apart. yet. people will jump into these numbers with a lot of analysis that will be much more specific. my hunch is that we'll never be able to know the marginal effect of the recession. this recession we're going through on immigration and on fertility and things like that. it will be left to historians that can bear many decades at once. >> woodruff: how much do you know about why people are moving from one place to another. >> very little from these data. we do ask people about where
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in the american community survey this wonderful new sample survey we have in this country, we ask them where they lived a year ago. and that will be a source of migration data that will be informative to the population but these data we've released today really have no information in them about migration. >> woodruff: but from that survey there is some interesting information in there about income groups and about ethnic... individuals of different ethnic backgrounds. >> absolutely. those data show very clearly, i think in the last release, the sub urbanization of the new immigrant populations, the new phenomenon. so we think of immigration in old terms as a coastal phenomenon. it's mainly an urban phenomenon. that's changing in very dramatic ways. the dispersion of new ethnic groups throughout the entire country in little bitty villages as well as big urban
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areas off the coast is a major phenomenon in the country. we'll know that from the census data starting in the spring as we release more data. >> woodruff: just quickly, what about in terms of income? >> the american community survey findings there are similar to long-term trends. you know, if you look at the very lowest income groups, they are clustered as they've been throughout our history. the 18 counties with the lowest household incomes disproportionately are in the south region. this has been true for some decades in this country. dispersion of the income is changing as we've noted over and over again. the concentration and wealth and smaller portions of the population. that's true in the data too. >> woodruff: arguably the most important outcome of this at least right now is what you did, what you announced today. that is how many... how
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congressional districts will change around the country. give us the overview. >> the overview, the quick story is that there's a shift of 12 seats. it involves 18 different states for shifting. the states that received added seats are disproportionately in the south and the west. texas received four seats. that sounds like a lot but i remind us that in 1960 california received eight seats from one census. so the loss of seats is disproportionately in the northeast and the midwest. so it follows that population trend that we talked about a minute ago. >> woodruff: we're going to talk about that a little bit more in a minute, the politics of that. there has been a lot of discussion about the accuracy of these numbers. you know, what do you say to people in terms of what's the margin of error here? and people always want to know
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is there some sort of political overlay to what you do at census? >> well, let me ask the second one first, answer the second one first. the census bureau is a non-partisan statistical agency. this is something i feel to my bones. this is the most important attribute of the census bureau because if you think about it for a minute, the only purchase we have on doing good for society is if people believe our numbers. as soon as the public doesn't find these numbers credible, we're basically out of business. so we do a lot of work to keep confidential the data provided for people and to keep political interference outside of everything. so these numbers hopefully are the best our statisticians can do and we'll stand behind them. how good the census is will
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take months to know. the signs so far is that this is a good census. everything we're seeing so far all the indicators say we did a good job and we'll be proud of it. but we won't know for sure for some months. >> woodruff: robert groves the director of the census, we thank you for being with us tonight. >> great to be here. >> woodruff: appreciate it. >> woodruff: and now, to the politics of the census. for that, we are joined by newshour political editor david chalian and stuart rothenberg, editor and publisher of the "rothenberg political report." so, we've heard robert groves say that this means that there are 12 districts moving around, a number of states affected. david chalian, what happens now to these numbers? what does it look like? >> well, this is the firs step of the process learning the apportionment of how they go and then comes the actual redistricting. in the spring now what will happen is that state legislatures will start dividing up, literally drawing maps. this is a cottage industry in politics. partisans on both sides now
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prepare literally block by block to try to get their voters in to a district as they redraw these districts and in some of these states where they have lost seats, you know, you're going see some members get squeezed out. you're going to see incumbents versus incumbents. in areas where they've gained seats there will be real battles about which voters to bring into that new seat so that it falls either into, you know, a democrat or republican hands. >> woodruff: stu, let's talk about what this map looks like. which states picked up and which states lost? what do you draw from that? again we have a graphic to show our viewers on that. >> as robert groves indicated you take the big picture and you see the northeast is losing congressional districts. we're talking about.... >> woodruff: the green. >> green, right. whether it's massachusetts, new york, new jersey, ohio and then going over to the great lakes states. michigan. illinois. those states vote disproportionately democratic in national politics.
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as david suggested we're going to be into the internal phase now. state by state. and there are different parties control different states. different opportunities to maximize a new district or to protect districts that republicans won that were... that they weren't expected to win. but when you look at the big picture here, the democratic states are losing congressional district. that means they'll lose electoral votes in 2012 and beyond. the southern states that typically vote more republican typically are more conservative we will gain electoral college votes. >> woodruff: david, there are interesting things going on here as we heard mr. groves say with regard to ethnic minorities especially the latino population in this country. so is this an unmixed blessing for republicans or not? >> i think as stu was just saying i think you give the edge to the republicans just on that large picture but i do think that story can be overwritten to some degree. i think you do get more of a
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mixed picture. take texas, for example, right? biggest gain. they're going to pick up four seats. two of those seats very likely will be drawn to be minority seats. it will be largely hispanic district. they may tend more to the democrats. that might be just too democratic seats and two republican seats that get added in texas, no advantage to one party or the other. as you look at this state by state it's not some huge trove of new seats for the republicans though you do see looking at the larger picture a little bit of an edge here for the republicans. >> there's another element to this. democrats control the deadvertise trikting, the reapportionment process in massachusetts but the entire massachusetts delegation is democratic. they can't draw a republican out of the district because there is no republican. on the other hand, you have ohio where the republicans.... >> somebody is going to lose there. >> the democrats control the process and a democrat is going to have to lose. on the other hand, you look at ohio.
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republicans control the entire process. so they control both chambers of the legislature, the governor. they ought to be able to add new districts except, judy, they just gained five congressional districts in the november elections. there are enough democratic voters in the state located in a certain part of the state, in the north-northern part of the state from toledo to youngs town where they'll have to get their district, four or five congressional districts. just because somebody controls the process or the state is in the south or the northeast it doesn't guarantee certain winneres arch losers. it does suggest there is a republican advantage here. >> woodruff: in most states it is the state legislature doing this. david, is this a purely political process or are there any guidelines that are followed from the census? >> of the 18 states that are going to see a change, nine of them are fully controlled by republicans. republican legislature, republican governor. only three of them fully controlled by democrats.
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but three of the states-- iowa, arizona, missouri-- all non-partisan independent commissions look into this. they really do take partisan politics out of this. we've seen california vote for a similar redistricting process, florida. we're seeing more and more of a trend that voters want politics out of this process. >> i was reading one article today, stu, that basically quoted... i quoted somebody as saying that the two parties prepare to go to war over redistricting. there's that much at stake. >> there's a lot at stake here. just think of it this way. a year ago i think democrats thought that redistricting, reapportionment and redistricting would be a great opportunity to reverse what republicans had done to them ten years in redistricting in certain states. pennsylvania, ohio and the like. that's no longer the case. we're talking about a handful of electoral college votes but also a number of congressional seats that are going to change because of this. so i think this is a big deal. judy, remember this.
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it's hard to convince republican voters or democratic voters to change their hart party preference. it's really hard. if you're a partisan republican you're going to vote republican. the way you really change the make-up of congress is through redistricting, by redrawing the districts. it only happens once every ten years. >> woodruff: how much of this, shall we say, david, guided out of washington? i mean, we know there are a lot of folks in this city watching this... these numbers very closely today. >> washington political professional plays a huge role in this. no doubt about it. it also has guided in the state capitals across the country too. there are whole as i said before sort of cottage industries set up with their computers and now it's so easy with kpurs, right, you take your mouse and can literally move a line block by block. people have dedicated their professional lives to try to draw this for a partisan advantage. we have to remember these numbers obviously affect the electoral college counts based on how many representatives
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you have in a state. barack obama would have had six fury lech toreal votes. john mccain would have had six more electoral votes. it still would have been a wallop of an election in 2008. >> woodruff: even with this change. but having said that.... >> we've had different elections that have been squeakers. >> woodruff: but be that as it may, whether it's the obama campaign assuming he runs for re-election. we don't know that he will or however many other republicans, they are going to be working over these numbers and following very closely. >> absolutely. these are the numbers that matter: we've all forgotten about what happened in november. these are the important things. to some extent they'll determine election results for the next decade. >> woodruff: we're glad you're here just on this one night. stu rothenberg, david chalian, thank you both.
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>> ifill: next, medical care in cuba, where many ounces of prevention are considered worth a pound of cure. here is the second of ray suarez' reports from cuba. >> suarez: one of cuba's greatest prides is its health care system. cuba's government promotes the country's free and universal medical care from the moment a baby is born as the cornerstone of its communist state. and according to the world health organization, the country has much to boast about. the average cuban lives to the age of 78. that's slightly longer than the life span of the average american. the cost of health care in cuba is less than $400 a year per person. in the u.s. the annual tab is almost 20 times higher. there are twice as many doctors per person in cuba than in the united states. in fact, it's the highest doctor-patient ratio in the world. how can one of the poorest
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countries in the western hemisphere provide free care and achieve such impressive health outcomes? >> prevention, prevention and more prevention. >> suarez: gail reed is american born and living in cuba. she edits a journal that studies cuban medicine called medic. >> having access to family doctors and nurses i think has been a key to cuban success even when there wasn't much medicine in the medicine cabinet. the preventive approach, having health care workers accessible to people doing home visits is a critical part of the success. >> suarez: like the rest of the developing world there's no doctor shortage in cuba which means the health care system here can push doctors and nurses down to the smallest rural communities, providing a kind of care that's both personal and persistent. here in a rural town, this doctor spends every afternoon making home visits.
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she reaches about six homes a day. after she finished medical school, free of cost for all cuban doctors, this doctor was assigned to work in this village. all new doctors must work where the government assigns them like everything in cuba the government keeps a close eye on medical employment ensuring that all cubans have access to care and that each doctor has no more than 1,100 patients. on this day, the doctor is following up on an 86-year-old patient who suffered a hip fracture. the doctor said her exam doesn't only check the patient. she's on the lookout for other health threats. >> the objective is not just to see the sick person in the home but also to prevent illness. we do a physical exam of everyone in the home and inspect the living conditions. >> suarez: it's aggressive
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preventive medicine. homes are investigated, water quality checked. electrical plugs checked. all the other people in the household also get a check-up. this doctor is with the cuban ministry of public health. >> preventive medicine in cuba is a premise. there is a saying, it's better to avoid someone falling off a cliff than to pick him up after he's destroyed on the ground. in cuba preventive health care is a victory of our revolution. >> suarez: in such a poor country, however, it's not always easy to treat illness. >> when a cuban patient goes to a hospital, he must rely on the resources available at that moment. sometimes a simple urinary infection can't be treated because they don't have the right antibiotics or some of the basic medications to treat con krik illnesses. >> suarez: this doctor fled
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cuba in the early '90s when the country was in severe economic crisis. he became frustrated with the limited financial resores given to cuban doctors. his miami, solidarity without borders, gives scholarships to nurses and doctors who defect from cuba and want to retrain and get board certified in the u.s. >> cuba looks abroad to supply the cuban people. every kuhn and has a family member abroad to send medicine plus there are organizations like ours that send medical supplies. >> suarez: but gail reed says one of the biggest problems remains the embargo of mode sin from u.s. pharmaceutical companies. >> there are serious restrictions on patented medicines. the latest cancer drugs, for example, have patents that are 20 years and now the pharmaceutical companies are asking for more time for their patents. so these are unaccessible to
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cuba in regular commercial terms. >> suarez: because of the u.s. government's trade embargo, cuba has created its own biotech industry. some of its strongest successes have come in preventive medicine like vaccines. including one for hepatitis b now virtually eliminated from the country. manuel is an executive for cuba's center for genetic engineering and biotechnology. >> in the sense that it created a great need, yes. it created great suffering but at the same time the embargo created the challenge of trying to resolve our own problems. and we developed an industry capable of producing the very latest medicines. >> suarez: according to this doctor, the cuban biotech sectored has garnered 230 patents and is marketing its products in 57 countries. it's now the third largest industry in cuba.
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still some ask if living to the age of 78 is worth it if it means living in persistent economic hardship. carlos, a cuban-trained physician who left the island in 1995, says there's more to living than staying healthy after arriving in the united states, he took odd jobs for 16 years and is now in the process of getting his physician's assistant license. >> i had to do everything. i mean, carrying luggage. i worked valet parking. i did it. you name it. i did everything. but i was happy. i was working. i was making mono. ... money. i always thought i would see the light at the end of the tunnel. >> suarez: but in cuba, the rewards for doctors are often talked about in philosophical not financial terms.
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free medical care is considered a basic right. preventing illness is considered a state priority. and doctors who provide those services are considered foot soldiers in cuba's social revolution. >> education here in cuba is free. so providing good medical staff for cubans is practically a duty. but it is also considered an honor. >> suarez: in an era when countries are struggling to do more with less with limited health care dollars cuba's successes and prevention are likely to be closely watched. >> ifill: tomorrow ray will report >> ifill: tomorrow ray and the global health unit will report on one of cuba's choice exports: doctors. >> woodruff: now, to new rules for regulating internet traffic. jeffrey brown has that story. >> brown: on the information
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superhighway that is the internet, what, if any, rules should there be for, say, speed limits or public access? should such decisions be left to those who build the network, the so-called gatekeepers of the web? and what's the proper role for government regulation of online traffic? today the federal communications commission took a major and controversial step toward answering some of those questions, approving its first rules for internet access, often referred to as net neutrality. here to explain is cecilia kang, technology reporter for the "washington post." welcome to you. let's define the terms first because we use that sort of ugly term net neutrality. >> it is certainly ugly. it makes one want to fall asleep. net neutrality is the idea-- and it's a very basic principle-- that a consumer should be able to access any internet service, any internet content that they choose on... to their liking, on their wireless phone, on their home
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computer, whatever they want to access they should have the ability to access unimpeded. no fast lanes, no slow lanes. no content that is blocked. that means if you want to access a facebook application on your cell phone you should be able to. if you want to do a google search on your computer at home, you should be able to. it should not be the... the result should not be any slower or faster than say microsoft. >> brown: before we get to exactly what the fcc did just to continue the explanation, i mean sometimes we ask the "why do we care" question. it's interesting that so many different players seem to care a lot about this. right? why is this important? >> there's a lot of money at stake. consumers are increasingly understanding that this affects them directly because consumers are using the internet as their main mode of communication. they get their news. a lot of people are cutting their cable cords and getting their video and entertainment through videos news through the internet. they're cutting their phone lines and using wireless phones for communication.
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so they can feel... there's more of a visceral connection to why this matters, this idea. so the companies are very concerned about this because there's a lot of money. there's multibillion dollar business plans at stake. along those lines you have different camps. you have those who actually put the lines into your homes, the internet access providers. they provide you the internet connections through your cell phones. your smart phones and your tablets. they care an awful lot. they generally do not like the idea of being regulated more. >> brown: all right. so that leads us to what the fcc has now decided. now start... they do differences between those company providers that come in with lines like cable companies versus wireless. start with the cable company and the phone companies. what's new for them? >> so the reuels are applied for directly to them than they do to your smart phone and your tablet carrier, service providers. the cable companies and the tell come companies that bring you internet connection to
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your home desktop will be regulated in a way where they cannot block. they cannot slow down arbitrarily any web services. they can't say, for example, oh, you like net flix. it takes a lot of band width. we're going to slow down the delivery. it will be jerky, a lot of buffering. they can't decide to do that. they can't outright block a website either. and there's real example.... >> brown: legal websites because it's an important distinction. >> any pirated or illegal, pornography these are the kinds of things that are actually not allowed. but there are some examples of why the fcc acted on this. comcast has been... the fcc found four years ago that comcast actually blocked some users from sharing files off this application called bit torrent. that raised a lot of questions and really brought this very, again, this kind of ugly term this esoteric wony notion net neutrality into... made it
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more of a kitchen table issue. people realized, oh, this is something that can affect me. >> brown: the fcc new rule would allow for the first time a kind of tiered pricing. >> yes. >> brown: to some degree. >> that's absolute reright. >> brown: explain that. >> the cable and the tell come companies like that quite a bit. that's not illegal at this point. it never has been but it's been frowned upon by regulators. a lot of cable and tell come companies have been reluctant to basically charge as you go pay, pay as you go, pay by the bit that you consume. so they have been reluctant because the ideas that if you are, say, only the... well, the idea is or the fear is that only the wealthiest will be able to access the internet. and you might have other communities who won't be as inclined to search for news. to actually watch videos, to watch streaming netflix for example but only those who can afford it. this idea of usage-based pricing is a big win for cable- based company in that they need to invest in their
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network. these are multi-billion dollar networks. it costs a lot to lay down fiber and bring copper wire into homes and they want to be able to justify those investments. users are increasingly using the internet more and accessing the internet more and using more band width they need to put more money into those networks continually. >> brown: i said this was controversial. it was actually split at the fcc along party lines. the opposition to it and two of the republican appointees wrote... they both wrote op-ed pieces to explain their opposition. the notion is that these new regulations can hamper the development of on-line commerce, correct? >> that's right. it can hamper the development of on-line commerce. it can hamper the development of these networks, these networks providers will be reluctant to put more money into the networks. i think the fear is that a lot of the regulatory, the regulatory move here may be more hypothetical than it is real in that the fears may be hypothetical. commissioner meredith
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applebaker said in her speech today that she read that there were 60 uses of the word "could" which shows you that so many of this is projecting what possibly could happen in the future without there being enough examples of real... to justify this kind of regulation. and interestingly, that's why the fcc said that they do not want to impose the same kind of rules that they are for the cable companies, the tell come companies because it is a fast- evolving new space. >> brown: they left that whole area untouched for now. >> largely untouched. the only services that cannot be blocked are competing voice applications so that means if you're verizon wireless you can no longer... you cannot block skip or vonage from your apps store but if you decide to introduce a new social networking app maybe you'll decide to block face book and that's okay. >> brown: there was the opposition from the
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conservative and public consumer groups also didn't like this because they thought there were not enough protections for consumer s so this will go on. >> this is just the beginning. this is just the beginning of a lot of steps. this particular rule, the fcc chairman said he's tried to strike a compromise. what he's done effectively by striking a compromise sort of hitting the middle of all these different interests is he's not really garnered a lot of support. he's not getting a lot of lohr for this. a lot of his once allies and consumer groups say it's not strong enough on the wireless side particularly because minority groups use cell phones to access the web more than anyone else. >> brown: this will continue in public debates and in the courts as well. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: president obama >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. president obama moved a big step closer to a major foreign policy victory. the senate voted 67-28 to clear the way for ratifying a nuclear treaty with russia, tomorrow. the iraqi parliament approved a new government, nine months after national elections.
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hundreds of thousands of airline passengers worldwide were stuck for a fourth day because of snow and ice problems at european airports. and we go to hari sreenivasan in our newsroom, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: we've rounded up reactions to the f.c.c.'s net neutrality ruling from around the web. that's on the rundown blog. also there, find out which five political and economic stories patchwork nation will be watching in 2011. and read more on iraq's newly named government. what do analysts says are its chances for success? plus on art beat, jeffrey brown talks to a dance historian about how the russian ballet "the nutcracker" became an american classic. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at the obama administration's wins and losses from the not-so-lame duck session. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night.
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