tv PBS News Hour PBS September 27, 2013 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: the senate passed a federal spending plan, but it's unclear whether the house of representatives will act to avoid a government shutdown. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. also ahead, ray suarez looks at a major new scientific assessment of climate change. margaret warner reports on a busy week of diplomacy at the united nations, as president obama has an historic phone call with the president of iran. jeffrey brown has the story of the rebirth of a school that was once a crown jewel of african american education.
>> first black general, first black graduate of the naval academy, second black of the naval academy, first black presidential cabinet member. what do they all have in common? it's this place, it's dunbar high school. >> woodruff: and mark shields and ramesh ponnuru analyze the week's news. those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's "pbs newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ñi
>> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdat;and peaceful world. more information at macfound.oró ó >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... ñr >> 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: our lead story tonight: washington headed into the final weekend before a potential government shutdown with the outcome still in doubt. the senate adopted a stopgap spending bill to keep the
government running past monday, but the battle over health care reform showed no signs of abating. "newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage. >> lord, deliver us from governing by crisis.ñi >> reporter: the senate chaplain's appeal for divine guidance came on a day when partisan divisions were on full display. iowa democrat tom harkin accused republicans of throwing a temper tantrum by demanding to strike funds for the president's health care law. >> nullification of a law, through that type of action. that's sort of like picking up your marbles and going home. but, when you're a kid, no one really gets hurt. but who gets hurt from this? the american people. >> reporter: utah republican mike lee, a lead proponent of the defunding effort, insisted conservatives are the ones listening to the public. >> the people who elect us, do expect us to do what we say we're going to do.
not sometimes, not just when it is convenient. in fact, they expect us to do what we say we're going to do especially when it's inconvenient. >> reporter: the senate ultimately voted, 54 to 44, along a straight party line, to fund government operations into mid-november, after democrats removed the obamacare defunding language. the measure now heads back to the house, where republican leaders hope to find a plan tea party conservatives will support. texas g.o.p. senator ted cruz said he wants them to stand firm and reject any bill that leaves obamacare intact. >> when that happens, the bill is going to come back here. it's going to be an opportunity for senate republicans to come together, to come home. i very much hope that when the bill comes back to the senate, republicans will stand together, stand united. >> reporter: at the white house, president obama delivered a very
different message. >> if republicans have specific ideas on how to genuinely improve the law, rather than gut it, rather than delay it, rather than repeal it, i'm happy toñi work with them on that through the normal democratic processes. but that will not happen under the threat of a shutdown. >> reporter: the house is expected to begin work on the revised senate bill tomorrow. >> woodruff: for the latest, we turn to reporter ed o'keefe of "the washington post." he joins us from capitol hill.ñi well, ed, what a scene you're watching over there. tell us what happens now. >> well, at this point we know that house republicans are planning to meet at about noon oned is to consider their next options. just before we came on the air tonight, there was a possible proposal unveiled by about 62 house republicans that would instead of completely defunding the new health care law just delay it until the beginning of
2015. this is now seen as the new leading conservative proposal, one that republicans can get behind. when i asked one of the lead sponsors what about the fact that the shutdown begins on tuesday and that the house and senate might not be able to get something done by then, they said, no, we still think there's plenty of time and it can be done. in reality, senate procedure can take some time. and if the house does indeed pass something this week and send it back to the senate, there aren't necessarily enough hours in the day to ensure that something gets passed by midnight at the beginning of tuesday. >> woodruff: so knowing that, does that say the conservatives in the house are prepared for the government to shut down? >> it doesn't seem anyone is totally realizing yet that this is very likely. there were senate leaders today certainly suggesting that. but house republicans at least seem to believe that there's still enough time, and whether that's a lack of understanding of congressional procedure or just this belief that for some reason the democratic-controlled senate will suddenly capitulate and agree to something they've already said they don't like,
we'll just have to wait and see. >> woodruff: yeah, that's my question. do they believe the senate is going to change its mind and go against what it's been saying the majority in the senate has been saying for days or that the president is going to change his mind? they must assume that's not going to happen. so what's the-- what's the strategy beyond that? >> at this point, you know, it is essentially a political staring contest, and neither side is prepared to plirchg. and i think we'll just have to wait and see whether perhaps tomorrow house republican leaders, the speaker, john boehner, and his lieutenants can explain to their conference at this point perhaps is makes more sense to pass a simple extension of government funding and wait until a later day to continue having this fight over the health care law or whether they will be compelled by their rank and file to push whaed this strategy and essentially plunge the government into a shutdown. >> woodruff: that's the question, finally, ed, is there a sense that speaker boehner feels that he must keep those conservatives on board, no matter what happens, going
forward? >> he does. he has maintained that strategy throughout. while democrats today said they would be willing to work with at least some republicans to pass a short-term extension of government funding are the speaker knows that for his own political future and for the future of cohesiveness of house republicans, that it makes more sense to continue working with those conservatives and try to find a solution. >> woodruff: ed o'keefe of the "washington post," we thank you. >> great to be with you. >> woodruff: now, the other news of the day: a united nations sponsored scientific group issued its strongest warnings yet on global warming. the scientists found it's extremely likely-- 95% certain-- that human activity is the main cause of rising temperatures. they also predicted even greater increases in the years ahead. we'll more on this right after the news summary. the death toll from an earthquake in southwestern pakistan reached 515 today. a top official in baluchistan province reported the new toll as he toured the region where the quake struck tuesday.
meanwhile, some survivors began trying to rebuild their homes, while others rummaged through the rubble to find belongings. there were also more funerals, as families buried their dead. president obama and iran's president hassan rouhani spoke by phone today on iran's nuclear program. it was the first such contact since the iranian revolution in 1979. meanwhile, the u.n. security council moved tonight to adopt a resolution on disposing of syria's chemical weapons. more on all of this, later in the program. in kenya, new revelations emerged in the siege of a nairobi shopping mall where at least 67 people died. a top government official conceded troops may have caused part of the mall to collapse when they fired rocket-propelled grenades. three floors of the building fell in. meanwhile, the interior minister said investigators are making good progress in their probe of the attack.
>> police are holding eight suspects as they seek to unmask the face behind the terrorñi attack. three others were interrogated and released. this being terrorism activity, we are operating under the anti terrorism act which allows for suspects to be held for a longer period before being arraigned in court. >> woodruff: the somali-based group al-shabaab has claimed responsibility for the mall attack. a united airlines jetliner made an emergency landing lastight in idaho, after the captain suffered a heart attack. he died later at a hospital. the plane diverted to boise on a flight from houston to seattle after the captain was stricken. he'd been at the controls, but an off-duty pilot helped land the plane. all 161 passengers were safe, and the plane later continued to seattle. top white house officials traveled to detroit today to
offer $100 million in federal aid to the bankrupt city. another $200 million will come from foundations and detroit businesses. but that falls far short of the broader bailout some in the city wanted. detroit remains at least $18 billion in debt. a state judge in new jersey ruled today the state must legalize gay marriage as of october 21. republican governor chris christie said he'll appeal the ruling to the state supreme court. separately, exxon mobil said it will extend company benefits to legally married same-sex couples, starting next week. the oil giant has 77,000 employees and retirees in the u.s. on wall street, the dow jones industrial average lost 70 points to close at 15,258. the nasdaq fell nearly six points to close at 3,781. for the week, the dow lost more than 1%. the nasdaq rose a fraction of a percent.
still to come on the "newshour": a new report from the world's leading climate scientists; diplomatic breakthroughs on syria and iran at the u.n.; the next chapter in the storied history of washington's dunbar high school and shields and ponnuru on the week's news. we return to the latest assessment on global climate change. it comes from the u.n.'s intergovernmental panel on climate change or i.p.c.c. which last issued a series of reports in 2007. the scientists who wrote it won the nobel peace prize for the warnings they raised and the evidence they presented. the newest work includes more predictions and examples of what's already happening. we take a closer look, starting with this report from tom clarke of "independent television news."
>> 250 scientists, 195 governments and thousand of pages of analysis all conclude the world is warming. not just the atmosphere. the oceans, too. only a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has any real chance of turning back the tide. >> human influence on the climate system is clear. climate change challenges the two primary resources of humanñi and and ecosystems, land and water. >> reporter: the updated science concludes temperatures have risen by almost a degree over the past century. it is extremely likely that global warming seen sinceñi 1950 is manmade. it predicts global average temperatures are likely to rise between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees by 2100. and sea levels, says the i.p.c.c., have been rising faster since victorian times than at any point in the last
two millennia. time travel down a marred kingdom brunle's western mainlined and you can see why that's important. this sea wall was built to protect the railway for a one-in-a-100-year storm event. since victorian times sea levels have risen about 19 centimeters. based on today's ipcc report the sea will come up an additional 26 to 82 centimeters. that means by 2100, what is today a one in 100 year storm will be an annual occurrence. the the report also gives short shriftsphoz an observed lack of land surface temperature increases since a very hot year in 1998. skeptical observers say that claims global warming has stopped. >> it's important to understand what's been happening. temperatures are still at record levels. each of the last three decades have been successively warmer,
and it's that longer term trend which is important for whether or not we're checking our climate and the overwhelming evidence is that we are. >> reporter: not everything is more certain. this report concludethe impact of warming on extreme weather, like hurricanes and floods, it less clear than researchers previously thought. as best as the facts can be established, this report lays them down and they should be viewed, say scientists, in the know that since their last report in 2007, we pumped 200 billion more tons of c.o.2 into the atmosphere. >> woodruff: a note of clarification about tom clarke's story: it explained the potential rise in temperature when measured with the celsius scale. using the fahrenheit metric, the panel said temperatures could rise by 2.7 to 8.1 degrees. ray suarez picks up on those warnings and others. >> suarez: and for that, i am joined by a member of the i.p.c.c. panel, michael oppenheimer. he's a professor of geosciences and international affairs at
princeton university. professor, welcome to the program. >> glad to be here, ray. >> suarez: what is the major difference, the major refine independent this latest report from the one that repre-seeds. >> there is three new high-level messages. one, it's now stated as extremely likely that most of the warming of the past 60 arizona is due to human activity, and that's very unusual for scientists with a complex problem like this to state something with such a high level of certainty. secondly, the projections of sea level rise in particular are about 50% higher than in the last report. that's because we have a better grip on what the big ice sheets in greenland and antarctica are going to do, and that's a very troubling development because, as we saw in hurricane sandy and other coastal storms, the combination of intense storms with an unusually high sea level
causes an extra level, a tremendous level of flooding inland, and is very destructive. and the third message is that the window of opportunity to avoid a dangerous warming which has been labeled by the governments as a warming of a little short of four degrees fahrenheit, that window is closing rapidly. and we could, by short of the middle of this century-- say some time 202040 and 2050-- emit so much of these gases if we don't change tower course, the dangerous warming piles up and adaptation becomes very difficult, and in some cases impossible, that that kind of warming will be inevitable. >> suarez: when you move from calling something extremely likely, these are terms people use in daily live, but do they have when you say them and people like you you say them,
scientific precision. it is a nuance to go from very likely to extremely likely. >> these terms are used with great precision. it very likely means a better than 99% chance, and extremely likely means a better than 95% chance. this isn't casual language. this means the scientists looked at the problem carefully and decide the case is ironclad, and that's all up and down this issue. there's a big central focus on this issue on map facts that the earth is warming, that the warming will continue, that the dangerous warming is coming close, and that it we don't do something about emissions, we'll thereby pretty soon. all of that is now known-- there's a consensus about all of that. scientists are very careful. scientists tend to be skeptical, of course, and here we have thousand of them getting together and being able to agree on this high level of strnt.
there is no environmental problem characterized by that level of strnt. >> suarez: you're constantly getting new data in from around the language. have you gotten request new languages language that caused the "i" "p" "c" "c" to back off earlier predictions of effects down the road or is everything being reinforced, the predictions made in earlier reports? >> no, there are certain things that we think we're a little lescertain bor where we've lowered the projection. for instance, the climate sensitivity as it's called, the response of the atmosphere when co2 doubles, it had a range in the last report of about two to 4.5 degrees celsius-- in fahrenheit you can about double those numbers-- the bottom limit on that range has been dropped a little bit. so it's conceivable with a doubling, instead of a warming of two degrees celsius, we'll have one and a half degrees which is about three degrees
fahrenheit. on the other hand, in the report previous lot last one, the number that was used was the same as it is now. so that shows you the scientists are forever fine tuning and try to incorporate new knowledge. scientists are obsessed with getting the answer right, with staying up to date. and if the answers lead us in a direction of thinking we're less certain or the effects aren't going to be quite as bad, we going to say that, too. >> suarez: some scientist sciend academics cast a more skeptical eyes on the work of the ipcc, among them is roarnlg pilke. in look over the latest report he says:
what's your response? >> roger is completely wron. the scientists looked at it very cieflly. there's an extensive coverage of it-- >> suarez: hasn't there been a pause in the rise of surface land temperatures. >> there's babe slo slowdown. it hasn't stopped. that is believed to be because the climate is quite variable. if you look at the long-term records, there are bumps upwards, and bumps downwards and there are plateaus like this one. after every bump downward or every plateau, the climate change accelerates again. we can't be sure that will happen buttite good bet. the leading explanation of this is that heat tend to hide in the ocean sometimes. but when heat hides in the
ocean, it later comes out and reappears in the atmosphere, and the warming resumes faster than before. we don't know for certain. we'll find out over the next few years upon it's wrong to say the i.p.c.c. didn't look at it carefully. it certainly did. >> suarez: what about sea ice in critics have made much of the fact that there was an increase in sea ice? >> there's no question at all the long-term trend for arctic sea ice is down, down, down. but just like with the temperature trend, it's variable. the wind circulation patterns, ocean circulation patterns will change the amount of ice in any given year. so you see bumps in the record. there was an extreme bump in the downward direction the year before, and now this year, the amount of sea ice has increased, and over the long term those bumps average out but what they average out to is not zero.
they average out to a long-term downward trend which is expected to make the arctic ice free in summer by the later part of this century. and that is a startling trend, all in the course of a few decades, we're losing the arctic ice pack. >> suarez: michael oppenheimerñi is one of the scientists who contributes to the report of the ipcc. professor, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me here. >> woodruff: now to breakthroughs on the diplomatic front. president obama spoke by phone to iran's president this afternoon, the highest level conversation between the two nations since 1979. and the u.n.'s security council is poised to approve a resolution on syria tonight. margaret warner reports. >> we're very hopeful about the prospects for what can be accomplished but obviously there is a lot of work to be done. >> warner: as he met with india's prime minister, president obama hailed the draft u.n. resolution to eliminate syria's chemical weapons.
>> i've always expressed a preference for resolving this diplomatically and appreciate all partners working very hard over the last several days to make sure that we could arrive at a resolution that not only deters and prevents additional chemical use, but actually goes beyond what could've been accomplished through any military action and that is the removal of chemical weapons, one of the largest stockpiles in the world, from syria so that they >> warner: the u.n. measure, if adopted by the full security council, would require syria to abandon its chemical weapons and provide unfettered access to weapons experts to ensure compliance. if syria balks, the u.s. and its allies would need a separate resolution if they want u.n. approval for taking military action. that was largely seen as a victory for russia, syria's main ally. foreign minister sergei lavrov told the u.n. general assembly today there's no place for
unilateral action. >> ( translated ): there is no doubt that leadership i i i required. however, today it can be only the collective leadership based on the agreed upon actions of the leading members of the international community with >> warner: meanwhile in damascus, u.n. inspectors made ready to investigate seven sites where chemical and biological weapons were allegedly used, including three incidents since the august 21 attack that the u.s. says killed more than 1,400 people. there's also been movement at the u.n. on iran and its nuclear program. the permanent members of the security council, plus germany, have agreed to hold new negotiations with tehran next month. iranian president hassan rouhani has been sounding notes of moderation. at a news conference in new york >> ( translated ): i also must stress in speaking with sr euro
officials and hearing mr. obama, they sounded different compared to the past, and i view that as a positive step in the settlement of the differences between the islamic republic of iran and the west. >> warner: still, israel and others warn that the positive rouhani's answer to that was emphatic. >> ( translated ): we say explicitly that we'll be transparent. we say explicitly that we do not seek a bomb. we say explicitly that we believe that the building of a bomb is dangerous for us, for our region. we say explicitly that in our defense doctrine there is no room for weapons of mass destruction and we are committed >> warner: later, in the white
house briefing room, president obama said he spoke with iranian president by phone today. >> i reiterated to president rouhani what i said in new york. while there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, i believe we can reach a comprehensive solution. >> warner: iran now says it will present its plan to resolve the standoff in geneva next month. >> woodruff: i spoke to margaret who is reporting from the united nations a short time ago. margaret, hello again. it has been a remarkable week at the united nations in new york, culminating with this phone call president obama just disclosed this afternoon that he had with the iranian president, historic, the first contact between the two leaders since 1979. how significant is this? >> warner: judy, i think the phone call is hugely significant. the iranians put out a statement almost right away to say that the president had gotten in
touch with him as president rouhani was speeding toward the airport in the back of his car. and i think what you heard from president obama was in a way matching the-- if not fulsom, certainly very hopeful, optimistic rhetoric we've00 hearing all week from rouhani. and i think when president obama talked about reaching an agreement expeditiously, about really thinking there was the basis for something, it was more enthusiastic, if i may use that word, than he had been in his very measured comment at the u.n. general assembly. after so much was made about the fact that the two men never met on that first day, on tuesday, and did not exchange the handed shake, i think this is a signal from both of them that this is-- at least they are both willing to venture forth into this new era and have some expectation that may bear fruit. >> woodruff: that's what i wanted to ask you. is there a sense this could lead to something tangible in what
happens to iran's nuclear program? >> well, there is, judy, especially after last night's meeting between the so-called p-5-- that is the world powers, plus germany and the iranians, and jurks rad sharif, the foreign minister. the americans were impressed by-- it was more than just tonal-- the iranians talked about specifically what they were willing to talk about and the kind of things-- not that they would put on the table or cob seed, but it was way more specific than they've heard in years and years of really rather fruitless negotiations. and i wouldn't be prized but that the president's phone call reflected that report that he got from them. there are huge hurdles. i mean, the big substantive one is iran's insistence, even after they've done everything the international community wants in terms of their own program, putting constraint on it, they continue to retain the right to enrich uranium while sanctions
are lifted. and in washington, too, there are not only hard liners, there is america's ally israel, which is very, very, very suspicious and skeptical of this. and one iranian official said to me, you know, washington is going to have to match-- we have a consensus in iran, he claimed, but washington is going to have to match that or if-- or the outcome could be even worse. >> woodruff: meanwhile, margaret, 32 also been progress with regard to syria, language on a resolution bwhat to do with syria's chemical weapons. where does that stand right now? >> warner: well, judy, i think this was the most remarkable thing at this u.n. general assembly week, which is usually a big gag-fest and a lot of speeches-- some mem exprabl some not-- they sat down it's u.s. and russia who had been at loggerheads over how to enforce the agreement, cobbled together, and handed out a u.n. resolution
that should go before the full security council tonight. while the u.s. did not get everything it wanted at all-- it did not get any kind of automatic enforcement mechanism-- still, it is really something new when you've had the u.n. security council unable to deal with any aspect of the syrian civil war for over two years. >> woodruff: finally, margaret, you've been picking up the misgivings on the part of the syrian opposition to all this. displarg yes, judy, i talked to the representative of the syrian opposition and he was very concerned-- one, that there is no automatic enforcement mechanism, two, there is no accountability built in. there is no talk of whoever is found guilty of using the weapons should go to international criminal court. and they're also concerned for the next nine months at least, president assad is going to be considered a negotiating part america least a partner with the west and the russian russians in dismantling this program all the while that his conventional
forces are pounding rebel forces and civilians and killing at the rate of thousands a month. >> woodruff: so much to keep an eye on still. margaret warner, thank you for a great week in new york. >> warner: my pleasure, judy. >> woodruff: next, the story of a troubled urban high school with a distinguished past. it's now mounting a transformation effort as its progress is being watched closely. all this fits right into coverage you can see throughout this weekend on pbs stations about the dropout problem, a series known as the "american graduate" project. jeffrey brown has our report. >> reporter: it's a school aiming for the future. >> hello students, how we doing today? >> reporter: when principal stephen jackson greeted students to dunbar high in washington, d.c. on a recent morning. it was to a brand new, $122 million, state-of-the-art building that boasts the latest
in classroom and energy-saving technology. it's one part of the city's effort to turn around a deeply troubled school system. just blocks from the u.s. capitol, dunbar, on its former site next door, was known for low graduation rates, low test scores, and an often dangerous environment. but dunbar-- named for poet paul laurence dunbar-- is also a school with a glorious, historic past. one captured in a small museum in the new building and eagerly touted by principal jackson to the outside world and to his students. >> when they come to this new dunbar and they are able to see the museum, it basically comes to life and the people that really made this school what it was and what it is, they come alive and so the kids can actually see who mary jane patterson was; the first african american woman to get a college degree in 1862 and she was the first african american principal of a public high school in the country. >> reporter: indeed dunbar, founded in 1870 as the country's first black public high school,
produced many firsts and famous alumni: senator edward brooke, jazz great billy taylor, the artist elizabeth catlett and the roll call goes on. >> first black general, first black graduate of the naval academy, second black of the naval academy, first black presidential cabinet member. what do they all have in common? it's this place, it's dunbar high school. so that was a big question i wanted to have answered. >> reporter: and once you >> reporter: journalist alison stewart has told dunbar's story- - how it happened and what followed-- in a new book titled, "first class". for her, it began as a personal tale: both her parents attended dunbar and were shaped by the experience. >> my parents talked quite a bit about dunbar. one, my mother was a school teacher, so part of it was to drill into my head, "we have expectations of you, we expect you to do your best because that's what was expected of us." the second part of the conversation about dunbar was, as african-americans, "education
is the key to a better life." >> reporter: through the era of segregation, dunbar was a magnet school focused on rigorous academics that by the 1950s was sending 80% of its students to college. dunbar built a reputation nationally and enticed african- american families across the u.s. to move to washington. in fact, stewart's father and his family moved from new york so he could attend. stewart describes it as a haven that helped foster a black middle class and gave smart and ambitious children an excellent education and a chance to go on to college, but one where the outside world regularly intruded. >> there is a great feminist, anna julie cooper, who was a principal of dunbar from 1902 to 1906 and she used to fight fiercely for the school against a white board of education. they would tell her to replace shakespeare with robinson crusoe and she would say, "i am not
doing that. my scholars can do this." >> reporter: dunbar scholars did do it, says stewart. but they also had to deal with the harsh realities around them. >> that was just mind boggling to me that you could have someone who could read latin and speak french and then some guy at a counter says, "you can't come in here." >> reporter: in one cruel but important way, the lack of opportunity helped dunbar: it's faculty was stocked with teachers with graduate degrees but few options for using them. colbert king is a pulitzer prize winning columnist for the "washington post" who enrolled at dunbar in 1954. >> those distinguished individuals who were among the best and the brightest couldn't get positions, professional positions, in the wider world so they were limited to the african american community. we benefited from it by having that talent in our schools. but also it was another indication of how unfair and unequal our society was that such individuals didn't have an
opportunity to reach their full potential in other fields. >> reporter: in fact, alison stewart says she worried that parts of her book could be misinterpreted. >> it used to keep me up at night that someone would think that this book somehow said, "wasn't segregation great? didn't things work out well?" >> reporter: you were worried about this notion of looking back at a golden age of the school and romanticizing it amidst what was the pain of segregation? >> yeah. i think the thing that should be romanticized is the perseverance of the students who went here and what they were able to accomplish in the face of segregation. that's what i think should be celebrated. >> reporter: the end of legalized segregation did impact dunbar, however. it was turned into a traditional neighborhood school, no longer a magnet that could pick and choose its students. and the neighborhood was changing. >> washington in the '60s, in 1968, just imploded on itself after dr. martin luther king died.
you see u street, which was the hub of middle class black washington just burned out and we know '70s financial problems, '80s drugs, '90s violence, you can't keep that out of a public school. you just can't. and the truth of the matter is dunbar was all black before 1954 and has been all black after 1954. what changed about it was that it wasn't a magnet school anymore. it became a neighborhood school and all the issues of the neighborhood came into the school. >> reporter: those problems continued to the present, as many students left the washington public school system and last year just six in ten dunbar students graduated on time. given all that, why the sense of hope today? one reason, clearly, is making the explicit link to the past. today, plaques of famous alumni line the walls and floor of the new building. some are left blank. t he message is a clear one to dunbar senior millante
patterson. >> one day i'm going to be on one of those plaques, hopefully. >> reporter: patterson says the learning environment has changed drastically at dunbar since the city invested in the new school. >> now we have walls that you can't hear through to other classes because the old dunbar was built with no walls and you could hear kids in other classrooms.xd now we also have locks on the doors so one can come and disrupt class like they use to and we can learn without no distractions. >> reporter: as to the learning itself, principal jackson pointed to a new 9th grade academy, intended to keep age- appropriate classrooms intact and a separate learning project aimed at those who've fallen behind. in addition, next year dunbar will be part of a city initiative to create so-called career academies, offering specialized training to help students enter the workforce after graduation. in large part, though, it's the new building itself, says jackson, that offers the best chance to change the psychology and culture of the school. >> i think environment is everything for children, i think
environment is everything for people. so this particular building being new, being a green technology building, represents a glimmer of hope for children so when they come into this building they have a sense of pride, they have a sense of respect but more importantly they are in a great learning environment. >> reporter: colbert king offered some cautious optimism. >> certainly the building is good but buildings don't teach kids, so there is a limit there, the dunbar community itself is changing demographically dunbar. the dunbar community is changing. it is not the same neighborhood that was there when i attended. it was not the same neighborhood that was there ten years ago and that's sort of the story of the city. >> reporter: in other words, the hope is that dunbar may become another kind of magnet school, in a resurgent neighborhood, once again. if the new environment does attract students, there's plenty of room for growth: the new school was built to house 1,100 students, almost double the enrollment today.
>> woodruff: "american graduate" is a public media initiative funded by the corporation for public broadcasting. tomorrow, many pbs stations will broadcast live and stream on the web-- a marathon of programming for american graduate day. it includes stories on initiatives such as early education, mentoring at-risk kids, and preparing students to be able to finish college. it also features personal testimonials from leaders and celebrities from a variety of fields.ñi the broadcast airs from wnet and lincoln center in new york. check your local listings. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and ponnuru. syndicated columnist mark shields and ramesh ponnuru, senior editor at the "national review." david brooks is off today.ñi welcome, gentlemen, on this friday night.
so where are we? we heard ed o'keefe of the "washington post" tell us a few minutes ago when it comes to this showdown on capitol hill, he said it's a staring contest, neither side prepared to blink. mark what, do you make of all this? >> judy, it's startling in the sense that the last time that we had this sort of an event in 1995-1996, really, with the democratic president in the white house and republican-controlled house and then republican-controlled senate, out of 233 republican house members, only 34 were there then. and what happened was bob dole had been running neck and neck with bill clinton in all the polls, and after that shutdown, with republicans being blamed for shutting down the government because they wanted to cut medicare, the public-- newt gingrich became toxic politically. bob dole had to resign as
leader. and the senior republicans remember this. the new ones ran against washington and the party establishment and my goodness, they're going to go eyeball to iball. >> woodruff: ramesh, are they ready to shut down the government. >> mat jort of republicans in the house and the senate really do not want to shut down. what is fascinating here is you have a minority of the minority in our government that is trying to find a point of leverage to get the way, even though most house republicans don't agree with the strategy. most senate republicans voted against senator cruz today. >> woodruff: who think it's a successful strategy that it's going to lead to the president, the senate changing their position on health care reform? >> there is a minority of the republican conference in the house that either believes this or is afraid not to be seen to believe this, and as a result,
you can't have a republican-only bill passed through the u.s. house. >> woodruff: so, mark, given that, it's a staring contest that leads to what? >> well, it leads to ted cruz in today's public policy polling, the national republican veerts,s leading for 2016. so there is an appeal here to a constituency. is it working? politics is the most imitative of all human art forms, and you will see more of this rather than less. ted cruz did not get where he is today by waiting, going through the chairs at the party establishment, waiting for his chance to run for state auditor or something. he took on the party establishment, and beat them in texas upon. he came here. he wasn't going to be the junior member for long. he is successfully alienated every democrat in the senate and probably a majority of republicans at this point personally, and it doesn't seem to bother him, and he's doing pretty well in all the national
surveys, and he's certainly capable of raising money. so in the past, judy, mavericks like cruz eye mean, who have not been afraid of bringing the senate to a halt, others never thought about running for president. but i don't think there's any question ted cruz' national ambitions are there right now. >> woodruff: ramere, meanwhile, the man charged with figuring out a way to get something through the house of representatives, speaker john boehner, what is his calculus at this point? he's been pretty much going along with this very conservative group. you say it's the mine ofort mine, on the but he's been doing what they want. so where does he go from here? >> well, i don't know what he's going to put on the floor, but i suspect that's something i share with john boehner right now. i don't think the house leadership has any sense yet of what it can do to get out of this spot that it's in. >> woodruff: so i guess my question is does that-- what does that body for the
republican party, the fact that you're at this kind a crossroads and you have this deep a division right down the middle? >> i think that we are going to continue to see a split in the republican party that, you know, for want of a better way of putting is sort of populous versus the establishment and ted cruz is one of the leaders of the populous wing of the party, and he's got a lot of enemy among washington, d.c.-based republicans. i don't think that bothers him at all. >> not at all. >> woodruff: no worry about the long-term ramifications? >> sure, judy. 2014 is, what, 12, 13 months away. that's a six-year election. in a six-year election, when a party has held the white house for six years, they lose an average of 28 house seats and four senate seats. one of the reasons i believe mish mcconnell and john cornyn want to be majority leader, they think they've got a real chance. and what could scramble this if
republicans are the people seen who want to deprive grandma of her social security check, sergeant billy o'connell marine in afghanistan, of his family's paycheck and that could reshuffle the deck for 2014 and put the republicans on the defensive. there are political riskes of this strategy, and the deems have an advantage of speaking with one scrois voice. they have been a unified party, nancy pelosi, harry reid and the president, there's very little daylight between them. >> woodruff: is it inevitable the republicans are seen as the losers in this if there is a shutdown ramere? >> there is a vigorous debate among republicans on this. i think the history in '95-96, that's exactly how it was seen suggests that is how it will happen again. there is an instinctivence on the part of american public that the republicans are more antigovernment party. if somebody shuts downtown party, that's who they're going
to be inclined to believe. >> woodruff: do we know whether the leadership believes that? >> i think that the-- i think that's absolutely what the house and senate republican leadership believe, and that's why they want to avoid a shutdown, but it's not what each and every one of those republican troops believe. they think 1996 went fine. republicans didn't lose the house in the '96 election. they gained senate seats in that election. >> and bill clinton became the first democrat since franklin roosevelt 60 years earlier to be re-elected, so-- but ramere is right. the leadership of the party is really intimidated by the firebrands. i mean, i don't know what john boehner does. i don't know what is going to come out of that caucus tomorrow. please a week-- an extension for one week, a continuing resolution might be the fallback position. >> woodruff: are democrats privately cheering on the idea of a government shutdown? >> ramesh is right. the republicans are seen as antigovernment party. the democrats are seen as the
government party, the party of government. and if government just seems to be not working at all, democrats aren't going to be covered with glorpy or gold coming out of this. i mean, there's going to be a-- i think, a disfavor and a distaste toward the whole washington thing. republicans might suffer more, but democrats' reputations are not going to be enhanced. >> woodruff: now that we see there's no progress being made here in washington, we can look at new york, where the u.n. has been meeting this week, ramesh. we had margaret warner reporting on this earlier in the program. there does seem to be some sort of diplomatic opening between the president-- the president announced he hay phone call today with the president of iran. does this look like something serious could happen here? >> well, something could happen. i just wouldn't get bette on something actually happening yet. we have had signs in the past that there was going to be a thaw in u.s.-iran relations. you may remember back 20 years ago, everybody thought president rafsanjani was this great new
moderate hope and nothing came of that. we still don't know how sincere rouhani, is whether he's trying to run out the clock, and we don't know whether he can actually deliver his regime. >> woodruff: how do you see it? >> i'm encouraged. it's the first time in 30 years the two governments have talked. estimates are the singleses are costing iran $5 billion a month. president company exclude shall a lot of neocons are throwing cold water on this, and there seems to be a peace square bounding in-- peace scare bounding in washington. >> woodruff: what is that? >> we have to have a villain. iran is now the villain-- the soviet union played that role for a long time, iraq did briefly, but iran is it. if iran ceases to be a villain that would really kind of take the whole world framework of a lot of good thinkers on the right and just destroy it. >> woodruff: what makes you believe this could lead to
something real? >> i think the singlese the sane hurting. i'm encouraged. i think this is a chance to bring some stability in a region that we've seen our own influence quite limited. let's be blunt about it. iraq didn't turn out the way we hoped. afghanistan didn't. democracy has not produced flourishing democracies. i mean, this is a hope to bring to a region that lacks stability some stability. and i think there is a mutual self-interest at this point. >> woodruff: and you also, ramesh, may have progress on the syrian front. they're about to vote on a resolution about syria' syria's chemical weapons. it remains to be seen exactly what develops there but it's a positive development so far. does this work to president obama's political advantage if something-- if you have even one of these two turn out to be a real breakthrough? >> that's right. if. then i think it does help, and
the president has i think been suffering over the last couple of months, particularly on the foreign policy questions in his polling. but with syria, again, there are some reasons for skepticism. does this resolution actually have teeth? and you'll note it doesn't even cull tullely call the regime to account for using chemical weapons. >> woodruff: but there is language in there about consequences, isn't there? >> again, the question is enforceability. as any anything at the u.n. what are the russians going to do if it comes to enforcing. >> the glass is more than half full here. this is the security council moving. it isn't perfect. it isn't ideal, but it is real progress. the one reservation i have is it leaves in power the status quo in syria. but we've learned over the last week, judy, that the alternative u terribly appealing in itself. >> woodruff: mark, what about this question when i wasñi just
asking ramesh about, if even one bears fruit what, difference will that make for the president? he's had a rough spell lately. >> he's had a real rough patch, right direction, wrong track. the number of people think the countries headed very much in the wrong direction. his own job rating is down. i think this-- i mean, recall when the president with osama bin laden facing his maker, that was seen as a great achievement and his own numbers went up and enhanced his leadership. i don't think there's any question if either one of these-- let alone both-- worked out it would be very much to his advantage. >> woodruff: we are going to leave it there, mark shields ramesh ponnuru, thank you. >> thank you, judyçó >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: with a government shutdown three days away, the senate passed a bill to stopgap spending bill,
but it was unclear if the house would go along. and a u.n.-sponsored scientific group issued new earnings on global warming, and said it's 95% certain that human activity is the main cause. online, how do americans engage with the arts? apparently by doing "the hustle." a new national endowment for the arts survey tracks how much we dance, read poetry, go to museums and make art. find the results on art beat. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. before we go, a reminder about some upcoming programs from our pbs colleagues. gwen is off preparing for "washington week," which airs later this evening. here's a preview: >> ifill: so much to talk about tonight, from why today's senate vote really wasn't about health care, to why were suddenly negotiating with iran and syria. we go behind the scenes. later tonight on washington week. judy? >> woodruff: and coming up saturday. hari sreenivasan and the team in new york have a story of a
billion dollar private project to build a new palestinian city in the hills of the west bank. that's on "pbs newshour" weekend tomorrow night. then, right here, on monday the latest on efforts to pass açó government spending plan as the clock approaches a new fiscal year. i'm judy woodruff. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. >> 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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