tv Matter of Fact With Soledad O Brien NBC January 6, 2019 5:00am-5:31am PST
>> this week on "matter of fact" -- >> do you think there is a concern that the supreme court seems to becoming more politically polarized? >> we're not beholden to any president. >> justice sonia sotomayor warns that extreme partisanship is ripping apart of the fabric of america. >> one third of young people believe don't believe that democracy is important. that is more troubling to me than anything else. >> what's her plan to fix it? and he's baaack. lin manuel miranda brings hamilton to puerto rico. >> are you excited to be back in the role? are you rusty? lin manuel: i'm really looking forward to being onstage again. >> but his return hits a security snag? it's a new year and that means thousands of new laws around the
country. hunters in illinois, you can now wear pink. soledad: i'm soledad o'brien. welcome to matter of fact. when google released its top "how to" searches for 2018, number one was "how to vote" and number two was "how to register to vote." that's just the latest evidence that when it comes to understanding how government works, most americans would get a failing grade. a 2018 survey by the annenberg public policy center found more than two-thirds of americans can not name the three branches of government. 3 in four americans can name all three stooges. and less than half the public can name a single supreme court justice. sandra day o'connor, the first woman to serve on the high court was concerned people didn't understand the basics of government. so ten years ago, she founded
i-civics, a non-partisan, non profit that teaches civics education to students using technology and games to make the lessons more engaging. today, justice sonia sotomayor, who's the first latina on the high court and a member of the i-civics board, has taken up the challenge. so nice to have you with us. what a pleasure. if we were to go out in the street and talk to people about civics, i guarantee you nine out of 10 would roll their eyes and harken back to some teacher lecturing them in seventh grade and think, boring. you have worked hard to change the presentation about civics. x it is all about games. we have 19 games that teach civics. the kids play those games and
learn about the government. one of the most popular games, the characters on the videogame are lawyers and clients with potential problems and they go to the lawyer and tell the lawyer their problem and they ask the lawyer, do they have a claim? the lawyer tells them yes or no. the lawyer is the students playing the game. it is a real-life participation. soledad: after the parkland day shooting, emma gonzalez emerged out of the shooting and because of what she had been learning in her ap government class, they were debating the issues about guns. she said some discussions on the subject occurred during the shooting while students were in the closet. talking about how because they had been trained and in the state of florida, civics has
been mandated. >> returning civic education to schools. it is one of the states that uses the i-civics games. the students involved in civic education training are more likely to stay involved and it improves their literacy skills. these students are proven to do better because they understand more the value of education. it's quite ironic that many of the school systems in the united states are requiring their students to pass a citizenship test. how ironic that people who are becoming citizens know more about our government than citizens who already exist. soledad: what compelled you to come in and take over some of the work of justice sandra day
o'connor? >> she was my role model. we are about 20 years apart in age. in 1979 when i graduated from law school, there were no women on the supreme court or the highest court of new york, and there were very few women who were judges. the number of women lawyers was small as well. i was entering the profession that i was not sure was welcoming of women. sandra day o'connor gave me hope. not about becoming a justice, but making progress in the legal fashion and the hope i could achieve something worthwhile. soledad: did she reach out to you? what brought to win -- >> i wish i could say she did that directly. i did it to myself. i was at an event honoring her. the head of the i-civics
organization was speaking in her tribute explaining it in more detail. she came back to me and she said, justice o'connor is stepping back from public life. the board would love to have another justice be as active as justice o'connor was. soledad: once you gameify it and make them understand it is about current day laws, opportunities, rights -- >> we are in a deep crisis surrounding civic participation. for one of the most robust democracies in the world, we have one of the lowest voter registration and participation numbers in the world. there is hope. look at the long lines people stand on to vote. despite horrible weather, i have
watched mines in florida with the heat beating down on people. they don't leave. they stay. what we have to go back to is exciting people, about their voice and government. soledad: can civics help heal the extreme partisan divide in america? more of my conversation. more of my conversation. ok i'll admit. i didn't keep my place as clean as i would like 'cuz i'm way too busy. who's got the time to chase around down dirt, dust and hair? so now, i use heavy duty swiffer sweeper and dusters. for hard-to-reach places, duster makes it easy to clean. it captures dust in one swipe. ha! gotcha! and (new) sweeper heavy duty cloths lock away a twice as much dirt and dust. it gets stuff deep in the grooves other tools can miss. you know what? my place is a lot cleaner now. stop cleaning. start swiffering.
okay. careful not to get it in her eyes. i know, i know what a bath is... smile honey. this thing is like... first kid. here we go. second kid. you coming in mommy? ahh not a chance! by their second kid, every parent is an expert and more likely to choose luvs than first time parents. luvs with nightlock plus absorbs wetness faster than huggies snug and dry for outstanding overnight protection at a fraction of the cost. live, learn and get luvs. we continue with more of my conversation with supreme court justice sonia sotomayor. you've correlated the sort of hostile tone in the country right now. and what the rand ceo and president calls "truth decay." where sort of no one agrees to a set of facts anymore it seems to a lack of civics education. how do you make that connection? ms. sotomayor: i think myself
included and most people my age or close to it do remember studying social studies. now the percentage of classroom time devoted to social studies is about 7 percent. that's at a historic low. what happened? if you look at the history of the decline of social studies in schools across the country, you will start noticing the rise of partisanship and the decrease in civic participation. the two are directly correlated if people don't understand that their voice is important, not just in the polling booth because that's one aspect of civic participation the other is in expressing their views on issues. soledad: the top google searches this past midterm election was
how to vote and how to register to vote. which to me was like a little late in the game people. >> were actually thinking about developing a game called how to vote. it is pretty sad. fifty percent of the population can't name one supreme court justice. and of that 50 percent who can name somebody it's not somebody currently on the court. thurgood marshall was one of the more popular picks. soledad: yes. and he is no longer on the court. ms. sotomayor: and 15 percent of the population can name the chief justice john roberts. those are sad statistics. soledad: i really want to bang my head into this table that's depressing. ms. sotomayor: what's a worst statistic of all. one third of young people believe don't believe that democracy is important in the united states. that's a shocking figure that is more troubling to me than anything else. soledad: chief justice roberts was responding to something that the president had said he called someone an obama judge and he said this quote we do not have obama judges or trump judges
bush judges or clinton judges. we have an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. how do you remove politics from something that is teed up politically? ms. sotomayor: our founding fathers figured it out give us lifetime tenure. we're not beholden to any president. no president can remove us from office if they're unhappy with the way we're voting. soledad: you recently were at the capital paying tribute to john mccain. who did not support your confirmation? ms. sotomayor: that is absolutely true. soledad: and a lot of people were like why go? for someone who literally could not have been more clear that he did not think you should be a supreme court justice. ms. sotomayor: he was a great patriot. and he was a war hero and he served our country with all of his being til the very last breath he took. so how could you not admire a
person like that? soledad: supreme court justice sonia sotomayor. so nice to chat with you. thank you. >> when we come back. stepping back on stage >> why did you decided to get back in the role on the stage in puerto rico? >> initially it was purely selfish. i love puerto rico. >> lin manuel miranda hopes hamilton will help rebuild the hurricane ravaged island. and nasa goes into deep space to find this? >> kind of looks like a lumpy snowman. >> what this important discover can tell us about the origins of our solar system.
soledad: lin-manuel miranda's highly-anticipated return to the stage as "alexander hamilton" in puerto rico has hit a snag. the musical, set to open this week, will no longer be held at the university of puerto rico. it's changing venues over security concerns. some students and staff are expected to protest the show because of budget cuts to the school. the change is also forcing organizers to reschedule some performances. but as they say in showbiz, the show must go on. miranda is hoping the production will bring in millions of dollars to help puerto rico rebuild after hurricane maria. which killed more than 2900 people. and caused an estimated 102-billion dollars in damages. i recently spoke with lin-manuel and his father, luis about their goals for the musical. and the island. tell me why hamilton in puerto rico you haven't been in the lead role in hamilton in a little bit. lin manuel miranda: two and a
half years and a while. soledad: doing other things so why did you decide to get back in the role on the stage in puerto rico. lin manuel miranda: well initially it was purely selfish. i love puerto rico. i brought my first broadway show in the heights to puerto rico was the first actors equity show ever to go to puerto rico and that was the most satisfying week as an actor i have experienced so i knew i wanted to experience that again with hamilton. and then in the wake of maria it became oh this is actually a way to do a lot of good for an island that needs it. so we sort of quickly pivoted and figured out how can we actually do the maximum amount of good for artists in puerto rico while we're there. so it's important to support them as well luis a. miranda jr.: and for us it was not either or. it was and. so we're going to support housing and health and all of those important needs that puerto ricans have. we're also going to support the arts. soledad: what's the status right now of puerto rico for many of us who just watch it from a distance of course all the video is just of left over disaster and devastation.
how's puerto rico doing? lin manuel miranda: i think i think in a lot of ways it's still reeling. we were extraordinarily lucky not to have a major weather event this hurricane season. and yet, if there is a storm alert the stores get emptied. i mean there is a lot there's a great deal of trauma that is still being processed. name another american city that could have lasted months and months without power. it's extraordinary how resilient -- luis a. miranda jr.: if you go to san juan, things are better it's like anyplace. if you go to the main urban place things are better when you go to the island. you continue to see how so much needs to be done. we just came back from a coffee initiative where we went to the center of the island were coffee growers are still struggling. lin manuel miranda: and starting from scratch because of the because of maria and how it wiped out crops. soledad: so there you guys are working to help sort of rebuild
the coffee business. but there's a lot of other businesses that need to come back. what you're doing through hamilton in puerto rico is really putting on a performance with puerto rican stars for the people of puerto rico. lin manuel miranda: well it's actually it's a new company of hamilton. actually this is our third national tour, i'm playing it for the three weeks and then that tour goes on to sit in san francisco. it is the first time we've premiered a national tour of anything in puerto rico. so it's sort of a three week how much good can we do while we're here try out. soledad: and a lot of good if you can sell tickets to hamilton. yeah. at slightly marked up prices. because that's the goal right to underwrite the flamboyan arts center. is to really kind of fund it that way. lin manuel miranda: puerto rico represents the largest lottery we've ever done. all three wednesday matinees. every ticket will be ten dollars. luis a. miranda jr.: yeah and we sold out in one day in the island by having this twenty three locations throughout
the island and now really looking forward to see manuel back as hamilton. soledad: absolutely, absolutely. are you excited to be back in the role? are you rusty? lin manuel miranda: i've got, yes. full stop yes. but i've also been nervous most of the year. we had to get through this hurricane season. we had to get through the ticket sales and making sure that that happened in a way that you know. and thank goodness it played out that way. really prioritized people on the island yet still raised money for the foundation. what i keep trying to remind myself is even at the peak of hamilton craziness in 2016 my most relaxing three hours were on stage. the only time in my life where i only have one job i get to be hamilton and i get to eat this 14 course meal of a life for two hours and 45 minutes so i'm i'm really looking forward to being onstage again. soledad: excellent. thank you, guys. pretty cool. >> coming up next. one state lowers the drunk driving limit. while another raises the minimum wage.
soledad: now to a weekly feature we like to call "we're paying attention even if you're too busy." the new year means new laws across the country. just in california alone, there are more than one-thousand new laws taking effect. including a new law requiring all publicly-traded companies headquartered in the state to have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of the year. several states also have new laws on sexual harassment in the wake of the "me too" scandals. in virginia, legislators and their staffs must undergo sexual harassment training. utah is now home to the nation's
lowest blood alcohol content standard for drunk driving -- at .05. that's as little as one drink for most women and three drinks for most men. and some good news for low wage workers, several cities and states are boosting their minimum wage requirements. in new york city, the minimum wage will jump to 15-dollars an hour for all businesses with more than ten employees. that's more than twice the current federal minimum wage. and hunters in illinois, can now wear pink. thanks to a new law that expanded the list of acceptable colors for hunting safety clothing which had previously only included bright orange. >> when we return. a snowman 4 billion miles away. could it unlock secrets about our solar system? soledad: finally this week on
we recently got our first look at ultima thule but it was snapped during a dizzying fly by at 32 thousand miles per hour. now scientists are getting higher resolution images of the icy object. like this picture. that kind of looks like a lumpy snowman. nasa says ultima thule is not really one object, but two lobes that are touching. what's known as contact binary in space terms. in 2006 the spacecraft "new horizons" set out on a journey to explore pluto in what's called the kuiper belt. now 13 years and more than four billion miles later. the spacecraft has given us the first glimpse of a distant object that could help scientists understand the origins of our solar system. in the kuiper belt millions of tiny frozen objects orbit the sun, and they're so cold and so tiny they're thought to be essentially frozen in time, preserved from the early days of the solar system.
robert handa: hello, and welcome to "asian pacific america." i'm robert handa, your host for our show here on nbc bay area and cozi tv. we hope you're having a great holiday season. we start with a very unique touching film, "paper lanterns," a story about remembering survivors of the atomic bomb on hiroshima. then we visit with friends, coffee, and tea, a training program by friends of children with special needs. next, a look back at our visit to 7 mile house, where american stagecoach history meets filipino culture. and we end with a bang, another look back at our segment on 50 years of san francisco taiko dojo. "paper lanterns" is a very original film. not sure i've heard anyone try to tell the story before