tv 60 Minutes CBS November 13, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> kroft: good things can happen if you're a powerful member of congress. take nancy pelosi. while speaker of the house, she and her husband were offered and accepted an insider's opportunity to invest in a credit card company, just as tough legislation affecting the industry was making its way through the house. did you consider that to be a conflict of interest? >> i... i don't know what your point is of your question. is there some point that you want to make with that? >> kroft: well, i... i guess what i'm asking is, do you think it's all right for a speaker to accept a very preferential favorable stock deal? >> well, we didn't.
>> martin: what you're seeing is a traffic stop and a police officer relying on a taser, a weapon that is being used more and more all over the country. >> i have no idea why you are... >> step out of the vehicle. >> martin: tasers use electricity to incapacitate a suspect. >> ( screaming ) >> martin: the question is, are they being used too often? >> get to the back of the vehicle! >> ( screaming ) >> give yourselves a hand. keep working hard. >> pitts: freeman hrabowski has an unusual name and a fascinating life. at the age of 12, he was thrown in jail during a civil rights march. >> he spat in my face and threw me into the paddy wagon. >> pitts: at 15, he was admitted to college. and for the past two decades, he's been president of one of america's most innovative universities. >> i don't care how smart you are, nothing takes the place of hard work. >> pitts: but even with all of that, there was one question we
needed to ask first. how does a black man get a name like "hrabowski"? >> ( laughs ) >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm morley safer. >> i'm bob simon. >> i'm byron pitts. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." [ male announcer ] you've climbed a few mountains during your time. and having a partner like northern trust -- one of the nation's largest wealth managers -- makes all the difference. our goals-based investment strategies are tailored to your needs and overseen by experts who seek to maximize opportunities while minimizing risk. after all, you don't climb a mountain just to sit at the top. you lookround for other mountains to climb. ♪ expertise matters. find it at northern trust.
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what's in the mail? well, it just might surprise you. because this is how people and business connect. feeling safe and secure that important letters and information don't get lost in thin air. or disappear with a click. but are delivered. from person to person. and, sometimes, even face to face. have a great day. you too. for some of the best ways to connect and protect... it's all in the mail. learn more at usps.com/mail. >> kroft: the next national election is now less than a year away, and congressmen and senators are expending much of their time and their energy raising the millions of dollars
in campaign funds they'll need just to hold onto a job that pays $174,000 a year. few of them are doing it for the salary, and all of them will say they are doing it to serve the public. but there are other benefits: power, prestige, and the opportunity to become a washington insider with access to information and connections that no one else has in an environment of privilege where rules that govern the rest of the country don't always apply to them. most former congressmen and senators manage to leave washington, if they ever leave washington, with more money in their pockets than they had when they arrived. and as you are about to see, the biggest challenge is often avoiding temptation. >> peter schweizer: this is a venture opportunity. this is an opportunity to leverage your position in public service, and use that position to enrich yourself, your friends, and your family. >> kroft: peter schweizer is a fellow at the hoover institution, a conservative think tank at stanford university.
a year ago, he began working on a book about soft corruption in washington with a team of eight student researchers, who reviewed financial disclosure records. the results became a jumping off point for our own story, and we have independently verified the material we've used. schweizer says he wanted to know why some congressmen and senators managed to accumulate significant wealth beyond their salaries, and proved particularly adept at buying and selling stocks. >> schweizer: there are all sorts of forms of honest grafts that congressmen engage in that allow them to become very, very wealthy. so it's not illegal, but i think it's highly unethical, i think it's highly offensive and wrong. >> kroft: what do you mean, "honest graft"? >> schweizer: for example, insider trading on the stock market. if you are a member of congress, those laws are deemed not to apply. >> kroft: so congressman get a pass on insider trading? >> schweizer: they do. the fact is, if you sit on the healthcare committee and you know that medicare, for example, is... is considering not reimbursing for a certain drug,
that's market-moving information. and if you can trade stock on... off of that information, and do so legally, that's a great profit-making opportunity. and that sort of behavior goes on. >> kroft: why does congress get a pass on this? >> schweizer: it's really the way the rules have been defined. and the people who make the rules are the political class in washington. and they've conveniently written them in such a way that they don't apply to themselves. >> kroft: the buying and selling of stock by corporate insiders who have access to non public information that could affect the stock price can be a criminal offense. just ask hedge fund manager raj rajaratnam, who recently got 11 years in prison for doing it. but congressional lawmakers have no corporate responsibilities and have long been considered exempt from insider trading laws, even though they have daily access to non-public information and plenty of opportunities to trade on it. >> schweizer: we know that, during the healthcare debate, people were trading healthcare stocks. we know that, during the financial crisis of 2008, they
were getting out of the market before the rest of america really knew what was going on. >> kroft: in mid-september 2008, with the dow jones industrial average still above 10,000, treasury secretary hank paulson and federal reserve chairman ben bernanke were holding closed door briefings with congressional leaders, and privately warning them that a global financial meltdown could occur within a few days. one of those attending was alabama representative spencer bachus, then the ranking republican member on the house financial services committee, and now its chairman. >> schweizer: these meetings were so sensitive that they would actually confiscate cell phones and blackberries going into those meetings. what we know is that those meetings were held one day and, literally, the next day, congressman bachus would engage in buying stock options based on apocalyptic briefings he had the day before from the fed chairman and treasury secretary. i mean, talk about a stock tip. >> kroft: while congressman
bachus was publicly trying to keep the economy from cratering, he was privately betting that it would, buying option funds that would go up in value if the market went down. he would make a variety of trades, and profited at a time when most americans were losing their shirts. congressman bachus declined to talk to us, so we went to his office and ran into his press secretary, tim johnson. look, we're not alleging that congressman bachus has violated any laws. all... the only thing we're interested in talking to him about is his trades. >> tim johnson: okay, that's a fair enough request. >> kroft: what we got was a statement from congressman bachus' office that he never trades on non-public information or financial services stock. however, his financial disclosure forms seem to indicate otherwise. bachus made money trading general electric stock during the crisis, and a third of g.e.'s business is in financial services. during the healthcare debate of 2009, members of congress were trading healthcare stocks, including house minority leader
john boehner, who led the opposition against the so-called "public option," government funded insurance that would compete with private companies. just days before the provision was finally killed off, boehner bought health insurance stocks, all of which went up. now speaker of the house, congressman boehner also declined to be interviewed, so we tracked him down at his weekly press conference. speaker boehner. you made a number of trades going back to the healthcare debate. you bought some insurance stock. did you make those trades based on non-public information? >> john boehner: i have not made any decisions on day-to-day trading activities in my account, and haven't for years. i don't... i do not do it, haven't done it and wouldn't do it. >> kroft: later, boehner's spokesman told us that the healthcare trades were made by the speaker's financial advisor, who he only consults with about once a year. >> schweizer: we need to find out whether they're part of a blind trust or not. >> kroft: peter schweizer thinks
the timing is suspicious, and believes congressional leaders should have their stock funds in blind trusts. >> schweizer: whether it's $15,000 or $150,000, the principle, in my mind, is that it's simply wrong and it shouldn't take place. >> kroft: but there is a long history of self-dealing in washington, and it doesn't always involve stock trades. congressmen and senators also seem to have a special knack for land and real estate deals. when illinois congressman dennis hastert became speaker of the house in 1999, he was worth a few hundred thousand dollars. he left the job eight years later a multi-millionaire. >> jan strasma: the road that hastert wants to build will go through these farm fields right here. >> kroft: in 2005, speaker hastert got a $207 million federal earmark to build the prairie parkway through these cornfields near his home. what jan strasma and his neighbors didn't know was that hastert had also bought some land adjacent to where the highway is supposed to go. >> strasma: and five months
after this earmark went through, he sold that land and made a bundle of money. >> kroft: how much? >> strasma: $2 million. >> kroft: what do you think of it? >> strasma: it stinks. >> kroft: we stopped by the former speaker's farm to ask him about the land deal, but he was off in washington where he now works as a lobbyist. his office told us that property values in the area began to appreciate even before the earmark, and that the hastert land was several miles from the nearest exit. but the same good fortune befell former new hampshire senator judd gregg, who helped steer nearly $70 million in government funds towards redeveloping this defunct air force base, which he and his brother both had a commercial interest in. gregg has said that he violated no congressional rules. it's but one more example of good things happening to powerful members of congress. another is the access to initial public stock offerings, the opportunity to buy a new stock at insider prices just as it goes on the market.
they can be incredibly lucrative and hard to get. >> schweizer: if you were a senator, steve, and i gave you $10,000 cash, one or both of us is probably going to go to jail. but if i'm a corporate executive and you're a senator, and i give you i.p.o. shares in stock, and over the course of one day, that stock nets you $100,000, that's completely legal. >> kroft: and former house speaker nancy pelosi and her husband have participated in at least eight i.p.o.s. one of those came in 2008, from visa, just as a troublesome piece of legislation that would have hurt credit card companies began making its way through the house. undisturbed by a potential conflict of interest, the pelosis purchased 5,000 shares of visa at the initial price of $44. two days later, it was trading at $64. the credit card legislation never made it to the floor of the house. congresswoman pelosi also declined our request for an interview, but agreed to call on us if we attended her news
conference. madam leader, i wanted to ask you why you and your husband, back in march of 2008, accepted and participated in a very large i.p.o. deal from visa at a time there was major legislation affecting the credit card companies making its way through the... through the house. >> nancy pelosi: but... >> kroft: and did you consider that to be a conflict of interest? >> pelosi: the... i... i don't know what your point is of your question. is there some point that you want to make with that? >> kroft: well, i... i guess what i'm asking is, do you think it's all right for a speaker to accept a very preferential favorable stock deal? >> pelosi: well, we didn't. >> kroft: you participated in the i.p.o., and at the time, you were speaker of the house. you don't think it was a conflict of interest or had the appearance... >> pelosi: no, it was not. >> kroft: ...of a conflict of interest? >> pelosi: it doesn't... it only has appearance if you decide that you're going to have... elaborate on a false premise. but it... it's not true and that's that. >> kroft: i don't understand what part's not true.
>> pelosi: yes, sir... that... that i would act upon an investment. >> kroft: congresswoman pelosi pointed out that the tough credit card legislation eventually passed, but it was two years later and was initiated in the senate. >> pelosi: i will hold my record in terms of fighting the credit card companies as speaker of the house or as a member of congress up against anyone's. >> kroft: corporate executives, members of the executive branch, and all federal judges are subject to strict conflict of interest rules. but not the people who write the laws. >> schweizer: if you are a member of congress and you sit on the defense committee, you are free to trade defense stock as much as you want to. if you're on the senate banking committee, you can trade bank stock as much as you want, and that regularly goes on in... in all these committees. >> brian baird: there should only be one thing in your mind when you're drafting legislation-- is this good for the united states of america? that's it. if you're starting to say to yourself, "how's this going to affect my investments?" you've
got... you've got a mixed agenda and a mixed purpose for being there. >> kroft: brian baird is a former congressman from washington state who served six terms in the house before retiring last year. he spent half of those 12 years trying to get his colleagues to prohibit insider trading in congress and establish some rules governing conflicts of interest. >> baird: one line in a bill in congress can be worth millions and millions of dollars. there was one night, we had a late, late night caucus, and you could kind of tell how a vote was going to go the next day. i literally walked home and i thought, "man, if you... if you went online and made some significant trades, you could make a lot of money on this." you... you could just see it. you could see the potential here. >> kroft: so in 2004, baird and congresswoman louise slaughter introduced the stock act, which would make it illegal for members of congress to trade stocks on non-public information, and require them to report their stock trades every 90 days instead of once a year. how far did you get with this? >> baird: we didn't get
anywhere. just flat died. went nowhere. >> kroft: how many co-sponsors did you get? >> baird: i think we got six. >> kroft: six doesn't sound like a very big amount. >> baird: it's not, steve. you... you could have national cherry pie week and get 100 cosponsors. >> kroft: when baird finally managed to get a congressional hearing on the stock act, almost no one showed up. it's reintroduced every session, but is buried so deep in the capitol, we had trouble finding congressmen who had ever heard of it. have you ever heard of the stock act? >> the what? >> kroft: the stock act. do you know anything about it? >> no. >> kroft: congressman. congressman. >> i haven't heard about that one yet. >> kroft: have you ever heard of something called the stock act? >> no. >> i've heard about, but not... i can't say it's an issue i've spent a lot of time on. >> i would have no problem with that. >> kroft: okay. >> but then again, i am big fan of, you know, instant disclosure on almost everything. >> kroft: they're looking for co-sponsors. >> and yet, i've never heard of it. >> baird: when you have a bill like this that makes so much
sense and you can't get the co- sponsorships, you can't get the leadership to move, it gets tremendously frustrating. set aside that it's the right thing to do-- it's good politics. people want their congress to function well. ( laughs ) it still baffles me. >> kroft: but what baffles baird even more is that the situation has gotten worse. in the past few years, a whole new, totally unregulated $100 million industry has grown up in washington called political intelligence. it employs former congressmen and former staffers to scour the halls of the capitol, gathering valuable non-public information, then selling it to hedge funds and traders on wall street who can trade on it. >> baird: now, if you're a political intel guy, and you get that information long before it's public, long before somebody wakes up the next morning and reads or watches the television or whatever, you've got it, and you can make real... real-time trades before anybody
else. >> kroft: baird says its taken what would be a criminal enterprise anyplace else in the country and turned it into a profitable business model. >> baird: the town is all about people saying, "what do you know that i don't know?" this is the currency of washington, d.c., and it's that kind of informational currency that translates into real currency. maybe it's over drinks, maybe somebody picks up a phone and says, you know, "just to let you know, it's in the bill." trades happen. can't trace them. if you can trace them, it's not illegal. it's a pretty great system. you feel like an idiot to not take advantage of it. >> go to 60minutesovertime.com to see more of steve kroft's attempts to find answers in washington. sponsored by lipitor. i'd race down that hill without a helmet. i took some steep risks in my teens. i'd never ride without one now. and since my doctor prescribed lipitor, i won't go without it for my high cholesterol
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>> kroft: now, cbs news correspondent david martin on assignment for "60 minutes." >> martin: the hottest thing in police work these days is the taser, a device which sends painful jolts of electricity into the human body, throwing muscles into uncontrollable spasms. police see it as a whole new way of controlling people without injuring either themselves or the suspect. frequently, the mere sight of a taser will convince a criminal to give up without a fight. it's so effective, police are sometimes too quick to use it, subjecting people to excruciating pain for no good reason. some have even died after being hit by a taser. whatever you think of taser after watching this story, you better get used to it.
taser is now used by more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies in the u.s. it all started when two brothers, rick and tom smith, founded taser international and set out to corner the stun gun market. >> tom smith: we believe in what we're doing. we have changed the world. very few people can say that. >> martin: by tom smith's count, more than 500,000 law enforcement officers in the united states now carry tasers. he and his brother rick have taken what began as a backyard experiment and built it into a policeman's weapon of choice, a device which uses electricity to subdue unruly suspects without having to resort to the blunt force of a billy club or the deadly force of a firearm. >> rick smith: the idea of using electricity to incapacitate, at its core, is, frankly, a beautiful and simplistic idea. that, rather than causing death or injury to someone, if we can just temporarily take away control of their body and get them under control, it's about
as non-violent as you could get. >> martin: the taser uses compressed gas to fire two small darts attached to copper wires. when they pierce the skin, the electric current flows through the body, seizing up the muscles, and sending the suspect crashing to the ground screaming in pain. >> geoffrey alpert: this is a whole new device. it's a whole new way to control people. >> martin: geoffrey alpert has written what, to date, is the definitive study of taser use for the national institute of justice. >> alpert: when used properly, a taser is a very effective tool in law enforcement. >> martin: well, then i guess the question is, do police use a taser properly? >> alpert: well, that's the million dollar question. >> martin: alpert's study found instances of what he calls "lazy cop syndrome," using the taser instead of proper police procedures. so, taser is now the go-to weapon? >> alpert: yes, sir, we see, very often, that taser is the... is what officers turn to very quickly now in an encounter. >> martin: are they using them too quickly? >> alpert: some are.
some are using them way too fast. >> martin: one of the police departments alpert studied was austin, texas, where a police officer was suspended for three days after this traffic stop. >> i have no idea why you are asking... >> get out of the vehicle. take off your seat belt off and step out of the vehicle. >> martin: the driver had going five miles over the speed limit. >> i have no idea why you're... >> get to the back of the vehicle and put your hands on the door! >> hey! >> get to the back of the vehicle! ( screaming ) >> martin: las vegas was one of the first big city police departments to issue tasers to cops on the beat. marcus martin, the department's chief taser instructor, says that, in the first year, they were used more than twice as often as they are now. >> marcus martin: when you consider, in 2004, we had 573 uses. we're down to 247 at the end of 2010. >> david martin: does that say officers were too quick to reach for the taser at first? >> marcus martin: i can only be frank with you. i think there might have been those instances.
but that's the same with any tool that comes along. again, we have to go back and we have to train that out of those officers. >> david martin: with all its high-roller entertainment and hard-party glitz, las vegas may be the only city in america where police end up in a standoff with a suicidal elvis impersonator. and casualties are down on both sides. the number of suspects who had to be taken to the hospital after they were arrested has gone down every year since taser was brought in, and so has the number of policemen injured. >> marcus martin: right now, taser's... appears to be the best tool out there. and it's changed the face of police work forever. >> david martin: that's a bold statement. >> marcus martin: that is a bold statement. >> david martin: why do you make a statement like that? >> marcus martin: there's a lot of misinformation out there, but the real information eventually does come out. the truth does come out that this person is alive today and that person is alive today, or this police officer is not harmed today because of this less-than-lethal device.
>> david martin: the first taser was invented by space scientist jack cover. he designed it to look like a flashlight, fired it using gunpowder, and named it for one of his science fiction heroes, the thomas a. swift electric rifle-- taser. the smith brothers struck a deal with cover, and then they re- engineered his weapon. they drew straws and went out in the backyard to take the first hits from their new improved taser-- first tom, then rick-- standing in a pool of water. today, they run a worldwide business from their over-the-top headquarters in scottsdale, arizona, which the smith brothers designed from the ground up as a corporate statement. >> tom smith: this is an iris scanner. >> identification is completed. >> tom smith: allows access to the building without the need for keys. >> david martin: they don't have those at the pentagon, you know. >> tom smith: i did not know that. >> david martin: it is part fortress, part tribute to "star trek". >> tom smith: we, certainly, again, wanted that projection of high-tech, that we're on a
cutting edge. we're making things that are, you know, right out of hollywood. we're the wired version of a "star trek" phaser. >> david martin: the smith brothers may not have invented the taser, but they certainly turned it into the household name it is today. they took a device that had been fired by gunpowder and converted it to compressed gas. that freed them from all the regulations which govern the use of firearms, and turned taser into a $100 million a year company. in the eyes of federal regulators, getting rid of the gunpowder converted taser from a firearm to a run-of-the-mill consumer product, and that allowed the smith brothers to corner the market. >> alpert: it moved it from a regulated weapon to an unregulated tool that allowed not only police officers but civilians to use them without any kind of mandated training or with any kind of mandated rules. >> david martin: the production line turns out 100,000 tasers a year with a combination of one- of-a-kind technology and old- fashioned manual assembly, all the way down to attaching the
darts to their wires. how much of a jolt does it put out? it's putting out about 2.1 milli-amps. it's a very, very low current. the battery that runs this is basically the same battery that would run a digital camera. >> david martin: so, while the voltage is high, the amount of electricity or current the taser puts out is low. and that's the difference between being electrocuted and living to tell about it. >> frederick bealefeld: i'm not a huge fan. >> david martin: baltimore's police commissioner, frederick bealefeld, may be taser's most reluctant customer. >> bealefeld: i recognize, one, the utility of this device. it makes the public safer in a lot of situations. it has helped contribute, in some measure, to reductions of deadly force. >> david martin: but you're not a fan? >> bealefeld: on a personal level, no. i'm absolutely not a fan. >> david martin: bealefeld is a third-generation cop who believes there are better ways than taser to avoid the use of force. >> bealefeld: if you don't
emphasize the training, and that's a key component, and the oversight, the use of them, it could lead you down a path of over-dependence on that device. that's been a chief concern that i've had-- that we don't substitute our basic responsibility to a short-cutted method of deploying a taser to get people to comply. >> david martin: and he believes that, even though the baltimore police department has used tasers for over ten years... >> bealefeld: ...even now, less than 500 of the devices deployed across the whole police department. i have 2,800 sworn members. >> david martin: what do the ones who don't get taser think about it? >> bealefeld: they're clamoring for them. >> david martin: officer james mccartin has carried a taser for three years. do they all want it? >> james mccartin: i think everybody wants one, yes. >> david martin: you know they're not all going to get it. i just talked to the commissioner. >> mccartin: well, i got mine.
>> david martin: sergeant harvey baublitz, who patrols baltimore's inner harbor, with its tourists and nightlife, has only used his once, but it frequently comes in handy. >> harvey baublitz: the carrying it, the having it with you is a big deterrent down here. you get large crowds, protests, maybe some of the clubs maybe get out of hand. they see it, they want to go. they don't want to play with it. >> david martin: taser is well- known to the youtube generation. millions of people went online to watch the famous "don't tase me, bro" incident, when a student disrupted a john kerry event at the university of florida in 2007. >> don't tase me, bro. ( screaming ) >> david martin: it looked like they had him under control. >> alpert: well, if those officers couldn't control him without using a taser, they need to be retrained and they need to be disciplined. >> david martin: alpert calls this video of a distraught man
refusing to go to the hospital "a sad day for law enforcement." ( screaming ) >> david martin: do you ever look at a taser on the internet and say "no, no, no. that is not how you use a taser?" >> rick smith: yeah. there have been cases where you look at it and you go, "boy," you know, "what were they thinking?" >> david martin: and then there are the tragic but rare cases like that of 17-year-old darrell turner who, in 2008, was fired for stealing snacks from the grocery store where he worked. >> john burton: he's very upset. he thinks he's been treated unfairly. >> david martin: john burton is an attorney representing turner's family in a lawsuit against taser. >> burton: he'll push this display off the counter, here. >> david martin: police were called. >> burton: now, here's an officer who's pulled his taser out already, as he's walked in the store. now, you can see the laser sight of the taser on his chest.
and now, he's tased. >> david martin: but turner doesn't go down. the darts are too close together and don't incapacitate enough muscles. so the police officer keeps tasing him. >> burton: and now, he is collapsed on the floor and he never moves again. i think the only explanation is that the electrical shocks from the taser device caused this young man to... to have cardiac arrest and die. >> david martin: a jury agreed and awarded $10 million to turner's family, a verdict taser has asked the judge to set aside. taser has been sued 192 times for allegedly causing injury or death, and has lost only one other case. because the turner case is still in court, the smith brothers won't talk about it. but in other cases, they argue strenuously against assuming the electric shock is the cause of death. >> rick smith: that's a common sense thing people jump to, but let me take the argument from a different angle... >> david martin: what's wrong with common sense? >> rick smith: if people tend to overreact and immediately want to pin it on the electricity
because it's something they don't understand. >> david martin: police have tased nearly one and a half million suspects. according to amnesty international, 485 have died afterwards. >> rick smith: the vast majority of those, there was a clear other cause of death. it includes people who died of a cocaine overdose. if you neck it down to the cases where there is legitimate scientific debate that the taser may have caused the death, we're talking about less than 20 over a decade. >> david martin: in that same decade, taser has run off all its competitors, established a virtual monopoly among law enforcement agencies, and is now pushing into the consumer market. >> tom smith: you know, our intent is to make a tool that protects life. and those incidents are tragic, but it's unfortunate it happens. >> david martin: let's be fair about this. you're on a mission to save lives. you're also on a mission to sell tasers, correct? >> rick smith: that's true. >> david martin: if your intent is to sell tasers, the more
tasers out there, the better your business. why should we accept your statements on the safety of tasers? >> rick smith: you shouldn't. we are not impartial, we're not the experts, but the science is really pretty compelling that while tasers... we're not risk free, but we take the most dangerous situations and we make them safer. >> mitchell: good evening. opening the asia pacific summit in hawaii, president obama has said the region is critical to u.s. growth. emirates airlines will buy 50 boeing 777s for a record $18 billion. italy name a new prime minister, and "immortals" won at the weekend box office. i'm russ mitchell, cbs news.
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at bank of america, we're lending and investing in communities across the country, from helping to revitalize a neighborhood in brooklyn to financing industries that are creating jobs in boston or providing funding for the expansion of a local business serving a diverse seattle community and supporting training programs for tomorrow's workforce in los angeles. because the more we can do in local neighborhoods and communities, the more we can help make opportunity possible. >> pitts: we met a man with an unusual name you've probably never heard of, but his message about education and america's
future is something we thought you should know. freeman hrabowski says the united states is not producing enough scientists and engineers, professions critical to creating more jobs. hrabowski is president of the university of maryland, baltimore county. umbc, as its called, was once known primarily as a commuter school. today, this mid-sized state university has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative schools in the country, especially when it comes to getting students into math and science, and keeping them there. how freeman hrabowski got to umbc is a journey through american history. and there's a story in his name. i'm not sure how to phrase this in a delicate way, but how does a black man get a name like "hrabowski"? >> freeman hrabowski: ( laughs ) well, you're asking the question that most people just look at me and think, and they don't know how to ask it. my grandfather's grandfather was the polish slave master in rural alabama. >> pitts: and freeman? >> hrabowski: and freeman-- i am
the third, freeman hrabowski iii. and my grandfather was the first one born a free man, as opposed to having to be freed. >> pitts: freeman hrabowski was an only child. his parents were both educators. >> ♪ we shall overcome... >> pitts: he grew up in birmingham, alabama, when segregation was law and the civil rights movement was growing. >> this is birmingham, the south's mightiest industrial city, as the world knew it this week. >> pitts: in may 1963, hrabowski was in the children's march, organized by martin luther king, jr., a march made infamous when sheriff eugene "bull" connor unleashed dogs and fire hoses on the demonstrators. in the midst of it was 12-year- old freeman hrabowski, who had his own encounter with "bull" connor. >> hrabowski: he asked me, "what do you want, little negro?" i was so scared. and... big guy.
and i said, "we want to kneel and pray." all we wanted to do was to kneel and pray for our freedom. and he picked me up, he spat in my face, and threw me into the paddy wagon. >> pitts: he spit on you? >> hrabowski: he did, indeed. he did, indeed. it was an awful experience, and it took years for me to get over that. it taught me that even kids can make decisions that can have an impact on the rest of their lives. and it also taught me the importance of getting support from each other in that experience. it was frightening. i was there five days. >> pitts: in jail for five days? >> hrabowski: in jail for five days. it was awful. and yet, it was rich. >> pitts: hrabowski excelled in school. at age 12, he was in the ninth grade. at 15, he went to college, where he studied math and began a career devoted to higher education. since 1992, he's been president of umbc, a state university on the outskirts of baltimore. >> hrabowski: we want people to take ownership of umbc. >> pitts: he uses the lessons from that birmingham jail, of the importance of commitment and
support from others, as he leads the university today. >> hrabowski: there's this balance between being nurturing and supportive here at umbc, but also about setting very high standards. we are preparing students to compete against and work with people from all over the world. they're working, they're working hard, they're working very hard. this is interesting. we have to teach americans of all races, from all backgrounds, what it takes to be the best. and at the heart of it is the same thing we saw when we were kids-- hard work. nothing... i don't care how smart you are, nothing takes the place of hard work. >> pitts: much of the hard work at umbc is in science, engineering and math, which accounted for 41% of the bachelor's degrees earned there last year, well above the national average of 25%. nationwide, most college students who start off in the sciences either change to a different major or don't graduate. umbc keeps undergrads engaged by
including them in research typically left to graduate students. these students are investigating the secrets of h.i.v. >> hrabowski: we need hands-on experiences. we need to be encouraging that curiosity. and people cannot... should not be allowed simply to sit back and be bored. >> pitts: students can also get jobs and internships at one of 76 companies located on campus. most are technology startups. they get help growing their businesses, and tax credits, along with access to students and faculty. one thing you won't find at umbc... you had a chance to get a football team at umbc, right? and you said no? >> hrabowski: people talk about that. right. i mean, well... well, first of all, it takes a lot of money for a football team to win. >> pitts: hrabowski prefers to win on different playing fields. incoming freshman francois rice noticed right away. >> francois rice: it seems like everything's flipped, where you might go to another university and the football team might be top dog, here, it's the chess team that's top dog.
and it's... >> pitts: the chess team? >> rice: yeah, it's cool to be smart. >> pitts: rice is part of the 23rd incoming class of meyerhoff scholars, a program that recruits high achievers in math, science and engineering who are aiming for graduate degrees and careers in research. the meyerhoff scholars, what's that concept? >> hrabowski: it is that we can create a program that focuses on both excellence and inclusiveness, starting with african americans, and then hispanics, and now whites and asians, students of all races, who are excellent in science and engineering. we need people from all backgrounds, and meyerhoff says, "it can be done." >> pitts: the program started in 1988 when hrabowski teamed up with billionaire philanthropist robert meyerhoff. both men worried that african- american males were shut out from careers in the sciences from lack of opportunity, not talent. over the years, the program expanded to all students, and
helped put umbc and hrabowski on the map of higher education. >> rahel zeman: i love sciences, math are definitely my passions. there's, like, so many... >> pitts: you're passionate about math and science? >> zeman: oh, definitely. >> pitts: rahel zeman, debra silver and eleban ortiz are all interested in medical research. michael roberts and francois rice want to be mechanical engineers. >> time's up. put your bags down. >> pitts: to get them jumpstarted, umbc runs a summer boot camp for the new meyerhoff scholars, with surprising rules for such a high-tech generation. >> zeman: there's no cell phones, no laptop, no facebook, no electronics. >> rice: no headphones. >> zeman: there's just so many, but the point is, they want us to be socializing and... and form real bonds and relationships with each other. >> it requires energy to dissolve. >> pitts: for six weeks, they work hard, but the most important lesson they get is how to work together.
the key to success, they're told, is collaboration, not competition. to reinforce the idea, the 72 young scholars are required to learn together, study together, live together, and move around campus together, literally. gaps in the line are not allowed. >> eleban ortiz: you could be worried, you know, "oh, i might not make it" or stuff. but then, there's the 72 people right around you saying that you can do it. >> zeman: we have 72 teachers all around us. it just makes such a difference that i love. >> pitts: "72 teachers"-- that's how you describe your classmates. >> zeman: definitely, definitely. because i... i can safely say that we can all learn from each other and teach each other. >> hrabowski: we make this assumption that either math and science are for you or they're not. you know, i get goosebumps doing math. i always have. >> pitts: goosebumps? >> hrabowski: goosebumps. i always have. students laugh at me, but my students get goosebumps doing math and science. we love it. >> kafui dzirasa: he always tells this story about, you know, 19 years old and graduated from college, and how he used to
get goosebumps doing math problems. and all i can remember as a 17- year-old thinking to myself was, "i never want to be like that." ( laughter ) >> pitts: anybody but that guy. >> dzirasa: yeah. >> pitts: kafui dzirasa loved to take apart computers as a kid, and says he breezed through high school without too much effort. he went to umbc as a meyerhoff scholar in 1997, thinking about his next track meet, not a career in science. >> dzirasa: when i got to umbc, i had no idea what research was. in fact, for about the first eight months, i lied about wanting a ph.d., because i didn't know what a ph.d. was. >> pitts: today, dr. dzirasa has both a ph.d. in engineering and a medical degree. he heads up a research team at duke university, studying the brain and mental illness. >> dzirasa: i seek to understand the range of human suffering that comes in the context of psychiatric illness. and this is what the brain cell activity looks like... >> pitts: dzirasa says the problems are too complex for one scientist to solve alone. that means the first critical
step to success in his lab, and most other labs, he says, is building the right team. and you learned all that at umbc, that... that framework of the kinds of skills you need? >> dzirasa: yeah, yeah. i think... and i think that that was the most beneficial thing that i got out of umbc. believing in myself as a scientist, and learning how to work with others, how to think deeply, how to seek people who were great in other areas without being intimidated in that, and build teams to solve problems together. >> pitts: so far, 813 students have come out of the meyerhoff scholars program, and nearly 90% of them have gone on to graduate school. >> hrabowski: good morning. >> pitts: hrabowski worries, though, that the u.s. is not doing enough to create more homegrown scientists. >> hrabowski: most people don't realize that only about 10% of americans in 1965 had a college education. >> pitts: and today? >> hrabowski: and today, we're up to about 25%. ♪ ♪ >> pitts: he says the difference is that, 50 years ago, most jobs
didn't require a college degree. >> hrabowski: today, we need more education. we need people with post- secondary training. we need people with two-year degrees and four-year degrees, and people in graduate programs, if we're going to talk about making sure they can take care of their families, and if we're going to talk about meeting the needs of companies and agencies in our country. so what do you want to do when you graduate? what are you...? >> i'm going to be a teacher. >> hrabowski: oh, i love it, i love it. >> pitts: around campus, hrabowski is a familiar sight, full of encouragement and contagious enthusiasm. >> it's fun. i like that class a lot. >> hrabowski: you like genetics? >> yeah, the lab is really good. >> hrabowski: i like that. >> hrabowski: we say at the beginning of the year, "look at the student to your left, look at the student to your right." most people who have gone to college heard the dean say, "one of you will not graduate," all right? and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. if i'm at all insecure, or if i know i'm a little immature, i'm going to say, "oh, my goodness, he's talking about me. so, i may as well party this year, because i'm not going to be here next year anyway." and it happens, right? we say, "look at the student to your left, look at the student
to your right. our goal is to make sure all three of you graduate, and if you don't, we fail. and we don't plan to fail, because we accepted you and we know you can do this work. >> pitts: but aren't you just romanticizing the possibilities, because there... there... many kids just won't make it, because they won't do the work or they're not bright enough to be there and be successful. >> hrabowski: but... so, do you just say, "well, those who were already ready to... to study hard, they'll make it, and let the rest fail?" i think that's not what an educator should do. i want you to keep dreaming about the possibilities. nothing takes the place of hard work, attitude, and getting support from each other. and that's what... that's what this is all about. focus, focus, focus. give yourselves a hand. keep working hard. ( applause ) welcome to the cbs sports update. i'm james brown in new york. san francisco won its seventh
straight and dallas draws to within a game of the giants in the n.f.c. east. chicago won its fourth in a row with seattle stunning baltimore. pittsburgh takes half game lead in the a.f.c. north, and denver's tim tebow won again despite completing only two passes. a.f.c. south leader houston won its fourth straight. new orleans wins in overtime and indy drops to 0-10678 for more sports news and information, go to cbssports.com. follow the wings. i know you're worried about making your savings last and having enough income when you retire. that's why i'm here. to help come up with a plan and get you on the right path. i have more than a thousand fidelity experts working with me so that i can work one-on-one with you. it's your green line. but i'll be there, every step of the way. call or come in for a free portfolio review today.
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