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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 1, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> sreenivasan: a night of dazzling fireworks, followed by a day of celebration as revelers around the world greeted the arrival of 2014. good evening, i'm hari sreenivasan. gwen ifill and judy woodruff are on holiday. also ahead: new state laws and regulations take effect today. from the opening of specially licensed stores selling marijuana in colorado to changing furniture flammability standards in california. plus, the beatles before beatle- mania. a new album features live b.b.c. radio performances from their early days. ♪ got something ♪ i want to understand. >> we foe about the beatles recording in abbey road studios making wonderful
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records but here we have another alternative recording history ♪ i want to hold your hand ♪ ♪. >> 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: >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: january first brought new calls for brotherhood, new leaders and something new at the day's most famous parade. all of this, in the hours after the world welcomed the new yeari >> sreenivasan: in city after city, the arrival of midnight triggered celebration in the opening moments of 2014. crowds in london, new york, and chicago braved the cold to catch extravagant displays of fireworks, some camping outside for hours before midnight. it was warmer in key west, florida, where the annual "drag
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queen drop" saw a renowned female impersonator descend in a massive high-heeled shoe. when day came, pope francis addressed the throngs in st. peter's square, at the vatican, urging brotherhood and an end to bloodshed. >> ( translated ): it's time to stop! it would be good for us to stop on this road of violence and look for peace. brothers and sisters, what on earth is happening in the hearts of men? what on earth is happening in the heart of humanity, it is time to stop. >> sreenivasan: and from papal appeals to political debuts. >> please welcome the 109th mayor, bill deblasio. >> sreenivasan: new york city welcomed its new mayor, bill de blasio. he delivered his inaugural address at city hall, calling for a progressive approach to tackle new york's inequality crisis. >> to tackle a challenge this daunting, we need a dramatic new approach, rebuilding our communities from the bottom up,
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from the neighborhoods up. >> sreenivasan: deblasio is the first democrat to hold the office in 20 years. he succeeds michael bloomberg, who left office after 12 years. and in detroit: mike duggan inherited a bankrupt city as its 71st mayor, pledging to bring the broken metropolis back on its feet. elsewhere, it was, as ever, a day packed with parades and football. in pasadena, california, the nationally televised rose parade attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators, but this time with a twist. a gay los angeles couple exchanged wedding vows on a float that was sponsored by the aids healthcare foundation. college football fans were treated to a televised smorgasbord of six bowl games, starting this morning and going well into the night. but some around the world celebrated in more daring ways. hundreds of brave swimmers in
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the netherlands and germany took a new year's day plunge in freezing waters. and in rome a group of daredevils jumped off a bridge into the icy tiber river. part of president obama's health care law did not kick in, as scheduled, today. it's the mandate that some church-affiliated groups provide coverage for birth control. late last night, supreme court justice sonia sotomayor blocked the requirement, at least temporarily. she acted on an appeal by a catholic nuns organization in denver. sotomayor gave the government until friday morning to respond to her order. in iraq, president nouri al-maliki used new year's day to appeal for an end to months of violence. he urged sunnis to join his shiite led government in battling al-qaeda militants. but new trouble erupted as gunmen stormed police stations in several cities. the united nations estimated today more than 7800 civilians were killed in 2013, as violence spiked across iraq. of those deaths, more than 660 occurred in the month of december alone.
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negotiators from south sudan's warring sides have arrived in ethiopia to begin peace talks. the goal is to end an ethnic conflict that has already killed well over 1,000 people. at the same time, south sudan's president declared a state of emergency in two provinces. meanwhile, fighting raged for another day in the city of bor. it's a gateway to the capital, juba, just 75 miles away. russian president vladimir putin visited volgograd today-- site of two bombings that killed 34 people earlier this week. putin arrived in the southern russian city before dawn. he left flowers at a makeshift shrine near the scene of one of the blasts and he also visited some of the 65 wounded still hospitalized. >> the abomination of these crimes committed in volgograd doesn't need additional commentary. no matter what motivated the criminal actions there is no justification of committing crimes against civilians, especially against women and children.
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>> sreenivasan: putin met with security officials as well. he said they will focus on how to protect the rest of the country during the winter olympics in sochi next month. the year has begun with two major hacking incidents. there's word of a breach at the popular photo-messaging app snapchat. reports said it involves phone numbers and usernames for up to 4.6 million accounts. the website snapchat d.b. claimed responsibility, and said it wanted to show snapchat is lax about security. hackers also hit the official blog and social network accounts for skype, the video calling service. a group identifying itself as the syrian electronic army posted messages urging an end to online surveillance. still to come on the "newshour": some of 2014's new state laws and regulations; the overhaul of the g.e.d. exam; one author's take on the origins of today's partisan politics; the 16-year old who's captured the world stage to promote girls' education. plus, radio performances by the beatles before beatle-mania. >> sreenivasan: a new state law
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takes effect in colorado today, making it the first state to let anyone over 21 walk into a shop and legally buy recreational marijuana. they lined up in denver today, for the state's first legal sales of recreational marijuana. the first customer at the 3-d cannabis center was sean azzariti, an iraq war veteran. he appeared in a tv ad last year, saying pot would alleviate his post-traumatic stress disorder. >> i couldn't be happier. it's a huge stepping stone for other states as well. it's a huge honor, to say the least. i'm the first person ever to do >> sreenivasan: colorado voters approved recreational marijuana on a ballot initiative in 2012. opponents argued the industry will lead to an increase in drug abuse and crime. but legalization advocates say sales will help generate revenue. >> i'm confident that these businesses will perform and will be good examples of how we can regulate marijuana.
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under the law, buyers must be at least 21 years old. they may not use marijuana in public, drive under the influence, or take it out of the state. pot also remains illegal under federal law. with that in mind, denver international airport has banned the substance. >> this space is shared by federal agencies. we have t.s.a. here. we have faa. it's illegal on the federal front, so it just makes sense for us to also participate and comply with that rule. >> sreenivasan: washington state will implement its own legal marijuana industry later this year. for more on how the new pot law is being rolled out and received, we turn to ricardo baca, who is the first ever marijuana editor at the "denver post." he is also editor of "the cannabist," the paper's website devoted to the subject. so mr. baca first off, what's the difference. yesterday coy get a preskriping, coy go into a dispensery in denver and get it, today how significant is this shift? >> it's massive when you
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really think about it. and people really showed up in droves. it was such a trip to drive around the city and just check out the different scenes at the different shops, you know. almost 40 of these shops opened throughout the state today. so wherever you wept, you always found a line of some sort, maybe it was ten people right as they were getting opened and in some cases hundreds of people. >> so how different is a dispensery versus a retail store? or are some doing both? >> yeah, actually, in order to do retail pot right now in colorado, the law dictates that you actually have to have done medical pot. so the only people who are doing retail right now are the people who have done medical and in many situations they're doing it in the same location. >> so we listed some of the regulations. but what are still in place to make sure that this doesn't get into the hands of children or that it's not trafficked across statelines? >> yeah, you know, the packaging for retail pot has been a very big issue.
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whatever you buy has to come into-- it comes in a sealed bag as well as if you are buying edables, they have to be more clearly marked as medicine, as adult content. so kids will hopefully know that they're not supposed to be able to touch that in terms of it crossing statelines, it's just can-- it's an ongoing issue that i know the state patrol of colorado and all of the surrounding states are taking very seriously. >> and what sort of enforcement is there likely to be? is the tsa likely to check people's bags as they come into the airport for pot? >> you know, we certainly have been reporting on that story as well in the last week. it's fascinating seeing the stickers go up on the dia doors saying it's not welcome anywhere. because previously, it was legal, it was okay to have pot inside the airport. so long as you didn't go through security. so in terms of how hands-on the tsa agents will be, you know, that remains to be
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seen. >> so is it true that each individual is entitled to buy up to an ounce if they are a state resident per day, isn't that an enormous amount. >> it is an enormous-- it is a very large amount and if you have an out of state licence you can purchase up to a quarter ounce. or a passport you can get a quarter-- and there is some controversy related to that. because if you-- it's completely unregulated in the sense that they're not keeping track of your drivers licence. so if you wanted to get an ounce at this shop and an own at the next shop and an ounce at the next shop you can. because it's basically like walking into a liquor store. they're not checking-- they're checking your i.d. but they're not dictating what exactly you purchased. >> so you mentioned a little of this but how widespread is this. i know there is an area in dep ver you affectionate legal call it broadsterdamn off, but are there communities choosing not have retail stores or
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dispenseries in their areas. >> there are, yeah. the state law leaves it up to the local municipality. so that part is interesting it. when you look at the cities, the county as that allow it and the cities and counties that don't. in fact, we had a really fascinating piece in the post just a couple weeks ago about one of the university towns up in northern colorado. it's agreely. and you know, after prohibition through the mid 60s you couldn't buy liquor anywhere in agreely. so at that-- greely so res didn'ts went at a neighboring small town at that time in garden city to get their liquor. now they are not allowing any pot whatsoever. and in order to get medical or recreational you have to go over to garden city again, history is repeating itself. >> i want to ask you about the denver post decision to put you in the slot, to they have a team covering this, what is the function of having a marijuana editor or the separate section on the site. >> yeah, the whole idea is
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we have covered marijuana as a news topic, since it was legalized medically in 2000 arch the dispensery boom there 2009ment but now that it's been recreationally legal for a year and now that shops are opening we wanted to be able to be a part of the largest cultural conversation. so basically we wanted to be able to hire a pot critic and have that person talk about different strains and edables and products from a very educated point of view. we have a woman writing recipes for us, soups, cakes, cannabutter, all of that kind of stuff. we're out there just talking about this as a part of our culture. it's not unlike, you know, going out and buying a nice mallbeck, you buy it maybe to relax with, to cook with, to maybe get silly with. and it's the same thing with weed now in colorado. >> and so is there a concern that having this much coverage ends up looking like advocacy for or against a particular law or legallization? >> there are certainly
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outside concerns. but we're confident in our journalistic integrity and approach. and we're taking it very seriously. >> all right, ricardo baca thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you so much thousands of other new state laws went into effect today. read more about some of those online and take our quiz: find out which state will allow mothers to take their placentas home from the hospital and which one authorized the use of "i'm a cajun" on their drivers license. test your knowledge, on the rundown. one of the new regulations in california centers on the effort to limit the amount of flame retardants in furniture. this is an issue of particular concern to parents of young children. >> oink, oink. >> sreenivasan: silicon valley tech workers adrienne and jeremy clem are the proud parents of 18-month-old vivienne and are expecting their second child next month. they've spent a lot of time
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researching baby gear, and one of their main concerns was finding products without flame retardants, chemicals which slow the ignition of potentially flammable materials like textiles and plastics. >> this is a nursing pillow without flame retardants. i did find it online after doing a lot of research. i was very surprised it was hard to find products without them. >> sreenivasan: flame retardants were added to upholstered furniture and other household products starting in the mid 1970s to help prevent house fires. but what seemed like a good idea came with a downside. a number of studies have linked flame retardants to human health concerns such as cancer, neurological impairments and fertility problems. some flame retardants have been banned by the federal government for health concerns, others have been phased out voluntarily by manufacturers. but many remain in use today. worried about the possible health risks, the clems recently
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purchased a $2,700 flame- retardant-free sofa from ekla home, one of the few manufacturers in the u.s. which makes naturally flame resistant furniture using materials like wool. >> for me, the peace of mind knowing that my children aren't going to be exposed to these toxic flame retardants was enough to pay a bit of a premium on the sofa. >> you probably have flame retardants in your couch, your chair, your office chair, if you have a baby, strollers, high chairs, nursing pillows, little baby positioners, car seats... >> sreenivasan: arlene blum is a visiting scholar in chemistry at the university of california at berkeley, and has been leading the charge to get flame retardants out of homes. she's the founder of the green science policy institute which studies chemicals in consumer products. and one of the first products she tested came from her own home. >> these are the cushions from my old sofa which contains a
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flame retardant chemical now banned by the european union called penta which has been linked to cancer. >> sreenivasan: blum, who earlier in her career successfully advocated for removing a suspected cancer- causing flame retardant from pushing for state legislation to get rid of the chemicals. >> the chemicals are continuing coming out of the couch and they're heavy. they drop into dust. and then you get some dust on your hand, eat a french fry, would be the classic and they end up in your body. toddlers who crawl in the dust have high levels.
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>> sreenivasan: blum and other concerned advocates have been pushing for state legislation to get rid of the chemicals. efforts which have been defeated after heavy lobbying by flame retardant manufacturers. >> there were no flame retardants to protect them. in an award-winning veckive series the "chicago tribune" dug into his testimony and found that there were no such cases, and that the doctors' false testimony only supported retardant manufacturers. following that series and after mounting pressure from the public and scientific community, california governor jerry brown decided to act. in november he announced changes to the state's furniture flamm ability standards, an act that didn't require legislative approval. products will no longer have to withstand a 12 second open flame test. instead, they will be required to past a smoulder test that furniture manufacturers can meet without adding flame retardants to their products.
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>> they have saved lives. >> but >> sreenivasan: but not everyone is happy about the change. marcelo hirschler is a fire scientist in mill valley california and a consultant for the flame retardant industry. he thinks it's a mistake to take flame retardants out of extremely flammable furniture. >> the amount of heat in an upholstered sofa is enough to burn down your entire house. we need to do something to prevent the flammability of the products that we're sitting on. flame retardants are an excellent tool when used appropriately. >> sreenivasan: and hirschler says even though the overall number of home fires and fire- related deaths have gone down dramatically, due in part to new building codes, fire alarms, and fewer people smoking, upholstered furniture remains a fire hazard. >> we're killing over 600 people a year from fires caused by upholstered furniture. so we're killing a lot of people. the revision, that is a disaster, that is going to cause
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a lot more fire fatalities in fire incidents. >> sreenivasan: but not all who battle fire agree. retired san francisco firefighter tony stefani: >> my view of flame retardants is they are not necessary. >> sreenivasan: stefani is a survivor of a rare form of kidney cancer and president the san francisco firefighters cancer prevention foundation. >> when we go into a building on fire, we're faced with a real toxic mess. and these flame retardant chemicals cast both furan and dioxin which have been proven to cause cancer. we definitely feel there is a link. we've had a lot of firefighters that have succumbed to brain cancer, colon cancer, forms of blood cancers like multiple myeloma, non-hodgkins lymphoma. >> sreenivasan: in fact, several recent studies have found elevated levels of flame retardants in firefighters blood and the profession has higher
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cancer rates than the general public, although a direct link between the two can't be made. >> the studies i've seen don't lead me to any cause for alarm with regard to exposure to humans. >> sreenivasan: tom osimitz is a toxicologist who chairs the "science advisory committee of the north american flame retardant alliance", which represents manufacturers. he says many of the health concerns about flame retardants are overblown. in many of these studies, there is a lot of confounding variables; exposures, whether it's prenatal exposure to alcohol, stress, noise, all other types of agents people are exposed to. if you look broadly at the bio- monitoring studies that have been done, there's less than a convincing correlation, in my mind, between the presence of a chemical in the body, and actual adverse effect. the states new regulations, which kick in january 1, are expected to have a ripple effect throughout the country that's because furniture manufacturers in other states generally adhere to california's standards.
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industry representatives expect it will take about six months for flame retardant free furniture to become readily available in stores. >> see what happens when our producer had three in the items from her own home tested on our series. >> sreenivasan: we turn now to politics. judy woodruff recently recorded this conversation on the origins of the split between the political left and right. >> woodruff: now a look at our current political divisions through a historical lens. yuval levin is a founder and editor of the quarterly journal "national affairs." his new book, focused on the giant thinkers of the late 1700s is called "the great debate: edmund burke, thomas paine and the birth of the left and the right." yuval levin joins us now.
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welcome. >> thank you very much for having me. >> woodruff: so why did you think it was necessary to go back what, over 200 areas to these great thinkers, writers, who disagreed over the french revolution to help us understand more about what we're going through today? >> well, this is a book about the roots of our political differences. it's easy looking at our politics now to take for granted the left and the right. we've always had a broadly conservative party in our politics, a broodly progressive party. they've always been at each other's throats an its he easy to just assume that that is what our political discourse looks like. this book says rather than take it for granted let's think about what it is, where it comes from and why, one good way to do that is to think about the first real instance of the recognize nizeable left right divide which we find in an intense idea logical debate that was taking place in britain and america at the end of the 18th century. when we identify with the american revolution an french revolution. but it is also about a struggle to define the free society, the struggle about the tension between progress and tradition that is still
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very much with us. it can be difficult to discern beneath the intense debates about particular policy questions that our politics are about. >> why this debate, this particular-- there were others who were writing, who were thinking why these two men, burke and paine. >> in a way the back looks at the broader debate that gripped anglo-american politics at the time by looking through the eyes of these two very prominent and very interesting participants in the debate. edmund burke is thought of as one of the fathers of modern conservatism. thomas paine one of the fathers of modern radicalism, they engaged one another. to see it as a debate they were contemporaries, knew each other, exchanged letters and especially important public writers, essays, they tried to answer one another. it is a real debate. they ask questions and answer questions. and they get to something like the bottom of what the real differences are between an outlook that we would now identify with the left and with the right. >> woodruff: it's unfair to ask you this because you
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spent the entire book, 200 pages looking at it, but if you had to boil it down, what would you say is the essence of the disagreement? >> one way to think about the essence is you start out looking at a world that is filled with both successes and failures, good and bad things. are you struck first by what is working and you want to build on that and are greatful for it, or are you struck first by what is failing and are outraged by it and want to uproot it and try to start over. burke and a lot of conservatives after him is first struck by was's working, because he begins with very low expectations of human beings. he thinks we're fallen treature-- creatures, very limited in our stabilities. so aes-- he's amazed by anything that works at all and wants to build on it rather than uproot society and fix problems in a radical way, paine thinks there is no excuse for failure, things should work better and that means when we see a society in which injustice reigns we have to start from scratch and in a radical way change things within of course today's conservatives in many ways,
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the shoe is on the other foot. because they look at what is going on and they want to make some radical changes. they think government has gotten too big in this country. >> yeah. >> woodruff: and they want to do some radical things to change it. >> in a lot of ways that's true. and the book gets at that as well. so one way to understand that is a lot of the differents between left and right now are disagreements about the liberal welfare state, about-- state, about a set of governing institutions established in america in the middle of the 20th century that themselves embody a certain kind of liberal outlook. they exist in per suit of an egalitarian ideal and they try to achieve it by applying technical knowledge to society, by empowering experts. and one of the big differences between burke and paine is the difference between what kind of knowledge val available to us to solve social problems. paine says society should seek to apply scientific knowledge, technical knowledge to address our problems. burke says society as much too complicated to be amenable to those kinds of technical solutions. and instead we should try to use social knowledge,
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dispersed knowledge that we can really only access through the institutions that exist between the individual and the state. the families, civil society, markets, to try to make the best of knowledge that society as a whole possesses, rather than any specific group of experts. that difference about what kind of knowledge we can have is really crucial to a lot of disagreements between left and right especially economic disagreements. it's absolutely at the heart of the health care debate, for example. >> do you think that say dispute that holds up today with all that we've learned, with all that's changed in the political -- >> there's still a basic disagreement about whether you solve social problems by using dispersed knowledge, by using markets to gather up people's preferences and knowledge or whether you solve it by putting the right experts in charge and giving them the power to make their expertise matter. i think if you think about the left and right in the health care debate that say big part of the difference between how conservatives and liberals want to solve the problems we have. >> of course what we're looking at today though is in many instances the two sides disagree, not just
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over health care, they disagreed over economic policy, over immigration policy. and the result has been they fail to come together at all to even engage in a debate. they just-- we end up having dysfunction, gridlock, whatever word you want to use. what would paine and burke think about that? >> there's a lot of truth to that. it is one reason to write a book like this now. we live in a moment now where the two parties are ideologically coherent in a way they haven't been in a long time. we really have not only a republican and democratic party but a conservative and liberal party. our parties used to be divided along regional lines or over specific issues like race. now democrats are pore liberal than they they've been nay long time, republicans more conservative than in a long time. i think we can learn from the burke paine debate what an actual constructive debate between left and right looks like. one things conservatives could learn is burke disposition to policy. that is conservatives, he says, should want to solve public problems before they get so big that they invite more radical solutions. sow was a reformer.
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he wanted to be engages in governing in a way that today's right doesn't do enough of. >> woodruff: you're saying they haven't done that. >> yeah, there is a kind of recoil from the particulars of governing, from policy in a lot of the rhetoric on the right. and they would do well to think about policy. >> rooney: . >> woodruff: what about on the left. >> i think the left could learn from thomas paine that the greatest oppressers of the poor and the weak in human history have been their governments. this was a strongly held view of paines. he was worried about the dangers of public power. and i think the left in america today as much too cavalier about consolidating power and expanding the power of the government. and they could learn the essential importance of limiting, constraining, channeling that power for the very purposes that they want to serve through politics. >> woodruff: what dow say yuval levin to people this is all very interesting, it's important and important to know about history but today we have problems that are-- that affect real people's lives whether it's immigration policy, and what happens to people who are suffering, whether it's
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health care, budget decisions, that what you've done is interesting but it doesn't really apply to what we're dealing with now. >> well, one of the reasons to look to history when you think about public policy is that our society in a certain sense has always been arguing about the same kinds of questions. what does it mean to be a free society. how do we find a balance between order and liberty, between progress and tradition. we still face those questions now. and so the way that they've been faced by very wise people in the past can be helpful. and not only that, but you can learn about how to-- about the roots of your own beliefs and your own arguments by looking at history in ways that are difficult to do in the intensity of the moment now. so we can help calm down our disagreements a little bit and let us think about what it is we are actually disagreeing about. >> and still stay connected to the human beings. >> politics is always about reality, it's always about people, it's always about solving problems. it can't be understood as a pure abstraction, as fill os feep. it's not philosophy.
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but it has to be informed by worldviews that have to do with what we want our society to be. >> yuval levin, the book is the great debate, edmund burke, thomas paine and the birth, right and left. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> sreenivasan: a significant overhaul of the g.e.d. testing program will be unveiled tomorrow-- the first in nearly 70 years. that's the subject of one of the signature pieces from the "newshour weekend" program. we are featuring them this holiday season. this report is by "newshour" correspondent mona iskander. >> reporter: 22-year-old robert covington spends a lot of his time at the new half answer dult education center. he dropped out of high school when he was 17 and now he's trying to make up for lost time. >> i made mistakes when i was younger. and i just, i want to be able to better myself, become a better man and it starts here with your
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education. >> reporter: covington has passed the science, social studies, writing and reading sections of the general educational development exam. or the g.e.d.. the nationally recognized high school equivalency test. now he's practicing geometry problems so can pass the math section. >> so i have to pass it. fingers crossed. >> reporter: this january a new version of the test will roll out. and about 40 states including connecticut are expected to use it. the test will be more rigorous, will cost more in some states, and only be available on-line. >> what we're doing is absolutely the most monumental change we've made in our g.e.d. testing service history. i think what we're doing is complicated. it's confusing, it's worei some. but we're absolutely convinced that what we're doing the right thing for learners. >> reporter: randy trask is the president of the g.e.d. testing service, the for-profit company that's
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developing the new exam. the g.e.d. was created in 1942 for returning veterans who dropped out of high school to serve in world war ii. and was run by the nonprofit american council on education. >> we now have more than 19 million people that have earned their second chance at a high school credential by way of the g.e.d. test. >> and we're using a verb tense. >> reporter: the g.e.d. has been an important tool for high school dropouts and immigrants to make inroads into higher education or to secure better jobs. about 700,000 people take testify ree year. but only about 36% of those who pass the g.e.d. enroll in a two or four year college. that's low compared to 66% of high school grads who enroll. and overall, those with a high school equivalency degree earn less than those with a regular high school degree. trask says figures like that compelled the council in 2011 to partner with pearson, an education services company.
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they formed a joint venture under the name g.e.d. testing service and hired randy trask to overhaul the g.e.d.. >> take math for example. you can go in using some basic algebra to adjust pricing for a store. >> tla-- trask says in order to ep could up with the times the tests going forward will only be administered by computer. >> i was definitely a naysayer initially, a skeptic. and i thought what are they thinking. >> how do we know it's a weren't tense verb. >> reporter: mary mcnerny say g.e.d. instructor at the new haven adult education center. today the lesson is on using correct verb tenses. >> i was worried. i was thinking oh my god, my students aren't going to pass this test. and then it's the use of the computer, for a lot of the young people, no problem. they're happy it's on the computer. for the people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, they're oh my god, it's another obstacle. >> reporter: one of our
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students is 56-year-old roosevelt barnes. he dropped out of high school to join the military. he then worked as an electrician. but lately he says finding work has been hard. now he needs to pass the g.e.d. exam to go to community college. he wants to eventually open up an auto repair business. >> souf's been taking classes here and you found out that the new test will actually be administered by computer. was it intimidating at first? >> yes, because i'm computer illiterate. now since i'm doing the classes and stuff, they also have computer training. >> reporter: this has pushed you to learn more. >> yes, uh-huh. >> reporter: and while the state of connecticut has embraced the new g.e.d. exam, education officials just one state over in new york have serious reservations about it. kevin smith is the deputy commissioner for adult career and continuing education for new york state. he agrees the exam needed to adapt to a changing world. but he says the new version threatened to leave too many people behind. >> for the test taker who
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has little access to basic computing skills or little knowledge of basic computing skills, it's one more point, one more barrier to their ability to demonstrate their skills. there are too many barriers already. and we need to breaks to barriers down one at a time. >> reporter: and even if new york state wanted to use the new g.e.d. exam he says practical considerations would make it impossible. >> equally important, our infrastructure to provide that test exam by computer is negligible. >> reporter: smith also says the cost of administering the new exam is prohibitive since it would rise from $60 to $120 per test taker in new york. costs vary and some states subsidize a portion of the exam. but by law new york would have to pay for all of it. at least 8 states have opted not to use the new g.e.d. exam at all and are planning to use an alternative, including new york which has hired another education service company ctb mcgraw-hill, a competitor of
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the g.e.d. testing service. its test will be offered on-line and on paper. and the level of difficulty will increase gradually over three years. >> this is a much slower, more appropriate phase-into the new exam, the new standards, then we are lead to believe will occur in those other 40 states utilizing the g.e.d. exam. >> reporter: we've talked to people who say the test was not working as it was. but maybe the changes should have been a little bit slower, incremental. what do you say to that? >> we're doing no one any favors if we don't, in fact, make sure that these adults are equipped with exactly what they need to compete for these higher skilled, higher wage jobs. >> reporter: back at the new half answer dult education center, mary knick nerny says she's come to embrace the mission of the new g.e.d. test and is up for the challenge. >> if i have any concerns that some people will not be ready this year, which many are not, i believe in my
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heart that the majority of them will be able to work through the curriculum to eventually get their g.e.d.. >> as for robert covington he took the remaining section of the exam. he recently found out that he passed >> sreenivasan: now to an interview with the young pakistani woman who has captured the hearts of people all over the world. 16-year-old malala yousafzai has become a symbol of resistance to the taliban's brutality and its ban on educating girls. margaret warner spoke with her in washington last fall. one year after she had been shot in the head by taliban supporters who boarded her school bus in pakistan's rural swat valley. here is a second look at that interview.
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>> warner: malala yousafzai, thank you for joining us. tell us what inspired you at such a young age to start speak out for girls' education, and really in such a dangerous environment. >> first of all, my father inspired me because he's a great father and a great social activist and women's rights activists. at that time, when they were suffering from terrorism, he spoke, he spoke out. and he spoke for women's rights because at that time, more than 400 schools, people were slaughtered, markets were closed. there were bans on women to go to market. girls were not allowed to go to school, and in that hard situation, he inspired me because he spoke and that's what i learned from him. >> warner: did you ever think, though, your outspokenness, and the fact you became a media star in pakistan would make you or your family a target? >> i think being living in such a hard situation when there are terrorists and they slaughter
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people every night, it's still hard. it's still a threat. so it's a better idea to speak up for your rights and then die. i prefer that one. so that's why, we spoke at that time. we said one has to speak. why are we waiting for someone else? the governments were not take an action. the army was not taking a good action. so that's why we said that we will speak up for the rights. this is what we can do and we tried our best. >> warner: now you've been forced, of course, to leave pakistan. you've become this international symbol of bravery and speaking up for girls' education. but what has happened to the girls you left behind? what is their situation? >> the girls some pakistan, it's really hard for them to go to school. many girls will not go to school because of poverty. and some because of child labor and trafficking. some parents don't send their children to school because they
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don't know it's important at all. and some girls won't go to school because of the culture's norms and tabus so there are still many issues stopping us to go to school. >> warner: why do you think the taliban-- what is their vision of islam that makes them so opposed to girls' education, and if so, can you really change that, and can you change that culture just by educating girls. >> the first thing is the taliban have misunderstood islam. they have never studied islam deeply. i think they have not read the koran, even, because in islam it is said that it is the right of every girl and every boy to get education, to get knowledge. islam says about equality, there's no difference between a man and a woman. islam tells us to respect each other, don't judge each other on the basis of religion. so i think the terrorists have terrorists have forgotten. they must read koran first, they
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must learn from it first, so that's why they are misusing the name of islam for their own personal benefits. >> warner: there has been a backlash against you. some pakistanis say you shamed their country or an agent of western interest who want to undermine pakistan or islam. how does that make you feel when you're out here fighting this fight? >> the first thing is it's one's right to express his feelings or her feelings. when i look at the groups that speak against me in pakistan or anywhere, it's a very small group, a very tiny group. i must look at the millions of people's prayers, and the people who are supporting me. i think i must not lose hope and i must not look at the small group. rather i must see those millions of people praying for me and supporting me in my cause of education. >> warner: there was a new
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threat issued just this week from a taliban spokesman who said essentially if she keeps speaking out like this we will target her again and attack whenever we get the chance. do you feel you're still in danger, even living abroad? >> i think the taliban reminded me of the threats. >> warner: is there a difference? >> the thing is that they've already threatened me when i was in swat, and later on they attacked me, but the thing is now i'm living a second life. and god has given me this new life for the cause of education. and i believe even death is supporting the cause of education, even dead does not want to kill me, so how can this taliban kill me? i think i must not be afraid of death. i might have been before, but now they threat me, i'm not afraid of any threat. i have seen it already.
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so now i'm more powerful. now i'm more courageous, and i will continue my campaign. >> warner: now, do you get to go to school yourself anymore with all these public appearances? do you have any semblance of a normal life in england? >> i go to school in a car because it's part of it. it's true when i go to a market, when i go to a park, people gather around me and they want to talk to me. they want to have picture with me. some people want autograph. it is the love of people, and i think it's a great honor for me now people-- now i can reach people. >> warner: malala yousafzai, thank you so much. >> nice to tuke you. >> warner: it was a great honor to meet you. >> sreenivasan: finally tonight, jeff brown takes a look at a newly released c.d. of very early beatles performances on bbc radio, recorded in the days
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when almost no one in this country had even heard of them. ♪ come on ♪ come on ♪. >> in the early 1960s when the rest of the world was just beginning to learn of the beatles they were already a sensation at home in britain. ♪ how could i dance with another ♪ ♪ whooo ♪. >> brown: live appearances and to millions more by radio broadcasts, a series of wide tour performance on the bbc. in 1962 and 1965, the beatles performed 88 songs on the bbc, many of them multiple times in hundreds of radio broadcasts. in the worldwide beatle mania that followed, those radio performances were largely forgotten in britain and mostly unherd of in the u.s. until 1994 when the first collection of bbc recordings was released. now a new album is out, this
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one capturing some 40 songs from those early radio broadcasts, including several never before available on record or disk. by now long familiar they are beatle standards ♪ oh yeah i ♪ ♪ tell you something. >> the energy and verb of the live performances the young band was famous for. others are covers of them lesser known american titles. ♪ she's so fine ♪. >> r&b songs. ♪ i'm talking about you ♪ nobody but you ♪. >> country music. ♪ how many days will and you won't ♪ ♪ say you do ♪ baby when you don't ♪. >> brown: and early soul music ♪ wait, oh yeah, wait a minute mr. postman ♪ ♪ wait wait wait wait mr. postman ♪ ♪. >> brown: it's a play list that illustrates the strong
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eclectic influences that helped shape what became known as the beatles sound. kevin howlet a bbc radio produce certificate coproducer of the new album and author of the companion book, the beatles, the bbc archives. kevin, welcome to you, sir. everyone knows the beatles, right, but this is a kind of unique setting and moment. in a nutshell what's been captured here. >> well, the great thing about this is it is an alternative recording history. we all know about the beatles recording at abbey road studios and making wonderful records. here we have another alternative recording history. the beatles at the bbc and they did so many performances of the bbc, 275 between 1962 and 1965. >> brown: and this also represents a times that's maybe hard to imagine now when the bbc played such a huge role in british life. >> yes, the bbc in those days had a monopoly of broadcast, there were just three national channels for the u.k.
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and that was all there was to listen to during the day. we didn't have wonderful fast talking american djs like the new york guys, dan ingram, so it was a very kind of formal institution. and the beatles really shook it up. >> brown: so they're already pop stars but they're also extremely young. it's fascinating and kind of fun to hear them talking as well as playing, their public personalities still forming in a sense. >> yes, this is very early days for the beatles. it's 1963. they haven't broken internationally but they're gathering momentum in the u.k. it is their breakthrough year and they're desperately trying to make it and will do anything to appear on the bbc because the bbc hardly played a record. you had to appear on the bbc and play live to get your music out there. so the beatles were determined to do that. >> brown: and these are, in fact, performances. they're not recordings, so part of the thrill of this is a kind of beatles in the raw, right? playing some familiar songs in different ways?
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>> yes, the wonderful thing about this legacy is it's the beatles and they're absolutely live most of the time. sometimes directly live on to the air, not even recorded in advance. and they're playing some very unusual material, cover vergs that they did at ham bruring and in the club in liverpool. so you really see the kind of songs that they cut their teeth on. and you haer wonderful live performances it really proves they were a fantastic live group. you know they are really going for it there's no question of going back and starting again. they have to do it right. and so you get that wonderful feeling of this is it, boys. the lights on, don't make a mistake because it will go out on air like that. >> brown: you mentioned covers. there are a number of covers of songs by other people, many that never made it on to beatles albums. so what do they tell you about the beatles musical tastes and their influences? >> well, the beatles are absolutely vinyl fanatics. and in england at that time you couldn't get ahold of american rhythm and blues. motown records, for example
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were never played on bbc radio. so the beatles sought these records out and covered them. and i think they had a great influence on the way that british people got into american rhythm-and-blues and discovered motown and artists like arthur alexander and the rock 'n' roll favorites, of course, chuck berry, carl par kins but there unusual performances of songs that you never heard on the bbc at the time. >> brown: and what about the process of collecting all this. i gather it involves some real detective work. this is kind of amazing but the bbc did not keep a good archive of these sessions. >> yeah, i first investigated this material way back at the end of 1981. and you could discover all the paperwork relating to the beatles radio programs, what songs they covered. but finding the tapes, that was another matter. there was just one out of 53 musical performances in the bbc archives. so i had to track them down from various sources and over the years, 30 odd years i've been doing that. and trying to restore the
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beatles bbc archive. and we're getting there. there are a few still missing. but we're very lucky to have this wonderful legacy now. >> kevin howlet is the coproducer of on air live at the bbc volume -- and author of the companion book the beatles, the bbc archives. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> see >> sreenivasan: see behind-the- scenes photos from the era when the beatles were just about to take america and the world by storm. those are on art beat. again, the major developments of the day: the arrival of 2014 brought papal appeals for brotherhood, the first gay marriage at the rose parade, and a bevy of bowl games and new york and detroit swore in new mayors. more elements of the health care law took effect, but supreme court justice sonia sotomayor blocked a mandate that some church-affiliated groups provide coverage for birth control. the nation's first legal retail sales of recreational marijuana began in colorado. at least 24 pot shops opened in eight towns. an israeli hospital announced former prime minister ariel sharon has taken a sharp turn for the worse.
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he's been comatose since 2006. and the iraq's shiite president appealed to sunnis to help stem a surge of violence. more than 7,800 civilians were killed in 2013. on the "newshour" website right now with the market's recent highs, should investors be worried about a bubble? on today's making sense, our guest columnist writes about the risks of a smaller bubble that could be a sign of careless lending throughout the financial system. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the afghanistan conflict. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are seven more.
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>> sreenivasan: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on wednesday, i'm hari sreenivasan. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the "pbs newshour," thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york, a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.
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thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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a kqed television production. like old fisherman's wharf. reminds me of old san francisco. like jean val jean. >> theeries and cholesterol and -- calories and cholesterol and heart attack. >> like an adventure. >> it remind me of oatmeal with a touch of wet dog. >> i did inhale it.

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