tv PBS News Hour PBS March 13, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: president obama said today he wants to revamp rules on overtime pay and require american businesses to pay millions of employees more for their extra hours of work. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is away. also ahead, miles o'brien reports on nuclear power's murky future in japan. many there are still wary of re- starting shuttered plants, three years after the catastrophic fukushima meltdowns. >> right now in japan, not a single nuclear power plant is online, generating electricity. 48 nuclear reactors, able to generate 30% of japan's
electrical demand-- idle. >> woodruff: plus, the world has come together again in sochi for the paralympics. the u.s is competing, but noticeably absent in support of an international treaty to ensure the rights of those with disabilities. 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: >> i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved, staying engaged. they are not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is, "how did i end up here?" i started schwab with those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives.
>> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> 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. >> woodruff: the war of words on ukraine escalated today as did russian military moves. it all came as a crucial vote in crimea draws closer. in the dead of night, about
8,500 russian troops began new military exercises just across the border from ukraine. the russian defense ministry would not say how long the war games will last, but it did say they involve firing at a potential enemy up to nine miles away. still, russian president vladimir putin, in sochi for the paralympics, deflected any blame for the tense situation. >> ( translated ): i would like to assure you that russia did not initiate, it was not an instigator of these difficult circumstances which you know about and we are talking about here. >> woodruff: putin's protestations did little to mollify german chancellor angela merkel. addressing parliament, she issued her sternest warning yet. >> ( translated ): if russia continues on its course of the past weeks, it will not only be a catastrophe for ukraine. we would not only see it, also as neighbors of russia, as a threat. and it would not only change the european union's relationship with russia.
no, this would also cause massive damage to russia, economically and politically. >> woodruff: in washington, secretary of state john kerry said the damage could be triggered sunday if crimea votes to leave ukraine and join russia. >> the hope, mr. chairman, is that reason will prevail, but there's no guarantee of that whatsoever. the european community is strongly united. they will meet on monday. the president of the united states has made it clear he's prepared to move. >> woodruff: and, at the u.n. security council, ukraine's interim prime minister made a direct plea to the russian ambassador. >> ( translated ): we are looking for an answer to the question, do the russians want war? and i'm sure as the prime minister of ukraine, which for decades had warm and friendly
relations with russia i am convinced russians do not want war. >> woodruff: meanwhile, across crimea, anti-fascist and pro- russia billboards lined the highways. and inside polling stations, workers put the finishing touches on voting booths for sunday's referendum. at the same time, pro-russian self-defense units beefed up checkpoints in crimea. and more recruits to the pro- russian crimean army were sworn in to their positions in sim'feropol. the tough talk on ukraine rattled wall street. the dow jones industrial dropped 231 points to close below 16,109. the nasdaq fell almost 63 points to close at 4,260. the standard and poor's 500 dropped nearly 22 points, to 1,846. a bipartisan group of u.s. senators say they've reached an
elusive compromise to extend government benefits for the long-term unemployed for another five months. leaders on both sides said today the deal would be retroactive to the end of last year. roughly two million people have run out of jobless benefits since then. the death toll rose to at least seven today in new york city after an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in new york. yesterday morning's blast was triggered by a natural gas leak. more than 60 people were injured, with five more still missing. mayor bill de blasio visited the still-smoldering wreckage today. he praised fire and rescue crews who endured a wet, freezing night to keep searching. >> everyone involved in the rescue effort has given their all. i was up today meeting with some of the first responders. they've been fighting through the cold. they've been fighting through the wind, exceedingly difficult
circumstances and they have stuck with it. >> woodruff: residents reported smelling gas at the site the night before the explosion, but fire and utility officials say they received no complaints of gas leaks in recent weeks. the same winter storm that swept through new york state pummeled northern new england today with more than two feet of snow. but the storm's worst effects were in the midwest, where a 50- vehicle pile-up killed three people yesterday on a turnpike near sandusky, ohio. officials said it will take days to clean up the wreckage. the international search for a malaysian jetliner has expanded again-- toward india. a u.s. navdestroyer "the kidd" moved today to join the effort. the word came as u.s. investigators told "the wall street journal" the plane may have flown for hours after its last known contact based on engine readings. malaysian officials, meanwhile, dismissed chinese reports of possible debris sightings.
we get more on that angle, from rageh omaar of independent television news. >> knees grainy satellite images released by the chinese authorities were set to show debreaux from the malaysian airlines plane. some measuring 60 feet in size. hopes were raised only to be crushed hours later. another day, another false lead in this extraordinary and mysterious search for flight 370. >> we have contacted the chinese embassy who notified us this afternoon that the images were released by mistake. and did not show any debris from flight 370. >> not a sled of credibl credible-- shred of credible information. little wonder speculation is rife ranging from high backing to the accidental shooting down of the plane. the malaysian authorities find themselves caught in the middle. defending themselves against the mounting questions and frustrations.
>> there is no real precedent for a situation like this. the plane vanished. we have extended the search area because it is our duty to follow every lead. and we owe it to the families and trust me when i say, we will not give up. >> reporter: all the while the size of the search operation grows now covering thousands of square miles in the south china sea, the strait of malacca and the andeman sea, it also involves over 80 planes and ships from over nine countries, from the united states to pbrunai all unable to find any clues >> woodruff: back in washington, the chief u.s. law enforcement officer has endorsed a proposal to cut federal prison sentences for many non-violent drug traffickers. attorney general eric holder said today the current policy is not justifiable financially or morally. >> i understand that people feel a sort of tension in this notion that we're going to spend less, we're going to put people in jail for smaller amounts of
time, and yet you're going to tell me that we're going to be more safe. and yet, the empirical studies that i have seen, and which i have faith in, indicate that if done appropriately those are in fact the results that you can get. >> woodruff: holder spoke to the u.s. sentencing commission, which is considering the proposal. pope francis today marked the first anniversary of his papacy. there were no formal celebrations, in keeping with the pontiff's simpler style. instead, he took part in a spiritual retreat near rome, where he sent out a message to 12 million followers on twitter. it said, simply: "pray for me". still to come on the newshour, president obama's expansion of overtime pay, nuclear power's murky future in japan, the push to secure the rights of the disabled around the world, plus, how social media mixes with political turmoil in an embattled ukraine.
>> woodruff: it's been nearly a decade since the bush administration changed the threshold for when overtime pay kicks in. president obama announced his own plan today to revise those regulations. it could mean higher pay for millions of workers, but some businesses are worried about the costs. hari sreenivasan has the story. >> sreenivasan: for the president, it's a new attempt to address pay equity without going through congress, where his economic agenda is largely stalled. he's directing the labor department to update overtime pay rules for an estimated five million workers. >> today, i'm going to use my pen to give more americans the chance to earn the overtime pay that they deserve. now overtime's a pretty simple idea. if you have to work more, you should get paid more. >> sreenivasan: the focus is on salaried workers, including
shift leaders and managers at fast food restaurants and stores who are designated as supervisory and make at least $455 a week. the president wants to raise that salary threshold and change the definition of supervisor. >> it doesn't make sense that in some cases, this rule actually makes it possible for salaried workers to be paid less than the minimum wage. it's not right when business owners who treat their employees fairly can be undercut by competitors who aren't treating their employees right. if you're working hard, you're barely making ends meet, you should be paid overtime. period. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. chamber of commerce has rejected the plan. it issued a statement that said, in part: republicans also protested the obama plan will cost jobs. house speaker john boehner.
>> if you don't have a job, you don't qualify for overtime. so what do you get out of it? you get nothing. the president's policies are making it difficult for employers to expand employment. and until the president's policies get out of the way, employers are going to continue to sit on their hands. >> sreenivasan: the president is leaving it to the labor department to work out the details, and any proposed rule will be subject to public comment. that means a new overtime standard might take effect some time in 2015. we get views from two camps deeply immersed in the debate. jared bernstein is a former chief economist to vice president biden. he's written on this and is a senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities. and dan bosch is the manager of regulatory affairs at the national federation of independent business, a trade group opposed to the move. dan, let me start with you. why is reforming overtime going cost jobs, how does it hurt small businesses in. >> well, for small businesses this is just the latest in a long line of government mandates that have been coming out of
washington lately. this is on top of a proposed minimum-wage increase, rising health-care cost and a tidal wave of government regulation. these burdens are disproportionately troubling for small businesses. >> what about this idea that this is just part of a larger onslaught that small businesses are feeling? >>. >> i don't think so and in fact n this case it's uniquely different from some of the other policies that dan mentioned. for example, if an employer doesn't want to pay overtime to someone that is time and a half to a worker, they can hire a worker at a straight time wage and that does two things. it actually saves the employer overtime costs and creates more jobs. which is something that we could use about now. and that was actually one of the motivations for the overtime rules originally in the fair labor standards act that is to you about 75 years old. >> is that a pont, that actually straight time workers or nonovertime employee kos actually put a dent into this unemployment range, or this problem that everyone is trying to tackle? >> i think small businesses
which are who i represent usually around 5 to 10 employees per business, they're to the going to have the capitol to be able to bring on a new employee. what is going to happen is the business owner will take on the added responsibility of the worker who should potentially be getting overtime now. and they will cap the overtime worker at 40 hours. >> is there a way this could backfire. >> i don't really understand the logic that dan is espousing there. because the capital is actually-- the capital, the labor cost has actually diminished. we have to pay time and a half for your overtime worker, newly covered by this idea. and remember, let's not lose the fact that we're talking about adjusting the threshold for inflation that hasn't been adjusted for ten years. that threshold below which you automatically get overtime right now is about equal to the poverty level. so i think president obama has a case when he talks about making this more fair for people who are working long hours. and again, employer can
avoid higher labor cost, that's not the same as the minimum wage. >> what about this idea that the threshold hasn't been adjusted for inflation even in the last nine years, that it's been flat. >> uh-huh. well, small businesses today, they're not rolling around in cash. our small business optimism index that we release monthly shows small businesses see the economy at a recessionary level or subpar growth level some this they are not in a position to be increasing their labor costs. >> let me say something about that. the reason you work someon someone-- for overtime, the reason you have somebody work overtime is because the demand for the goods and services that you are providing is very strong. and you can't meet that based on simply straight time pay. if the story that dan is telling is true and i certainly believe him, then you're not seeing the kinds of pressures in terms of demand for what it is these small business folks are providing that they would need to use overtime. and if they don't need to
use overtime this doesn't affect them. if they do need to use overtime workers and they don't want to, they can hire someone straight time and save themselves some sal rethere. >> is that true. >> i think the only point i would make there is i done know that the smallest businesses are going to bring on additional people. i think the small-business owner will try to take over that additional work that needs to be done his or herself. >> here's the thing. any time you get into this discussion about what a pan date would do you have to look at the empirical evidence and what it showed time and again whether minimum wages or even overtime rules because we have raised this threshold in the past, businesses small and large, they hire when they need to and they don't hire when they don't need to. and when we have increased this overtime threshold in the past, we have seen anything like the kinds of employment or job loss effects that dan is suggesting we would. >> and what about this idea that there are supervisors in name only, that perhaps some small employers are cheating the system by saying hey, you know what, you are a supervisor, are
you not eligible for overtime even though they might not be making this that much money. >> i can't speak to whether or not companies are actually doing that. i'm sure it happens somewhere. i don't know how prevalent it is. but i would say that something that we've seen as a possible element might come out of this proposal is small businesses would have to calculate a percentage of what task you perform as an employee or supervisor and what you aren't. that if it am coulds to fruition is going to be extremely burdenson in small businesses, it is an important calculation to make for every employee every week every year. >> that has always been part of the law. part of this, this part of this white collar part of the fair labor standards act has always asked employers how much of your time does your employee spend superadviceary position. and so there is nothing new about that. what is different here is that the way the law was changed in 2004 to the detriment of overtime workers is that if 95% of
your time is spent doing the type of work that would be covered by overtime pay and then for an hour a week you supervise someone else, you can be exempted from overtime pay just based on that one chunk of your woke. and that's wrong. what you could end up with, the current situation, what we had is too many of these workers don't look like executive managers, professional supervisors at all. but are treated that way under this lawment and therefore don't get the overtime pay they should. >> one of the concerns is going forward, that this creates a climate of uncertainty for small businesses. explain. >> well, this process is not going to just, you know, happen this week or even, you know, in a couple of weeks or months, what have you. this is going to be an extremely lengthy process. i happen to think personally that i think you said in your piece that 2015 might be the time frame for this i think it is extremely advancedment i done know that this can happen that closely if the department of labor goes through the proper possesses. >> account administration get this done by the time it
is out of office. >> this could be done in a matter of months there is a comment period where the administration justifyically ask stakeholder whs they think and then the administration will step in an change the rulesing much as we've been discussing so far. so i can see this happening in a matter of months. in fact, if you go back to the 2004 change, i think they took about six months, as i recall. >> jared bernstein from the center of budget and policies. dan bosch, thanks so much for joining me. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: it's been three years since a tsunami destroyed the fukushima nuclear reactor in japan, and forced the government to shut down the plants that remained. today regulators announced they would speed up safety checks on a pair of idle reactors in southwest japan-- a key step in the prime minister's push to restt them and others. newshour science correspondent
miles o'brien looks at the debate raging in the country about that idea. >> reporter: japan, a meticulous and massive cleanup is underway near the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant. they are scraping off two inches of soil contaminated with cesium and other radionuclides expelled from the plant after a series of explosions triggered by the earthquake and tsunami of march 11, 2011. the contaminated soil is bagged, placed on a watertight pad and then covered with a tarp. it will be stored like this until a permanent site can be found. the radioactive cesium will remain in the soil for 300 years. at yutaka and keiko hakozaki's home in naraha, the cleanup apparently worked. we took some geiger counter readings in their yard read- cesium levels were .204
microsieverts per hour- just under the government limit of .23. still, the hakozakis are unsure about returning to their home. but their feelings about nuclear power are now etched in stone. >> ( translated ): we experienced this accident firsthand, which is all the more reason we think that nuclear power plants are not suitable for this country, he said. >> reporter: right now in japan, not a single nuclear power plant is on line generating electricity. 48 nuclear reactors able to generate 30% of japan's electrical demand- idle while this country decides if the hakozakis are right or if turning the nukes back on is prudent, perhaps even mandatory to maintain japan's highly electrified lifestyle. japan is making up for the idle nuclear facilities by running their fossil fuel plants at full
tilt, importing $266 billion worth of oil, gas and coal last year. in the country where the kyoto protocols were drafted, co2 emissions are up 13%. prime minister shinzo abe is pushing an energy policy that would turn the nuclear plants back on as soon as they meet more stringent safety standards adopted after the fukushima meltdowns. while he has the votes in parliament to make that happen, he does not have much support on the street. in fact polls show as much as 80% of voters here now oppose nuclear power. and large noisy protests like this outside abe's office are a regular occurrence. >> ( translated ): we continue this protest until they give up all the nuclear power plants.
>> reporter: but in japan, walking away from nuclear power is a tricky proposition. over the years, the country has not invested much in renewable alternatives. solar and wind power generation contribute barely 1% to the grid. but the man who was prime minister when the meltdowns happened is trying to change that. up until march of 2011, naoto kan was a proponent of nuclear power. >> ( translated ): i changed my attitude within a week after the accident, when the worst-case scenario became clear. i concluded that we've got to quit using these nuclear plants. >> reporter: kan's administration increased subsidies to encourage people to install solar panels on their homes. and japanese corporations are also embracing renewable energy. the kyocera corporation has built a giant solar farm in southern japan capable of generating 70 megawatts.
the company has also developed a smart renewable home concept that allows people to generate and store solar power. in tokyo, the giant construction firm shimizu recently opened a new headquarters building that is wrapped in solar panels and brimming with energy conservation technology. and kan himself-- now a member of parliament-- is practicing what he preaches. he showed me a satellite image of his home outside tokyo. the roof is covered with solar panels rated to generate 5.7 kilowatts of electricity. >> ( translated ): within ten to 20 years, all of the electricity that was being produced by the nuclear plants will be supplied by renewables. >> reporter: for that to happen, japan will need a lot of people to start thinking like dentist hideki shinzawa. his home in kashiwazaki is
outfitted with solar panels and a wind turbine. >> ( translated ): if installing solar panels were to become mandatory, i feel that most homes could be self sufficient, he told me. >> reporter: shinzawa lives only five miles from the largest nuclear power plant in the world - tepco's kashiwazaki-kariwa facility on the west coast of japan. the company says it is ready to begin generating electricity here again after investing $2.6 billion in safety upgrades. a senior plant manager, takeshi ohta, gave me a tour. we began at the new 50-foot high tsunami wall. >> we have 891 piles under this basement. so this wall can withstand the massive power of earthquakes, and also following tsunami. >> reporter: in addition to the giant wall, they have built a five million gallon reservoir high above the reactors that can
supply cooling water for seven days using only the force of gravity. and 100 feet above sea level on a hill overlooking the plant they have staged a series of gas turbine back up generators and a fleet of fire engines. >> ( translated ): so, these fire engines are essential for us to keep cooling the reactor. >> reporter: what happens to this plant may very well be key to japan's energy future. tepco is seeking permission to restart two reactors here in july. if that happens, it will make it easier for other nuclear power plants to come back online. but the governor of the prefecture that is home to kashiwazaki-kariwa is fighting tepco's proposed plan. despite a series of investigations and reports on fukushima over the past three years, hirohiko izumida is insisting there are still unanswered questions.
>> ( translated ): the cause of the accident at fukushima is yet to be identified, yet they are declaring that the kashiwazaki- kariwa plant is safe. i find this exceedingly arrogant, he said. >> reporter: and while many of his constituents depend on the tepco plant for their livelihood, they too are wary of nuclear power. >> ( translated ): if these alternatives are improved enough through some sort of scientific advances, that would be best, says yoshinori takahashi, a bus driver at the plant then the use of nuclear power will naturally taper off, i wish for it to be eliminated that way. >> reporter: that is the goal at here on the pacific coast, 50 miles east of tokyo. these wind turbines are the first phase of a project to build 50 more offshore. mamoru komatsuzaki is president of the wind power company. he says japan is ten years behind nations that have embraced renewables, leaving the
country with few viable alternatives to nuclear power. >> ( translated ): it is impossible to fill the gap right away because it takes time to build renewable energy sites. i think we can catch up in about six years. >> reporter: when the japanese make a commitment to catch up, they have an extraordinary way of delivering on that promise. but it seems inevitable they will have to rely on nuclear power in the meantime. the reactors may be safer, but will they be safe enough? >> woodruff: the 2014 paralympic games being played in sochi this week have once again focused athletes from around the world who have overcome a variety of disabilities to compete there. they inspired us to look into the status of a global treaty that would directly affect them and others with disabilities.
i recorded this report a few days ago. >> woodruff: it's a landmark of sorts at the paralympic games, a wall commemorating the united nations convention on the rights of persons with disability. in fanfare last week it was revealed to the world. the convention aims to make sure that those with disabilities have equality up the law. access to public places and facilities, and basic education. thousands of signed the wall in sochi including american athletes. however, the country that sent them there is one of the few dozen countries in the world that have not ratified the convention the wall celebrates. despite the fact the treaty is based on the americans with disabilities act, passed by congress in 1990, this congress hasn't ratified the treaty. >> ordinarily it prevents discrimination against disabilitied people who
might be traveling abroad. it would also gives us a seat at the table. >> we're going to be held responsible and accountable. >> bob dole is the former senate majority leader and republican presidential nominee who lost the use of his right arm after he was wounded in world war ii. >> we decided to make our case. and we're doing it almost every day, we're working on some way to convince members that this was the right thing to do. >> woodruff: o on-- opponents of the treaty say that it gives the united nations jurisdiction over local and state laws. >> isabella is our youngest child. she is a special gift to us. >> woodruff: former u.s. senator rick santorum is one of those opponents. he's also the father of a young daughter with a developmental disability. >> we already have laws that protect everything that is in this convention.
we already meet or exceed what this convention calls for. there's no benefit to the united states from passing it. there is no benefit to any children here in the united states from passing it. >> it is so decided. >> woodruff: its convention was adopted by the u.n. in 2006. president obama signed the treaty in 2009. >> it went to a vote on the senate floor in december 2012. but fell six votes short. last fall opponents manned to scuttle another attempt to get the treaty before the senate. so far, a vote on the issue has not been scheduled for 2014. >> woodruff: joining to us talk about the prospects-- prospects for a vote on the convention and-to-points of view on what it means is representative from rhode island and michael farris, chancellor of patrick henry college in virginia, and the chairman of the home school legal defense association. we welcome you both to the
program. congressman, let me start with you, what would this convention mean for countries around the world if it were ratified in all these countries? >> if ratification would mean so much, in terms of protecting the rights of persons with disabilities around the world. insurancing protecting their human dignity, and insurancing that they enjoy the same protections that people with disabilities enjoy here in the united states. this is both a policy statement but it's also a policy in substance that would insurance that all the things that-- many of the things that we enjoy here now and sometimes maybe even take for granted because of the passage of the americans with disabilities act would be now set for other nations to aspire to and to adhere to as well. >> woodruff: but it would to the have enforcement mechanisms s that right? >> no, in the sense this is
ratifying the treaty sets out broad principleses to which nation was aspire, to when they are passing their laws or reviewing their laws and their access, to public accommodations or even how they treat with disabilities, that people with disabilities aren't hidden or brushed aside. but they are actually, it would be included in society. again, the in many ways the treaty is such that it is as operational an encourages nations to adopt the kind of laws and enact the kind of laws that we have enacted both with the americas with disabilities act and the ada act which has made such a profound difference in the lives of people with disabilities. i was injured before the passage, i was injured in 1980. and i can tell you the ada has made a profound difference in my life and with people with disabilities across this which. >> let me ask mr. farris why do you oppose the
ratification of this convention. >> treaties are not merely as operational documents. they're international law. they have binding legal effects. and the legal effects have different approaches and different nations depending on that nation's own constitution, relative to how they treat international law. but they're creating a binding legal obligation to obey the standards set forth in the treaty. there were as operational documents. the u.n. hats a declaration on the rights to persons with disabilities. nothing wrong with the declaration. i am ale awe for these as operational statements. but i believe that the united states should make the law for itself. in that i don't believe that using international law to control domestic policy is the most effective way to deliver the kind of services that we need for our disabled community. >> woodruff: even though the language here is based on existing law in the united states, the americans with disabilities act, what is it that would be different about the u.n. convention from what is already law. >> there are several differences in the u.n.
treaty. the rules on guardianship are different. the rules on families with disabled children are different. right now the law in the united states with fairness and disabilities, the parents are the decision makers for their children in every case unless there is proof of harm. article 7 of this troty changes that rule from a presumption of parental authority to a presumption that the best interests of the child standard of controls, which is not a question about what is decided but who makes the decision. that decision, that rule in article 7 means the government is the presump schiff decision maker for children. a big shift in law and would take away rights that we have under the idea, for example. >> woodruff: and that is a reference to educating children. >> that's right. >> woodruff: congressman, how do you respond quickly to this point about the change in the convention. >> so two points. first of all, there is already a u.s. supreme court decision that says that these treaties that would be ratified by the united
states are basically saying they are-- international commitments but do not have the force of law. and that is clear in a u.s. supreme court decision in the state of texas. the second of which is, the reservations understand it is a declaration adopted by the united states senate make it clear that it would not infringe on parents' rights in terms it of either educating their children or the other arguments that the chancellor has raised. >> woodruff: well, you want to respond to that and i want to pick up on this. because a number of republicans are arguing in favor of this. senator john mccain, former attorney general richard thornburg, senator bob dole as we saw. >> right there are a number of people that are on the moderate side of the republican party that have supported the treaty. but the basic question is do we want to make our policy decisions from this country using international law or american law.
the congressman has properly described his view as setting an as operational standard. what we don't need is more aspiration. we need more implementation. and the disabled community has some legitimate complaints about the way families are being treated right now under our own policy. rather than wasting time on this as operational document as they see it, we should really be dealing with trying to implement good policy to help disabled people overcome the barriers that still exist. >> and very quickly, the congressman's point about the united nations, i'm sorry, but the supreme court has said that this kind of language would not supersede american law. >> well, i found briefs in the supreme court on this very issue. and i have a degree in international law. we're just, his point is relative to the technical meaning of implementation, do the judges implement it or does congress have the implementation power. we have a duty when we ratify to obey it congress has a duty to implement. >> woodruff: in a few words,
congressman? >> the reservation under declarations make it very clear that there is no one that has standing to sue in a u.s. court, for example, to require the state to do anything that they do not want to do under the treaty, doesn't supersede the u.s. law. and it is made very clear that this document will encourage other nations to aspire to what we have achieved if in the united states. it is so important. it weakens our argue if we don't pass and ratify this treaty. >> all right, gentleman, we are going to have to leave it there. congressman, michael, we appreciate if. thank you. twitter and facebook played key roles in recent revolutions like the arab spring, but social media is being used in a new way during the crisis in ukraine. we'll be right back with that story, but first, this is pledge
week on p.b.s. this break allows your public television station to ask for your support. and that support helps keep programs like ours on the air. for those stations not taking a pledge break we take a second look at how the motor city uses poetry in its classrooms. jeffrey brown traveled to detroit with u.s. poet laureate natasha trethewey. their report is part of the ongoing series "where poetry lives." >> brown: middle school students at the marcus garvey academy in detroit, reciting the work they'd just written. teacher and poet peter markus often prompts the students with a question. today, he worked off our theme, asking: where does poetry live?
>> poems live in stars, waiting to be wished on. >> brown: it's part of an 18- year-old program called "inside/out" that sends professional writers into detroit's schools. when natasha trethewey and i arrived at marcus garvey recently, she recalled her own introduction to poetry in the third grade. >> i was writing poetry. and the librarian in my school took a group of my poems and bound them and put them in the library. >> brown: ah, a published poet? >> at third grade. ( laughs ) >> brown: inside/out also turns its students into published poets, part of creating a sense of authorship and voice that peter markus says the program aims for. >> number one, i want to build confidence with a pencil in the hand. a lot of times i'll come into a classroom and i can just tell that early on a child doesn't like to write. or feels, oh, i don't, i'm not a and then as soon as i can, i
want to sort of disable them from that kind of thinking and saying, sure you can. you just wrote a poem. >> brown: markus is unafraid to bring in sophisticated works by major poets-- on our visit, for example, he used a poem by w.s. merwin. >> we know that our pencils are more than just pencils. there are words hiding inside of them. remember that poem? what are the words doing in merwin's poem? they're waiting to be written. >> brown: the program, of course, can't be separated from the city-- the very troubled city-- in which it operates. the shrinking of detroit's population and its financial crisis have led to the closing of more than 100 schools. and while there are some signs of growth and building in detroit these days, areas of tremendous blight and poverty remain, including in the area around marcus garvey. james hearn is the school's principal.
>> brown: one thing principal hearn never imagined as part of all this was poetry. he says he was flabbergasted when inside/out first came to him. >> it was unbelievable. we have so many needs for our kids and to have poetry as an alternative-- i thought to myself, "wait a minute, work with poetry!" >> brown: did you know much about poetry yourself? >> no, not at all. very little about it. but when i saw the kids produce a book at the end of this particular experience and they could take it home and the pride those kids have, that's outstanding. >> brown: what do you see them getting out of it? >> love of writing, that's this poetry really gets them truly motivated and excited. >> brown: natasha and i had the chance to talk to three of the children after their class: 12 year olds eddie stewart and quintin pope and 11-year-old ricki porter. >> so it sounds like you're writing from memories, you're also writing about your experiences. what kinds of things have you written about? >> the things i've written about was when i was in kindergarten, about when it was my birthday and i cried on my birthday.
i wrote about embarrassing times, i wrote about funny times, i wrote about a lot of things that happened. >> i don't really think it's hard to write poems like this. really you just let your imagination run free and you just write. >> brown: it just comes out? >> yes, that's my way of saying it. i didn't like to write before this class. what i learned that it's okay to experience personal stuff when you, when you write. so that's why i started to like poetry and i like this class because i don't usually write and this gives me a lot of time to do what i like to do. and i love to write. >> brown: quintin told us he wanted to make sure each line is a deep thought. >> the deep, deep thoughts that i put in my poems are not about me, it's about what affects everybody else, not just me. >> brown: what kinds of things?
>> like i would say "my poem is i would say, "my poem is a monster scaring you till the lights are on." so when i been scared or had a nightmare and turned the lights on, till someone was there for me. >> brown: that ever happen to you? >> yeah. >> brown: afterwards, i asked natasha what had struck her most. >> it was a sense of power that they have from being able to imagine, to create, to name themselves, to speak for themselves. it did remind me of being in my school and learning the work of poets, african-american poets, that i've carried with me since then. and i carried it with me later on, particularly when i was bussed later on into a white school in eight grade. one of the poems that particularly struck me was langston hughes' "i too sing america." and going to that school, where people didn't want us, i could be armed with that poem, "i too sing america", and it was like a force field around me.
>> brown: that night, inside/out held a public reading that featured several of its alumni, including justin rogers, now a student at wayne state. his poem, "small town city", was a portrait in words of the plight of his hometown. >> "i am one of the faithful citizens rooted like flag poles writing love poems to my city no matter how many dark alleys we tread through or potholes we swim in." i was trying to touch on really specific situations that people encounter on a regular basis. i looked at what my city is now and realized i enjoy what i have here, more than what my fantasy city is. and that these negative things, they are there, but there are so many other positive things. i'm going to enjoy what i have here. >> brown: it was a positive moment in a city that can use them, led by poetry bringing, as young quintin pope had put it, "the deep thoughts from the inside, out." >> woodruff: jeff and natasha
trethawey will team up again on monday for another "where poetry lives" story. protests in egypt which led to the toppling of two leaders, the syrian civil war and massive demonstrations in turkey, brazil and other countries in recent years all have been at least partially fueled by the use of social media. tonight, hari sreenivasan explores how technology is evolving and being used on all sides in the crisis in ukraine. to assess was's changed and what hasn't as various sides try to win the message battle i'm joined by someone who follows the use of technology in social and political movements, will qam dobson from slate magazine and author of the book, the dictator's learning curve, inside the 3w59 el for global democracy. last time we spoke it was after the arab spring. here's a different revolution n the ukraine. what's changed technologically.
>> well, the ackers have growned more sophisticated. when we think about the arab spring, what people really sing on were facebook and twitter. now those tools are still incredibly important and you saw them being used to great effect in kiev an elsewherement but now at the same token you have to understand that these social media tools can be used as a weapon against them am and they are very conditioned about a surveillance state and having their own activities monitored. so you see their tool kit now has really expanded. and that expansion involved, beginning to use new tools, techno-- technological tools that allow them to have safe, secure and sometimes even encrypted communication. one-to-one or across to many people. >> one of those apps that took off in venezuela, is zello what does it do. >> you can imagine sort of a dow jones tall walky talky it allows you to create a channel. on that channel you can have tens or even hundreds of people all with access to this one communication channel. and so you saw it used in
ukraine, for example, where if you were occupying a square as they were, and you are concerned about government repression or having the square attacked by police or paramilitary thx say tool that allows you to have a realtime battlefield intelligence. where you can have many people, all of these people who have access to this channel in different positions around the square, giving everyone else, sharing with everyone else information about where the troops are, where place that are safe to exit, places that are now under threat. you know, a little bit about a year ago, saw you it take off in turkey, a massive protest there, now as you mentioned in venezuela you had hundreds of thousands of people download it in the last month. >> okay. and there's also text-based apps instead of just what's app which got bought by facebook there are a lot of people use wicker. >> it is a texting service
where those texts are encrypted it a often the case in my own reporting with activists in different countries around the world that if you didn't want to contact me for an interview or range the time and schedule for that interview, we will do it over wick never many instances or do it over something like silent circle which is another app. where you can send text messages that somewhat like snap chat will ultimately erase and disappear not long after you received them. >> i can set it to disappear two minutes after you read it. >> that's right. >> so these technologies, how are they encouraging or enabling a level of communication between the troops on the ground now, prot testers. >> essentially, there are vital at this point. because you have to shall did -- first you have to understand about many of these places is there no way for these groups, these activists, organizers to communicate through the national media. national media is completely controlled by the state so when you think about radio, tv, newspapers, many times, it's impossible to get the message across this way. they are going to rely on
social media almost entirely. these more sensitive secure communications are vital for them to be able to organize and rally and plan. you know, i was talking to one activist the other day who said we never pick up the telephone any more. he said it wouldn't even occur to us to pick up the telephone because we know those lines are tapped or there is too much of a damage their they would be. our first resort is to turn to these types of tools and they also change the tools they're using all the time. they don't want to be predictable. >> how smart are the dictators getting. are they keeping up with this race. >> they are keeping up. they are doing their best to keep up and you see them employing the tools as well. so for example, in ukraine, we saw a little bit over a month ago where the government started to send massive text messages out to people who were in the square so if you were a protestor in the square, all of a sudden you got a text message saying dear subscriber, are you engaged in a mass disturbance. so this was the government saying a, i know who you are. b, i know what you are
doing. so the idea that you are an anonymous face in this crowd, forget about it. we know. and we're able to figure that out based on you locating where you are in the square. so only people that were involved in the protests were receiving that, that say level of specificity that is fridaysening and intended to intimidate. your question is how effective have they been. it didn't really intimidate people z it, that is the problem. the reg ohms haven't found ways to use the technology in such a way that they get the outcome that they are seeking which is to reduce the number of peoples. if you waited for the point that there are people in the square, as a regime you probably already wait toad long. >> william dobson, thank soches. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. russia launched new war games near its border with ukraine, as u.s. and german leaders issued stern new warnings to moscow. worries over ukraine rattled
wall street again, the dow industrials fell 220 points. and a bipartisan group of senators announced an elusive compromise to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed in the u.s. on the newshour online right now, yesterday we published a piece about a baltimore family who fled to the u.s. more than a decade ago from mali to prevent the mutilation of their daughter now facing an ongoing threat of deportation. it inspired an in-depth debate on our website about the complexities of the u.s. immigration system and the challenges facing reform. "curious g" wrote:
and "roxanne" said: read the full story and you can join the discussion on our website, newshour.pbs.org. and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday, margaret reports from crimea before a critical vote to split from ukraine and align with russia. i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks among others. 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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